Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked the Canada Emergencies Act, a law that allows the government to freeze the bank accounts of protesters without the necessity for a court order.
This will be the first time the law is enforced.
The Ontario Provincial Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are reportedly aiming to freeze 34 cryptocurrency wallets related with the Freedom Convoy.
The Freedom Convoy began as a protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates for border crossings, but quickly evolved into a demonstration against pandemic restrictions in general.
Beginning in late January, hundreds of cars and trucks formed long stretches from various locations and traveled through Canadian provinces before meeting on Ottawa on January 29 for a rally on Parliament Hill.
A large number of pedestrian protesters then joined the convoys of vehicles. In addition, several offshoot protests blocked access to the US border and provincial capitals.
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Canada Emergencies Act: Clampdown Against Anti-Vaxxers
Canada’s federal law enforcement authorities, in tandem with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Canada (FINTRAC), are examining cryptocurrency payments made in support of the country’s weeks-long anti-vaccine protest.
At least one cryptocurrency wallet containing more than $1 million in Bitcoin has been substantiated as part of the HonkHonkHodl action plan to assist truckers via cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin, Ethereum and Cardano became among of the most sought-after cryptoassets used to assist truckers after GoFundMe decided to freeze nearly $10 million in donations collected on its platform.
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Canada’s federal authorities have discovered approximately 29 Bitcoin addresses used to swap the cryptocurrency, which is currently worth between $0 and $1.1 million.
The Canada Emergencies Act was amended to make protesters’ funding a target.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland told Trudeau that financial institutions can instantly freeze or restrict bank accounts associated with trucks without fear of legal repercussions.
“So we’re looking at full-fledged financial warfare against truckers,” Krystal Ball’s co-host of “Breaking Points,” Saagar Enjeti, said.
Not All In The Same… Truck
Meanwhile, not all Canadian leaders support this severe course of action. The premiers of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, according to a Reuters report, are opposed to the move.
Quebec’s Premier François Legault also expressed displeasure with the move, saying he feared it would “add fuel to the fire,” the Montreal Gazette quoted him as saying.
Civilian protests have increasingly made use of bitcoins as a means of donation around the world.
In Ukraine, for instance, volunteer organizations and non-governmental groups received a 900% rise in financing via Bitcoin in 2021, probably in response to Russia’s growing military posture along its borders.
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