- Freedom Convoy campaign was suspended by the crowdfunding site Wednesday night – after it had raised nearly $8million (US)
- GoFundMe flip-flopped on its decision to unfreeze some of the funds raised for truckers who are protesting the country’s vaccine mandates
- GoFundMe claimed on January 25 – when about $5million had been raised – that it needed to freeze the money to determine where the funds would go
- It released $1million on January 27 and the campaign could collect money again, a company spokesperson said at the time
- Liberal Ottawa politicians are now calling for the money to be seized by the government
- Ottawa’s Chief of Police suggested on Wednesday the Canadian Armed Forces might have to be called in to handle lingering protesters in the capital
- Chief Peter Sloly said clearing protesters comes with risks and that Ottawa’s force of 1,500 officers are simply not capable of blocking access to the capital
- Sloly said that he calculated a force of 50,000 officers would be required; military options remain on the table
- The protesters say they have no intention of leaving until the government scraps the vaccine mandates
- Police have declined to end the protest, citing the risk of aggravating tensions
- In Alberta, 2,000 miles away from Ottawa, police attempted to force truckers blocking the border to move, but the RCMP police had to retreat
A GoFundMe campaign that was organized to support the Canadian truckers demonstration and which has raised more than $10million CAD was suspended on Wednesday night
GoFundMe is being called out after flip-flopping on its decision to unfreeze some of the funds raised for the Canadian ‘Freedom Convoy’ that’s protesting the country’s vaccine mandates, as liberal Ottawa politicians are now calling for the money to be seized by the government.
The Freedom Convoy campaign was suspended by the crowdfunding site Wednesday night – after it had raised nearly $8million (US).
This is the second time the funds have been frozen, after GoFundMe claimed on January 25 – when about $5million had been raised – that it needed to freeze the money to determine where the funds would go.
It released $1million on January 27 when organizers detailed how the funds would be spent and submitted ‘a clear distribution plan for funds being used to cover fuel costs of participants,’ and the campaign could collect money again, a company spokesperson said at the time.
Now, the company is facing even more questions about its quick reversal and whether or not it was politically driven, as liberal officials claim the government should have control over the millions.
‘I want to ask the Mayor [Jim Watson] if he will pick up the phone and call GoFundMe in the States directly and demand that they cease and desist sending money to these unlawful protesters,’ said Ottawa City Councilor Diane Deans, a member of the country’s Liberal Party.
Deans said she’s been in conversations about suing GoFundMe but did not elaborate about the alleged talks with the company.
‘We need to cut off the pipeline of funding to these people – mercenaries, if you will – that are unlawfully protesting and occupying our communities,’ she added.
The company’s sudden about-face Wednesday sparked a storm of swift backlash on Twitter, with many accusing GoFundMe of succumbing to the political pressure of liberal lawmakers.
‘GoFundMe suspended the Canadian truckers “Freedom Convoy” page yesterday after it raised $10 million,’ wrote Ralph Norman, the US representative for South Carolina. The Republican rep added: ‘Big tech is the enemy of freedom.’
Another user accused liberal lawmakers of trying to make off with the cash to benefit their own political careers.
‘Those who thought they were supporting truckers and those like minded are finding that they have been grifted,’ tweeted user Toowoozy. ‘Political/economic interests are siphoning up what was intended for a specific ppl movement, is now taking $ for their own political/economic gain.’
Another pointed out the double standard exhibited by the fundraising outfit, who have previously banned other causes not supported by liberals, like the crowd-funding campaign for Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse’s legal defense, while allowing liberal-led movements like Black Lives Matter to raise money on their site.
‘GoFundMe banned people from raising money for Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense and froze donations to the Canadian truckers. But they did allow people to raise bail money for people arrested for burning down cities in the BLM riots,’ Greg Price wrote.
The company, which is based in California’s Bay Area, has a history of banning causes associated with conservatism. It also has no qualms backing hundreds of fundraisers for movements such as Black Lives Matter, whose members have been linked to multiple violent incidents in recent years and whose leaders have recently been warned they will be held personally liable if they fail to disclose details of $60million in donations, or risk having the group’s tax-exempt status revoked.
Police are seen patrolling a barricade while truckers continue their protest in the Canadian capital, which entered its sixth day on Thursday
The company’s sudden about-face Wednesday sparked a storm of swift backlash on Twitter, with many accusing GoFundMe of succumbing to the political pressure of liberal lawmakers
Last year, the company barred organizers from raising money for legal fees for Illinois teen Rittenhouse, 19, who traveled from his home in Chicago to a Black Lives Matter protest in Wisconsin with an AR-15, where he shot dead two people who attacked him.
At the time, the site asserted that Rittenhouse had been banned because he was accused of a violent crime – despite the widely known legal principle that those charged with a crime are innocent until proven guilty.
After the teen was found not guilty in November, however, the company flip-flopped again, and decided to lift the ban on the teen.
In 2020, GoFundMe suspended conservative activist Candace Owens after the Fox News fixture launched a fundraiser on the website for an Alabama café whose owner criticized George Floyd, a black man killed by a white Minnesota cop while being arrested for allegedly buying a pack of cigarettes from a local convenience store with a counterfeit $20 bill.
Owens raised more than $200,000 for Birmingham’s Parkside Café over the course of the weekend, after co-owner Michael Dykes called Floyd a ‘thug’ in June of that year, and labelled protesters demonstrating against his death in Minneapolis Police custody last week as ‘idiots.’
Dykes’ comments were made in a text message to a co-worker that was later leaked on social media, prompting three employees to quit and sparking outrage online calling for the restaurant to be boycotted.
Owens has also come under fire for her own controversial comments about Floyd at the time, describing him as a symbol of a ‘broken culture in black America today,’ and said ‘the fact that he has been held up as a martyr sickens me.’
The comments prompted GoFundMe to ban Owens from the platform days later, with the company accusing her of spreading ‘falsehoods against the black community’ in a ‘repeated pattern of inflammatory statements.’
Ottawa City Councilors Diane Deans (left) and Mathieu Fleury – both liberals – are calling for funds from a GoFundMe created for the ‘Freedom Convoy’ truckers protesting Canada’s vaccine mandates to be seized by the government
A notice that appeared on the Freedom Convoy donations page Wednesday read: ‘This fundraiser is currently paused and under review to ensure it complies with our terms of service and applicable laws and regulations.
‘Our team is working 24/7 and doing all we can to protect both organizers and donors. Thank you for your patience.’
The company released another statement later that day, saying that the account met its terms and services at the time of its creation last month.
‘We strictly prohibit user content that reflects or promotes behavior in support of violence – in this case, the organizer met our requirements and the fundraiser did not violate our Terms of Service at the time of creation.’
The company says that it has been monitoring the fundraiser to ensure the money – raised from more than 120,000 donations – goes to the intended recipients, and went on to detail the criteria on how it intends to discern the integrity and transparency of the organizers of the fundraiser.
‘As the activity surrounding the protest evolves, we have been monitoring the fundraiser to ensure the funds are going to the intended recipients and that the fundraiser remains within our Terms of Service.
‘Our monitoring includes maintaining close communication with the organizer as well as collaborating with local law enforcement,’ GoFundMe said.
‘This process takes time and may slow down the withdrawal process. If the fundraiser does violate our Terms of Service or does not directly benefit the intended beneficiary, we will remove it from the platform,’ the site added.
DailyMail.com reached out to GoFundMe Thursday morning to gain clarification as to what led to the company’s sudden stance reversal and who made the call to suspend the campaign. The company responded with links to the statement that had been posted the previous day.
The Freedom Convoy that paralyzed Canada’s capital entered its sixth day on Thursday.
Truck drivers hang a Canadian flag on the front grill of a truck parked in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, near Parliament Hill on Wednesday. Funds raised for food and supplies for the truckers was frozen later that day by the crowd-funding company
Protesters, like the one pictured, are accusing liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of ‘tyranny’ with his office’s new mandate, and attest that the woke politician is endangering their livelihood
Protesters walk with bags past trucks parked on Downtown streets in Ottawa on Wednesday. The demonstrations have been going on for nearly a week
Thousands of protesters railing against the mandate and other COVID-19 restrictions on Canadian truckers descended on the capital late last month on January 29, deliberately blocking traffic around Parliament Hill with their parked rigs. Six days later, and the revelers still have no plans of moving, despite warnings from police that they will be arrested if they continue
Two days before the account was put in limbo, another elected official in Ottawa also demanded the funds be frozen, reportedly in a now-deleted Tweet that outlined a plan to seize the cash raised for the truckers through the account – which surpassed the $10million CAD mark Wednesday – using a network of other influential city officials.
‘This morning, I have asked the city manager and city solicitor to immediately launch court proceedings targeting the millions of dollars in funds frozen by @GoFundMe so Ottawa taxpayers are not left holding the bag for these protests,’ Ottawa City Councilor Mathieu Fleury, also a liberal, reportedly tweeted Monday morning, in a post archived by other users’ screenshots.
The tweet, however, was taken down before noon that day. As of Thursday, the parliament member’s Twitter account was restricted to only allow ‘approved followers’ to see his tweets, which was not the case at the time of the initial post. It is currently unclear when exactly Fleury protected the account.
Fleury’s website, mathieufleury.ca, does not have a working ‘Contact Us’ page, and instead shows a ‘Page not found’ error message.
The GoFundMe page in question surpassed its goal of $10million CAD as of Wednesday – a sum roughly half a million CAD more than funds raised by all of the major Canadian political parties in the final quarter of 2021.
Reports began circulating last week that the convoy’s GoFundMe page had been frozen, with the company saying that organizers needed to outline how the millions of dollars in raised funds would be spent.
The entire GoFundMe campaign for the Canadian truckers was suspended on Wednesday night having raised $10m CAD
Prior to their funds being frozen, Freedom Convoy organizers BJ Dichter and Tamara Lich said that the proceeds will go towards fuel for the truckers, who have been protesting for five days straight with no sign of stopping despite warning from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as food and lodgings ‘to help ease the pressures of this arduous task.’
‘Our current government is implementing rules and mandates that are destroying the foundation of our businesses, industries and livelihoods,’ the two say on the page.
‘We are a peaceful country that has helped protect nations across the globe from tyrannical governments who oppressed their people, and now it seems it is happening here.’
Videos released from the nation’s capital Wednesday showed the protesters delivering food to the homeless as crowds cheered and waived flags.
Ottawa’s chief of police Peter Sloly on Wednesday, said his force of 1,500 officers cannot clear the city and may need the help of the nation’s military.
‘This is a national issue, not an Ottawa issue,’ Sloly said. ‘I am increasingly concerned there is no policing solution to this.
‘There is no lawful authority to seal a city. There’s no practical capability to seal a city of this size,’ Sloly explained.
‘We do not want riots, but all options remain on the table,’ he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has re-emerged after going into isolation on Jan. 27 when one of his children tested positive for Covid, said the federal government is working with the Ottawa police to put an end to the protest
‘We will continue to work with law enforcement agencies to ensure that people are protected and to ensure that this protest, which is now becoming illegal, does come to an end,’ Trudeau said in French in the House of Commons on Wednesday, when asked what the federal government is doing to remove truckers from downtown Ottawa.
Sloly warned that bringing in the military would carry a ‘massive risk’ and calculated that he would need a force of around 50,000 officers in order to move protesters out of the capital.
Meanwhile, the blockade at a United States border in southern Alberta seems to be easing up after official truckers blocking access to the border crossing at Coutts agreed to open some blocked lanes.
‘Frankly, the protesters feel their message has been heard,’ said Chad Williamson, a lawyer representing truckers. ‘Nobody wants this blockade to happen any more.’
Chief Peter Sloly says the Freedom Convoy is a national issue
Ottawa’s Chief of Police, Peter Sloly, suggested on Wednesday the Canadian Armed Forces might have to be called in to handle lingering protesters in the capital
A cyclist rides towards a police barricade where trucks are lined up near Parliament hill on Wednesday
Truckers continue their rally against COVID-19 measures and vaccine mandate as they parked in front of Parliament Hill and blocked the streets in downtown Ottawa, Canada
Ottawa residents frustrated with the incessant blare of truck horns and traffic gridlock are questioning how police have handled the demonstration from the start.
Sloly also said there is a ‘significant element’ of the protest’s funding and organization coming from the United States.
‘It is a local destination, a provincial demonstration, a national demonstration, and one that has international elements associated to it,’ Sloly added.
On the streets, supporters of the Freedom Convoy are said to have been handing out free food to anyone who needs it. According to one of the volunteers, much of it has been donated by locals.
‘The freedom convoy truckers are providing free meals for the homeless in Ottawa. Yet the media and Justin Trudeau turn a blind eye to this. It’s an inconvenient truth for them,’ James Melville tweeted.
How the truckers were funding themselves was made cleared on Wednesday night after a fundraising page set up by the convoy was suddenly shut down.
Organizers were told they needed to explain how the millions of dollars raised funds would be spent.
On Monday, GoFundMe said that they were satisfied in the explanations given.
‘Money raised will be dispersed to our Truckers to aid them with the cost of the journey. Funds will be spent to help cover the cost of fuel for our Truckers first and foremost, will be used to assist with food if needed and contribute to shelter if needed,’ the page details.
GoFundMe explained their latest suspension in a blog post.
‘Recent events in Ottawa, Canada, have generated widespread discussion about the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser on GoFundMe. We wanted to provide clarity around the actions that our global Trust & Safety and Customer Care teams take every day, just as they have with the Freedom Convoy fundraiser,’ GoFundMe wrote
‘As the activity surrounding the protest evolves, we have been monitoring the fundraiser to ensure the funds are going to the intended recipients and that the fundraiser remains within our Terms of Service. Our monitoring includes maintaining close communication with the organizer as well as collaborating with local law enforcement,’ GoFundMe said.
On the streets, supporters of the Freedom Convoy are said to have been handing out free food to anyone who needs it. According to one of the volunteers, much of it has been donated by locals
‘The freedom convoy truckers are providing free meals for the homeless in Ottawa. Yet the media and Justin Trudeau turn a blind eye to this. It’s an inconvenient truth for them,’ James Melville tweeted together with video, seen above
The freedom convoy truckers are providing free meals for the homeless in Ottawa. Yet the media and Justin Trudeau turn a blind eye to this.
A woman stops to take a photo of signs attached to the fence around Parliament as a trucker protest continues
Truckers continue their rally against COVID-19 measures and vaccine mandate as they parked in front of Parliament Hill and blocked the streets in downtown Ottawa
A Parliamentary Protective Service officer watches over the trucker protest as he patrols on Parliament hill on Wednesday
Chief Sloly has calculated that he would need a force of around 50,000 officers in order to move protesters out of the capital
Thousands of protesters descended on Ottawa over the weekend, deliberately blocking traffic around Parliament Hill.
Police estimate the protest involved 8,000 to 15,000 people Saturday, but has since dwindled to several hundred. But trucks were still blocking traffic.
‘We are now aware of a significant element from the United States that have been involved in the funding, the organizing and the demonstrating.
‘They have converged on our city and there are plans for more to come,’ Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly said.
The numbers of protesters are falling on the capital’s streets but they have vowed to stay put until all vaccine mandates and restrictions are removed.
‘Can you be clear about what you mean?’ asked one reporter that was present at the briefing. ‘That is alarming to people, and I’d like to hear what we’re talking about when we say that.’
Supporters of the Freedom Convoy hold hands and sing “We Are the World” outside Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Footage by @PuffinsPictures pic.twitter.com/yBGy0d8VKu— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) February 2, 2022