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17 Feb, 2022 13:33

Canada threatens to freeze pro-Trump bank accounts

‘You should be worried,’ justice minister tells conservatives who donated to trucker protests
Canada threatens to freeze pro-Trump bank accounts

Canada’s Justice Minister David Lametti has told supporters of Donald Trump who donated to the ongoing Freedom Convoy trucker protests that they “should be worried” about having their bank accounts frozen. Lametti said his government is considering extending emergency powers brought in to break up the demonstrations.

In a CTV interview on Wednesday, Lametti was asked: “A lot of folks say, ‘Look, I just don’t like your vaccine mandates and I donated to this, now it’s illegal, should I be worried that the bank can freeze my account?’ What’s your answer to that?”

The justice minister responded: “Well, I think if you are a member of a pro-Trump movement who’s donating hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions of dollars to this kind of thing, then you oughta be worried.”

Lametti did not clarify whether he was speaking about accounts belonging to Americans or Canadians, or whether he was talking about only targeting large donors, or small donors whose contributions have added up to millions. Asked whether a “Canadian citizen who donated 500 bucks to it” should be worried, Lametti dodged the question and threatened to suspend the trucking licenses of haulage companies whose vehicles have been used in the protests.

Thanks to emergency powers introduced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday, Canadian banks can freeze the accounts of people suspected of donating to the Freedom Convoy protests. The unprecedented invocation of the Emergencies Act came as truckers clogged the center of the Canadian capital of Ottawa for a third straight week, and drivers blockaded several critical US-Canada border crossing points.

The border blockades have since been cleared, and police in Ottawa on Wednesday threatened to arrest protesters who refuse to leave, and seize their vehicles.

Lametti told CTV that the Emergencies Act, which expires in a month, could be extended. “If it runs out at the 30 days and we’re in the position to say that the safety and security of Canadians is assured, we’ll let it expire. If we have to renew it, we will, but I’m hoping that is not the case,” he said.

While the protests were originally aimed at getting Trudeau’s government to suspend a mandate requiring all border-crossing truckers to be vaccinated against Covid-19, they have since morphed into a demonstration against the government’s coronavirus restrictions in general, with some participants demanding Trudeau’s resignation.

Although Trudeau has shown no intent of scrapping the mandate, some of Canada’s provincial leaders have dropped their own mask and vaccine policies, including Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Ontario Premier Doug Ford.