After careful consideration, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced he will end the use of the Emergencies Act used to force out trucker-led protests in Ottawa and blockades of border crossings to the United States.
Unfreezing of Accounts
In a series of tweets, Trudeau stated that the situation in the country is no longer an emergency while announcing that the federal government will be revoking emergencies act powers. He said the lawmakers were confident that the existing laws and by-laws are sufficient to keep people safe. The Prime Minister also started to unfreeze several bank accounts belonging to the protestors as well as Freedom Convoy donors who had resorted to Bitcoin (BTC).
While appearing before a parliamentary committee on February 23, Canada’s assistant minister of finance, Isabelle Jacques, also confirmed,
“Information was shared by the RCMP with financial institutions, and we were informed yesterday by financial institutions that they were unfreezing the accounts. The vast majority of accounts are in the process of being unfrozen, subject to any new information that the RCMP may have.”
Trudeau had invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in Canadian history in a bid to quash the ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests, granting the police more power to move against protesters.
Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland had announced a new regulation as part of the Emergencies Act. This would require crowdfunding platforms and payment providers, including all forms of transactions, such as digital assets and cryptocurrencies, to register with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) and flag “large and suspicious transactions” to the regulatory authority.
After GoFundMe blocked millions of dollars in donations, the Canadian trucker protest turned to Bitcoin. A Bitcoiner group – “HonkHonkHodl” began a campaign on the crypto crowdfunding platform Tallycoin. Kraken CEO Jesse Powell had pledged 1 Bitcoin for the cause. By the end of February 15, protesters managed to raise 21 BTC. As a result of the crackdown, the team leading the Bitcoin fundraising event moved the crypto funds to a new wallet with separate key holders.
For the uninitiated, the country’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates require all truckers crossing the US-Canada border to be fully vaccinated or quarantined for two weeks at home. To stand against these regulations, Freedom Convoy protestors had clogged the street.
The weeks-long blockade cleared a few days after the federal Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had earlier ordered a freeze on 206 bank and corporate accounts involving millions of protest-related funds. In addition to that, the RCMP had also identified 253 BTC addresses and prohibited domestic cryptocurrency exchanges from enabling transactions with the accounts.
Featured image courtesy of CNBC