Canadian politician Mark Strahl on Feb. 20 claimed that a single mom with a minimum wage job had her bank account frozen after she “legally” donated $50 to the Freedom Convoy.
Strahl, a Conservative, took to Twitter to criticize Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the Emergencies Act, which was invoked for the first time in Canada’s history to address the impact of the ongoing protests against COVID-19 mandates and restrictions by truckers and their supporters.
“Briane is a single mom from Chilliwack working a minimum wage job,” Strahl wrote on Twitter on Feb. 20. “She gave $50 to the convoy when it was 100% legal. She hasn’t participated in any other way. Her bank account has now been frozen. This is who Justin Trudeau is actually targeting with his Emergencies Act orders.”
Strahl was soon pressed by other Twitter users to provide further details and verification regarding his claims about the single mother and her allegedly frozen bank account.
However, the Chilliwack-Hope MP refused to do so, stating that he did not want to publish identifying information about the woman online that could be used with malicious intent.
“Thank you to those who have read this and offered to help someone you’ve never met,” he wrote in a second post. “Shame on those who have read it and attacked someone you’ve never met. I will keep working with Briane to resolve this matter with her bank and will provide updates as they are made available.”
He added, “To those of you, especially the media, demanding more details on Briane, having seen what has been said about her online today and what has been done to other convoy donors in the last weeks I am not going to help you dox her. I know who she is and I won’t stop fighting for her.”
In a statement on Feb. 21, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said account-freezing powers under the Emergency Economic Measures Order (Emergencies Act), pertained to “individuals who were influencers in the illegal protest in Ottawa, and owners and/or drivers of vehicles who did not want to leave the area impacted by the protest.”
“At no time, did we provide a list of donors to financial institutions,” RCMP said. “We are now working with the banks to build a process to address the accounts that were frozen,” RCMP added.
Mike Duheme, RCMP deputy commissioner of federal policing, announced on Feb. 20 that police had frozen 206 financial products, including bank and corporate accounts, of individuals and companies allegedly involved in the ongoing protests in Ottawa.
Duheme said at a news conference that the RCMP had also disclosed the information of 56 entities associated with vehicles, individuals, and companies. Officials also shared 253 bitcoin addresses with virtual currency exchanges, and froze a payment processing account valued at $3.8 million, Duheme said.
The RCMP has not said what will happen to the money that has been frozen by financial institutions or indicated that those who donated money to the Freedom Convoy were included.
“We continue to work at collecting relevant information on persons, vehicles, and companies and remain in daily communication with the financial institutions to assist them,” Duheme told reporters.
However, at a press briefing on Feb. 21, Trudeau was asked if regular individuals making donations to support the Freedom Convoy were having their bank accounts frozen, to which he responded that “the measures we put in place are designed and focused on ensuring the people in the current illegal occupations leave,” the Vancouver Sun reported.
“That has been the intent and the focus right now. If there are specific cases that Conservative ministers can bring forward to highlight where that is not the case, we would happily look at them and look to resolve them,” said Trudeau.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland also reiterated that the financial sanctions are aimed at targeting leaders and those who were part of illegal occupations and blockades.
“It’s important for all of us to be very, very careful to get our facts exactly right in each circumstance, and I would urge all of us to take that care in every situation,” she said.
“The RCMP has given to the financial institutions names of leaders and organizers of the protests and of people whose trucks were part of occupations and blockades. That is the only information given, according to the RCMP, that the RCMP has given to financial institutions.”
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