In an effort to restrict the flow of funds to the protesting truck drivers, the Canadian government for the first time has invoked the Emergencies Act. The Trudeau government, through the Act, can freeze bank accounts without going through the court system.
The Act allows the government to take a number of actions to bring the demonstrations to an end. Chrystia Freeland, the deputy prime minister of Canada, during a press conference, said they are broadening the scope of Canada’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financial rules. This will cover crowdfunding platforms and the payment providers that the protesters use. It covers cryptocurrencies as well.
This comes weeks after a group of truck drivers called the “Freedom Convoy” took to protest to show their displeasure to the government’s mask rules and COVID-19 vaccination mandates. Following pressure from the Canadian government, GoFundMe shut down the group’s account on the platform. This prompted the protesters to turn to cryptocurrency – bitcoin.
Cities across Canada are witnessing blockades as large trucks are lined up on the country’s highways as well along the border with the United States. The blockades have resulted in supply chain bottlenecks and disruptions affecting Canada’s economy.
The Trudeau government has the power to freeze bank accounts connected to crypto firms and users. But this isn’t a piece of cake as cryptocurrencies do not run on a centralized network controlled by a traditional payment provider. Neeraj Agrawal, from Coin Center, in a tweet full of sarcasm, said please don’t expose how easily the state can lean on financial intermediaries to cut off political protest fundraising.
Meanwhile, El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, a bitcoin enthusiast, mocked Canada asking – are these the people who like to give lessons to other countries about democracy and freedom.