Canada’s Toronto Dominion (TD) Bank on Friday, Feb. 11 told CTV News of its plans for an application to give up C$1.4 million in funds to an Ontario court.
That money includes about $1 million given to the Freedom Convoy protests by supporters via crowdfunding site GoFundMe, as well as $400,000 that the movement organizers had accepted from direct donors.
Earlier, GoFundMe had frozen $10 million (about US$8 million) raised by supporters of the Freedom Convoy, saying that the movement had become an illegitimate “occupation.” The mayor of Ottawa publicly thanked GoFundMe for restricting the protesters’ ability to continue their public assembly.
GoFundMe has allowed donors to get refunds, but around $1 million has not been refunded or the identity of those requesting the refund could not be verified. A similar situation is the case for the $400,000 in direct donations.
Keith Wilson, lead attorney for Freedom Convoy, said that the movement was fighting to retrieve the raised money, despite the Ontario government’s making it illegal to donate money to the truckers.
“We will be taking expedited legal steps to have the restrictions on the donated funds lifted as soon as possible,” Wilson said in an email to CTV News.
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The Freedom Convoy movement began in reaction to the Jan. 15 requirement that truckers crossing the U.S.-Canada border present proof of full vaccination. Though an estimated 90 percent of Canada’s truck drivers are vaccinated, many of them disagree with Canada’s highly restrictive pandemic mandates.
Earlier in the month, truckers parked their vehicles around Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and the country’s prime minister Justin Trudeau was reportedly driven into hiding. Truckers also blocked the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit, leading to delays in auto manufacturing and jeopardizing 20 percent of U.S.-Canada trade.
Around a third of polled Canadians support the Freedom Convoy, which is turning to cryptocurrency to continue raising funds. Around C$1 million has already been collected in this fashion.