On Thursday, a court in Ontario, Canada ordered that millions of dollars that had been fundraised for the trucker protest be halted from further distribution.
Fox News reports that the order was made after the office of Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford filed an application with the Superior Court of Justice. The application demanded a court order “prohibiting any person from disposing of, or otherwise dealing with, in any manner whatsoever, any and all monetary donations made through the Freedom Convoy 2022 and Adopt-a-Trucker campaign pages on the GiveSendGo online fundraising platform.”
“This afternoon, the order was issued,” Ford’s office reported. “It binds any and all parties with possession or control over these donations.”
The fundraiser, hosted by Christian crowdfunding website GiveSendGo, had set a goal of $16 million to financially sustain the truckers and their families during the protests. The page had been raising money at an alarming rate; after raising just over $5 million by Monday, the amount had risen to $8.4 million by Thursday. With over 96,000 individual donations, the average donation amounts to roughly $90 per person, reflecting the grassroots, small-dollar support that the campaign has garnered.
The protest, formally known as the Freedom Convoy 2022, consists mostly of truckers and other working-class citizens protesting Canada’s overreaching COVID-19 vaccine mandates for workers. The protest, numbering in the thousands, has blocked off several crucial roads between the United States and Canada, and has been occupying the nation’s capital in Ottawa since January 22nd. The protests forced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to flee the city, and also directly led to multiple provinces rescinding or easing various vaccine restrictions throughout the nation.
Speaking about the attempted suppression by the Canadian court, a spokesperson for GiveSendGo declared that “Canada has absolutely ZERO jurisdiction over how we manage our funds here at GiveSendGo. All funds for EVERY campaign on GiveSendGo flow directly to the recipients of those campaigns, not least of which is The Freedom Convoy campaign.”
And the CEO of GiveSendGo, Jacob Wells, had previously stated that the fundraising campaign was created by Freedom 2022 Human Rights, a nonprofit organization that is sanctioned by the Canadian government, thus meaning that the group had already been authorized to raise funds on behalf of the truckers. Since then, Wells said he has not yet been contacted by government officials regarding the fundraiser.
GiveSendGo has emerged as a popular, censorship-free alternative to more mainstream crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe in recent years. There had previously been a GoFundMe campaign for the truckers as well, but the website shut down the page after it reached $10 million; after the company initially vowed to redistribute the funds to various “charities,” widespread online backlash led to the company instead deciding to simply refund all donations.