US crowdfunding platform GoFundMe has suspended access to more than Can$5 million (about $4 million) raised by ‘Freedom Convoy 2022’ – a trucker convoy heading to Ottawa to protest the vaccine mandate.
About 50,000 trucks aim to take part in a massive demonstration against rules recently imposed by the government, requiring truck drivers to be vaccinated to avoid a 14-day quarantine after crossing the border from the US.
Commenting on its decision to temporarily freeze the funds raised by the campaign, GoFundMe said the money “will be safely held” until the Freedom Convoy provides the documents “about how funds will be properly distributed.”
“We require that fundraisers be transparent about the flow of funds and have a clear plan for how those funds will be spent. In this case, we are in touch with the organizer to verify that information,” the platform’s spokeswoman, Rachel Hollis, told CTV News in an email.
According to the campaign’s page on GoFundMe, the funds were supposed to cover “the costs of fuel first, and hopefully food and lodgings” for the haulers to “ease the pressures” of their “arduous task.”
In a video on the campaign’s Facebook page, campaign organizer Tamara Lich told supporters not to panic.
“I am working with GoFundMe, trust me, we got this covered,” she said, adding that when the authorities “are scared the first thing they are going to try to do is come after your money.”
“And when that doesn’t work, they’re going to try and shut us down,” Lich said.
Explaining Freedom Convoy’s mission earlier, Lich said Canada is “a peaceful country that has helped protect nations across the globe from tyrannical governments who oppressed their people, and now it seems it is happening here,” so people have the duty now “to put an end to these mandates.”
Ahead of the demonstration planned in Ottawa on January 29, the Canadian Trucking Alliance, which does not support the campaign, issued a statement along with the government, saying that “vaccination, used in combination with preventative public health measures, is the most effective tool to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for Canadians, and to protect public health.”