Canadian PM Justin Trudeau invokes ‘Emergencies Act’ targetted at crowdfunding and crypto


Canadian PM Justin Trudeau invokes ‘Emergencies Act’ targetted at crowdfunding and crypto

For the first time in his tenure, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked the Emergencies Act, hence empowering him to freeze Freedom Convoy protesters’ bank accounts in order to monitor “large and suspicious transactions,” among which are crypto donations.

The Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has stated in a press conference on February 14 that this latest manoeuvre has been directed against the protesters to broaden the scope of Terrorist Financing rules. The move is targeted at “crowdfunding platforms and the payment service providers they use.”

Additionally, the changes also cover “all forms of transactions” that include digital assets and cryptocurrencies, Freeland said.

According to media reports, protesters have amassed over $19 million in funds via the fundraising platforms GoFundMe and GiveSendGo. The funds, however, have been blocked from reaching the convoy leading many to organize the fundraising round using Bitcoin.

The HonkHonk Hodl group has reportedly raised 22 BTC valued at roughly $1 million through the Tallycoin BTC fundraising platform. HonkHonk Hodl had closed their Tallycoin page on February 15 as they had already exceeded their fundraising goal. These funds are waiting to be distributed to protesters.

According to The Daily Dot contributing writer Michael Thalen, GoFundMe has cooperated with Canadian officials and have refunded donors, but GiveSendGo has been experiencing an information leak by exposing the identity of “thousands of names of those who donated to the Freedom Convoy.” 

BBC News has reported that Quebec Premier Francois Legault had said before Trudeau’s announcement that invoking the Emergencies Act would equal to “throwing oil on the fire.” However, Trudeau has insisted the emergency powers would be “applied temporarily and in a highly specific manner.”

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has contended today that the Prime Minister, by invoking the Act, has overstepped his authority and that the federal government has, in reality, “not met the threshold necessary to invoke the Emergencies Act.”

The Association has said that the law would create “a high and clear standard for a good reason” in that it allows the Canadian government to bypass ordinary democratic processes but that “standard has not been met.”

Of now, it is not clear what are the specific payments that would be blocked. In the official press conference, Freeland has only noted that all crowdfunding platforms would now be mandated to report “large and suspicious transactions” to Fintrac, The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.

Crypto supporters like Pylon Holding Company’s Founder, Preston Pysh, has shared a mockery delighting at the possibilities for adoption that the Freedom Convoy has made apparent. Pysh had tweeted in response to Freeland, “What an advertisement for Bitcoin.”

Meanwhile, Bitcoin prices have reacted with a 2.6 percent gain over the last couple of hours, presently trading at $43,667 while writing this news piece. 

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