A security breach revealed that an Ontario company had donated US$75,000 to an online fundraising campaign for so-called “freedom convoy” protesters who disrupted the nation’s capital.
Brad Howland, president of Easy-Kleen Pressure Systems Ltd., confirmed the donation, the largest in Canada, following a hack of crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo.
Howland declined to speak to Global News, but said in a statement that he had traveled to Ottawa to witness the “beautiful legal and peaceful protest that overwhelmed us with emotion.”
“We are grateful to have the chance to support their efforts to do what they have to do peacefully until the government removes the mandates to restore all of our freedom before COVID,” he said. declared.
Protest organizers secured millions in pledges from donors on GiveSendGo, the US-based Christian crowdfunding platform that hosts the fundraising campaign.
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The Ontario court last week froze the funds as offense-related assets after the Ottawa Police Service alleged the money facilitated crimes committed by anti-lockdown and anti-lockdown protesters. -vaccines.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Monday the government is expanding the scope of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Canada (FINTRAC) to oversee crowdfunding websites, allowing banks to freeze accounts without getting prior court order.
“We are making these changes because we know these platforms are used to support illegal blockages and illegal activities that harm the Canadian economy,” Freeland said at a press conference.
Although many donations were made anonymously or using what appeared to be false names, the data shared with news outlets showed the email addresses used by the donors.
Among them was a $100 donation linked to a government email address from the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). The federal agency said it was looking into the matter.
“At all times, CSC employees must act in accordance with legal and ethical standards and are subject to our rules of ethics and our code of discipline. This includes the appropriate use of CSC email accounts and electronic devices,” a spokesperson said.
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Other promises came from emails associated with an Ontario elementary school board, the US Army, US Navy and other US government agencies.
The US Department of Justice declined to comment on the apparent use of its email system by a donor. The Department of Homeland Security said it is looking into the matter.
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that nearly half of the donations to protesters came from south of the border.
The list provided by the DDOS collective indicated that $4.3 million came from Canada and $3.6 million from the United States, but the reliability of the data is uncertain, since the donors themselves declare a large part of their personal details.
The protests drew support from the American political right and from supporters of former US President Donald Trump, who claimed Trudeau had “destroyed Canada with insane COVID mandates”.
A Seattle doctor confirmed in an interview that he donated $5,000 to protesters, who he said were “gathering together and saying, ‘Hey government, we’re done with you telling us what we can do. and cannot do”.
Asked to address concerns about US interference in Canada’s internal affairs, Dr. Ben Lynch said the protesters were “carrying the flag of freedom”, which generally garners global support.
“I mean, when Myanmar was severely suppressed, a lot of people were also trying to step in and help,” he said. “So we don’t meddle in Canadian affairs, we support a specific movement, which is freedom.”
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Ontario business owner Holden Rhodes also confirmed he and his wife donated US$25,000 through GiveSendGo, and said the money raised on the platform showed it was not “not from a ‘marginal minority’ as our prime minister called people who believe in freedom.
“As you know GiveSendGo was hacked last night which is a pathetic and weak way to disagree with someone,” Holden, president of Killarney Mountain Resorts, said in an email.
“How about a conversation, a debate, a little respect, proof? Hardly peaceful like the thousands of people who showed up to protest.
“Without freedom, we have nothing. I am not ready to accept a country without freedom for my family, my children, my friends, my neighbors and all other Canadians. That’s why I do what I do. »
Before moving to GiveSendGo, the fundraising campaign started on GoFundMe, but was halted by the platform, which said the protest had become an “occupation, with police reports of violence and other illegal activities”.
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