Official compares Freedom Convoy donations to 'terrorist financing'
Justin Trudeau’s justice minister compares Freedom Convoy donations to ‘terrorist financing’, says donors are part of ‘pro-Trump movement’ and threatens to FREEZE their bank accounts
- Trudeau’s Justice Minister David Lametti made the remarks on CTV on Wednesday night
- Said donors funding the Freedom Convoy were a ‘pro-Trump movement’ and were subject to asset seizure
- Said they ‘ought to be worried’ about having their bank accounts frozen under emergency powers
- Lametti defended Trudeau’s emergency powers to seize bank accounts under Emergencies Act
- Said it was a simple ‘extending’ of measures used to stop terrorist financing
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s justice minister has warned that people who donated to support the Freedom Convoy ‘ought to be worried’ about having their bank accounts frozen, saying they are part of a ‘pro-Trump movement’.
Justice Minister David Lametti made the remark in an interview with CTV News Channel on Wednesday night, where host Evan Solomon pressed him on whether average citizens who donated to the protests should be worried about account seizures.
‘If you are a member of a pro-Trump movement who is donating hundreds of thousands of dollars, and millions of dollars to this kind of thing, then you ought to be worried,’ said Lametti.
Lametti defended the government seizure of bank accounts tied to the protests as a simple ‘extending’ of the procedures used to stop ‘terrorist financing’.
About 44 percent of the nearly $10 million in contributions to support the protesters originated from U.S. donors, according to hacked donor files.
After invoking the rarely used Emergencies Act this week, Trudeau now has extraordinary powers, which include seizing assets such as bank accounts without judicial review or ordinary due process.
Meanwhile, Trudeau was reprimanded in Parliament on Wednesday when he accused a Jewish MP of ‘standing with people who wave swastikas’ after she criticized his handling of the Freedom Convoy truckers’ anti-vaccine protests.
This is the second time Trudeau has claimed swastikas are being waved by protesters, and he smeared them as being ‘swastika-wavers’ in the first week of protests. A flag incorporating the Nazi symbol was spotted in the initial days of the protests, but a DailyMail.com reporter has not seen any after a week in Ottawa.
On Thursday morning, protesters continued their three-week-old blockade of central Ottawa, after Trudeau’s administration claimed the movement against vaccine mandates is under the influence of extremists who want to overthrow his Liberal government.
Justice Minister David Lametti has warned that people who donated to support the Freedom Convoy ‘ought to be worried’ about having their bank accounts frozen
Vehicles are seen on a street as truckers and supporters continue to protest vaccine mandates in Ottawa on Wednesday
In Wednesday’s interview, Lametti faced tough grilling over what recourse average citizens would have if their bank accounts were wrongfully frozen.
‘We already do this with respect to terrorist financing, we already do this with respect to money laundering,’ he responded.
‘What we are doing is extending the same kind of principles and procedures to this situation,’ explained Lametti.
Lametti said that the process relied on the ‘reasonableness’ of investigators, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in order to identify bank accounts for seizure.
The donor list to a GiveSendGo campaign that raised more than $8.6 million to support the protest is now public information after hackers stole the information and released it.
GiveSendGo founder Jacob Wells on Wednesday slammed Trudeau’s administration as a ‘group of terrorists’ and called on the FBI to investigate the hackers who shut down its site on Sunday and released the information of its more than 92,000 donors.
‘This is illegal, and these people should be going to jail,’ Wells told Fox News. ‘The FBI – I mean, it’s surprising that we haven’t heard from any investigative services. We will be reaching out ourselves to just see that there’s some investigation into this. This is completely unacceptable.’
Twitter has freely allowed the sharing of articles based on the hacked donor list, despite a policy against hacked materials that the social media giant cited in blocking articles based on material from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop.
Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, is seen in Parliament on Wednesday, when he accused members of the Conservative Party – including a Jewish MP – of ‘standing with people who wave swastikas’
Marion Isabeau-Ringuette was forced out of her job as a staffer for the Ontario provincial government after hackers revealed that she donated $100 to the Freedom Convoy protests earlier this month
The GiveSendGo hack has already had an impact on Canadians who donated – a top political aide to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Marion Isabeau-Ringuette, was forced out of her job when a local news outlet QP Briefing outed her to his office for making a $100 donation.
Canada’s state-funded national broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Company, has gone through the list of 92,844 donors to contact and publicly out them.
It revealed that the former leader of the country’s Progressive Conservative Party Ches Crosbie made an $800 donation. He was unapologetic when confronted by CBC journalists, saying: ‘Indefinite states of emergency, such as we are under in most of Canada, are a dangerous thing, a very dangerous thing. I support the right of peaceful protest and I see the Freedom Convoy as a peaceful protest.’
The CBC also outed a prominent business owner in London, Ontario, as giving the largest single donation to the Freedom Convoy. Holden Rhodes, who owns Killarney Mountain Lodge, donated $25,000.
Another donor outed in the leak was Tammy Giuliani, owner of Stella Luna Gelato Cafe in Ottawa, who was forced to shut down her business after she received an onslaught of threats over her $250 donation.
On Wednesday, police in Ottawa handed out flyers warning truck drivers and others paralyzing the downtown core that they should leave or face arrest, but there was little sign of imminent action to move the nearly 400 vehicles out.
While the demonstrators protest against vaccine mandates and pandemic restrictions, they also have made clear their opposition to Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and some have said they want to kick him out of office.
A portion of the protesters ‘have strong ties to a far-right extreme organization with leaders who are in Ottawa,’ Canada’s Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said, referring to the arrest of 13 people in Alberta earlier this week linked to a border blockade there that has since disbanded.
GiveSendGo said that the cyberattack was ‘highly coordinated’ and aimed at the Freedom Convoy for their protest of Canada’s COVID-19 mandates
The movement features a blockade of the streets by truckers fed up with the mandates
They had guns and ammunition and police have charged four of them for conspiracy to commit murder. While the Ottawa protest has been loud and rowdy, it has been non-violent.
‘I’m not afraid,’ said a protester in Ottawa on Wednesday who declined to give his name. ‘We’re here peacefully and we will remain peacefully. Even if they attempt to arrest us, we will be arrested peacefully.’
Meanwhile, Trudeau generated a huge controversy in Parliament on Wednesday when he accused a Jewish MP of ‘standing with people who wave swastikas’ after she criticized his handling of the Freedom Convoy truckers’ anti-vaccine protests.
Melissa Lantsman, a 37-year-old Conservative MP for the Toronto suburb of Thornhill, confronted the prime minister in Parliament about the draconian Emergency Act, which he invoked on Monday for the first time in 50 years in a bid to end 19 days of chaos.
Trudeau responded with scorn to her complaints, saying: ‘Conservative Party members can stand with people who wave swastikas, they can stand with people who wave the confederate flag.
‘We will chose to stand with Canadians who deserve to be able to get to their jobs, and get their lives back. These illegal protests need to stop and they will.’
His comments were sparked uproar in the house, and forced the Speaker of the House to reprimand Trudeau and others, reminding them of rules against using ‘inflammatory’ language in Parliament during the debates.
Melissa Lantsman is seen on Wednesday asking a question of Justin Trudeau in Parliament
After being reprimanded, Trudeau refused to apologize and again repeated that the blockades were illegal, and the measures to repress the protests were necessary.
Lantsman later tweeted: ‘I think the Prime Minister should think long and hard about his own history before singling out a Jewish Member of Parliament and falsely accusing me of standing with a Swastika.
‘What a disgraceful statement unbecoming of anyone in public office – he owes me an apology.’
On Monday Trudeau invoked emergency powers in order to end the protests. Justice Minister David Lametti said the emergency legislation would be presented to the House of Commons on Thursday.
‘We are going to take back the entirety of the downtown core and every occupied space,’ Interim Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell said in a statement on Thursday, adding that the action would be taken in ‘coming days’ and that it would ‘take time’ to do right.
The left-leaning New Democrats said they would support the minority Liberal government, ensuring the powers would pass.
Meanwhile on Thursday one of the protest organizers, Pat King, posted a video on Twitter warning police to stand down.
‘Back off. Stand down. Put your badge on the ground… and stand with the people,’ King said. ‘When this comes to an end, just following orders is not going to be a good legal defense.’
EXCLUSIVE: Showdown in Ottawa looms: Police hand out notices to evacuate as DailyMail.com goes inside the tented nerve center where 200 volunteers keep the Freedom Convoy in top shape with hot meals, saunas and massages
By Greg Woodfield and John R. Kennedy In Ottawa For Dailymail.Com
Ottawa cops have started dishing out leaflets to truckers occupying the city’s downtown core demanding they leave immediately.
The operation began around 10am local time Wednesday around the crucial Parliament Buildings area of the blockade.
The flyer read: ‘You must leave the area now. Anyone blocking the streets, or assisting others in blocking the streets, are committing a criminal offence and you may be arrested.
‘You must immediately cease further unlawful activity or you will face charges… The people of Ottawa are being denied the lawful use, enjoyment and operation of their property and you are causing businesses to close. That is mischief under the Criminal Code.’
Some of the truckers handed ripped the notices ripped up while others handed them back to officers. One told a cop: ‘Take your garbage back.’
This comes as DailyMail.com was given an exclusive tour of one of the Freedom Convoy camps, officially known as Base Camp 3, Coventry 302.
On Wednesday Ottawa cops began dishing out leaflets to truckers occupying the city’s downtown core demanding they leave immediately
The flyer read: ‘You must leave the area now. Anyone blocking the streets, or assisting others in blocking the streets, are committing a criminal offence and you may be arrested’
Some of the truckers handed the notices ripped them up while others handed them back to officers. One told a cop: ‘Take your garbage back’
Police officers go from truck to truck handing out notices to protesters warning of impending arrest if they stay in Ottawa
Punishment for protesters may include a ban from entering the U.S., forfeiting of a commercial driver’s license, seizure of property and arrest
‘You must immediately cease further unlawful activity or you will face charges… The people of Ottawa are being denied the lawful use, enjoyment and operation of their property and you are causing businesses to close. That is mischief under the Criminal Code,’ the flyer reads
In the evening, the protest turned into a campfire as demonstrators gathered around to keep warm amid the continuing blockade
Protesters draped in a Canadian flag walk past the gridlocked lorries parked near the parliament building in Ottawa
The base camp a tented nerve center in the operation to maintain the crippling truck-blockade occupation of downtown Ottawa.
Spreading over a baseball stadium’s four-acre parking lot three miles from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office, it is largely shielded from a busy road by big rigs and pick-up trucks.
Mounds of snow also give the staging area some cover from prying eyes.
And it’s fair to say what goes on at the burgeoning tent city has been the subject of speculation since its first makeshift structures appeared on January 29.
However DailyMail.com can now reveal details of the massive operation being carried out there after being given an exclusive tour of the camp by officials.
As well as an office for crucial planning, the camp also provides massive logistical support to the truckers and volunteers 24/7.
This includes providing 500 hot meals a day, facilities for up to 30 children – and even two sauna cabins and three massage therapists.
Relays of volunteers ferry the truckers occupying downtown back to the camp to feed them, do their laundry and provide them therapy in a well-oiled operation.
The camp also has its own security force.
Before the tour, we had to go through security requirements that felt almost like a fast-track vetting.
There is a strict checkpoint, where unknown visitors are scrutinized. We handed over our business cards to a cheerful young woman, who took them away to the central office.
She returned ten minutes later saying someone would call and we might be able to come back.
No call came, so we returned to the checkpoint two hours later – where Base Camp 3 volunteer Angel Godsoe, 50, emerged from another tent and handed us makeshift media accreditation to hang from our necks.
DailyMail.com was given an exclusive tour of one of the Freedom Convoy camps, officially known as Base Camp 3, Coventry 302
The camp has two sauna cabins and three massage therapists for the truckers who are now on Day 20 of the downtown Ottawa occupation
Protestors, participating in a blockade of downtown streets near the parliament building, enjoy a dip in a portable hot tub
Angel Godsoe, 50, a mom of nine who owns a riding stable, insisted, ‘This place is here to support the truckers. ‘The best people in the country are here. They are the leaders of this base camp. We are like a charity organization’
As well as an office for crucial planning, the camp also provides massive logistical support to the truckers and volunteers 24/7
Volunteers are seen surrounding a gas heater to stay warm in the brisk Ottawa winter
Trudeau has invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in Canada’s history to try to put an end to the blockade which is now in it’s third week
Godsoe, a mom of nine who owns a riding stable, would not be drawn on how much campaign planning goes on at the camp – and would not let us take photographs inside the main office tent.
She simply insisted: ‘This place is here to support the truckers. The best people in the country are here. They are the leaders of this base camp. We are like a charity organization.
‘We are group of people who decided to put this up on public property because we are within out rights to do that. So nobody can tell us to leave, because it is owned by the city.’
The camp is now an extensive network of tents, with two white structures appearing to be the nerve center of the camp. It is wedged between the stadium of RCGT Park and two hotels, a Hampton Inn and a Courtyard by Marriott.
Godsoe insisted that no fuel for trucks is being stored there. This follows a dramatic early hours raid on February 6 by dozens of heavily-armed police who hauled away at least one tanker of fuel.
Snipers were on the roof of the stadium and one of the hotels to back up the swoop as officers moved through the camp.
It is unclear if there is actually one organization running the camp. Godsoe insists it is entirely a group of volunteers who want to assist the Freedom Convoy movement.
We were allowed inside the main office despite the photo ban. Activity inside was humming – people at desks, people chatting in groups, people consulting lists.
A bearded man in his 40s and dressed all in black appeared to be one of the leaders. ‘He’s the general,’ said Godsoe, half in jest but clearly making a point.
‘And this is Bobby,’ she added, pointing out a man standing in the same group. ‘He does logistics, he makes sure everything runs smoothly. He’s amazing. He’s a genius too.’
Godsoe, a bubbly character clearly in her element, said the camp has at least 200 volunteers as it has physically expanded to the point where it looks semi-permanent.
In other areas of the tent, stalls of donated fresh fruit, tinned goods and baking items are crammed
Money is flowing into the camp from donations. And each volunteer’s particular skill has been used to make the base more comfortable as the weeks have passed – including making the structures more secure and ‘tight’ against crushing daytime cold down to a real feel negative 24 Fahrenheit
Relays of volunteers ferry the truckers occupying downtown back to the camp to feed them, do their laundry and provide the therapy in a well-oiled operation
‘People from all over the country are coming to help,’ she said. ‘Originally truckers could bring their big rigs here, park and get some food. Now we have trucks coming in and out.
‘We have got two saunas and three massage therapists, one of them is here right now.
‘Those facilities are particularly well used by the truckers. We have a shuttle service for them, people come back and forth from downtown
‘We give them nourishment, support, a sauna, massage therapy.’
Money is also flowing into the camp from donations, Godsoe said. And each volunteer’s particular skill has been used to make the base more comfortable as the weeks have passed – including making the structures more secure and ‘tight’ against crushing daytime cold down to a real feel negative 24 Fahrenheit.
In the packed dining tent, where barbecue grills and smokers are working overtime, there is a large TV on the wall which was used for a Super Bowl party on Sunday.
Meanwhile in another area of the tent, stalls of donated fresh fruit, tinned goods and baking items are crammed.
Godsoe, from Lindsay, Ontario, said she and other volunteers work punishing shifts to help maintain the camp. ‘I’m from five hours away and I did 30 straight hours,’ she said. ‘I went home, slept a bit, took a shower, came back. We are all pitching in.’
At the back of the tent are two big rig trailers entirely full of food. More food that will not freeze is kept in blue tents.
‘There are different divisions of help,’ said Godsoe. ‘We have kitchen volunteers, we have trades people, we have mechanics, electricians and carpenters. We don’t need any plumbers here because we have no running water.
‘I believe we have some of the best chefs in Ottawa volunteering here because the food rivals top restaurants. It’s really good food here. It’s amazing. Three hot meals a day. The grill closes down at night, but there is still food available 24/7. And the salads and soups are great also.’
She added: ‘We have security volunteers. And that’s because we want to keep the peace. It could turn into a big party, but it hasn’t.
‘We want to make sure that people are focused, we are doing a job here, we are fixing the country. It’s not a party.
‘The truckers are doing their own watches too on Parliament Hill. But if we have extra security we send them down there as well for night time.
There is little trash on the streets around the Parliament Buildings which is the main focus of the occupation. ‘We bring it back here,’ said Godsoe.
The two sauna cabins are seen at the camp, next to a truck with a sign that reads, ‘United We Stand’
The camp is now an extensive network of tents, with two white structures operating as the nerve center of the camp
The camp is wedged between the stadium of RCGT Park and two hotels, a Hampton Inn and a Courtyard by Marriott
The command center sets up accommodation for volunteers and tries to help some truckers as well. But it’s been claimed authorities had been booking out hotels in a bid to stop them finding rooms
The command center also sets up accommodation for volunteers and tries to help some truckers as well. But Godsoe claimed authorities had been booking out hotels in a bid to stop them finding rooms.
‘We are billeting people,’ she said. ‘We have a list, one of my other duties, a list of people willing to give accommodations, give showers, do laundry – we have people bringing in laundry they have done for the truckers.
‘I have a list of so many people. They come in, I’d say a dozen a day willing to bring other people into their homes. And that is just talking to me. Then there are churches who are also getting involved.
‘Little miracles happen like when we were missing our fire extinguishers, I don’t know if it was mischief or it was just you know, whatever, but we were looking for them. And then a man walks into the office and says, ‘I’m a volunteer firefighter and I’ve got three in my car’. Again and again and again these things happen.
‘Ottawa has opened its arms to us.’
Godsoe was philosophical about when the deadlock would end. Of Trudeau’s Emergencies Act declaration, she said: ‘It is a desperate measure from a desperate man. It’s his last-ditch attempt.
‘We don’t know when we will go. Nobody knows the day or the time it is going to end.But we can see the cracks in the walls. The police chief just stepped down. That’s big chunk right there. The walls are coming down.’
Relays of volunteers ferry the truckers occupying downtown back to the camp to feed them, do their laundry and provide the therapy in a well-oiled operation.
‘We believe police are still in one of those hotels and watching us with all their surveillance techniques,’ he said.
Godsoe added: ‘They are observing us from those windows, We’ve got drones flying over here constantly. We have got tripods in those windows.’
Organizers and supporters of the Freedom Convoy have called on Canadians to descend on Ottawa this weekend to make it impossible for police to move in and end the protest
Ottawa Police Service have cautioned that the Federal Emergencies Act invoked by prime minister Justin Trudeau ‘allows for the regulation or prohibition of travel to, from or within any specified area’
Demonstrators roast a pig on a downtown street in Ottawa as truckers and supporters continue to protest
Meanwhile, organizers and supporters of the Freedom Convoy have called on Canadians to descend on Ottawa this weekend to make it impossible for police to move in and end the protest.
At a press conference Wednesday, two former police officers and a military veteran urged their fellow citizens to ignore warnings from authorities to stay out of the nation’s capital on this Family Day long weekend.
‘We call on our fellow Canadians to come to Ottawa to exercise their legal right to assembly and protest,’ said Daniel Bulford, a former RCMP officer. ‘The more Canadians that come to Ottawa will make it harder for the government to get the police to follow their illegal order.’
Ottawa Police Service have cautioned that the Federal Emergencies Act invoked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ‘allows for the regulation or prohibition of travel to, from or within any specified area.’
It warned that ‘anyone coming to Ottawa for the purpose of joining the ongoing demonstration is breaking the law.’
Bulford said citizens should be ‘shocked’ that Trudeau’s government has resorted to such an ‘extreme and authoritarian measure and that the government wants to use force against a peaceful demonstration.
‘We cannot allow this happen,’ he said.
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