Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced he will repeal emergency powers used to freeze $8 million from 210 bank accounts connected to Canadian Freedom Convoy protestors, according to CBC news.
On Thursday, Trudeau stated in a televised press conference that “we’re ready to confirm that the situation is no longer an emergency,” saying that his special powers granted by the Emergencies Act would end. He added, “We are confident that existing laws and bylaws are now sufficient to keep people safe.”
Freedom Convoy protesters had blockaded streets and demonstrated to end COVID mandates and restrictions for weeks in front of Ontario’s Parliament Hill since last month. The action to freeze accounts was taken under the Emergencies Act. On Wednesday, the Trudeau government began unfreezing bank accounts.
Isabelle Jacques, assistant deputy minister of finance, told a committee of MPs, “The vast majority of accounts are in the process of being unfrozen, subject to any new information that the RCMP may have,” she said, referring to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
After being blocked from traditional crowdfunding platforms GoFundMe and GiveSendGo by the Canadian government, protesters turned to fundraising with Bitcoin (BTC) on Tallycoin and raised 21 BTC valued at about $902,000 at the time of the event on Feb. 15. The event organizers then moved the BTC to a new wallet with separate key holders.
The decision to freeze bank accounts outraged some major crypto industry players, causing them to speak out against the action. Kraken CEO Jesse Powell responded to the bank freezes by tweeting on Friday, “Due process is for plebs. Might makes right in Canada.”
Powell later told Forbes on Wednesday:
“People, you know, ought to think, again, about whether the government is always going to have their best interests in mind, or that it would never go to this extreme of, you know confiscating bank accounts without due process.”
Related: ‘You’d better buy some Bitcoin’ — BTC figures defy Canada gov’t as ETF assets hit record
United States Senator Rand Paul also voiced concerns about the encroachment of government authorities and sounded the alarm about the possibility of a similar situation happening in his country. He appeared on the Based Politics podcast with host Hannah Cox on Sunday and said:
“We have the same sort of statutes here, and I have long-time been an opponent of these. We actually have in the United States an Emergency Act that allows the president to shut down the internet.”