During the pandemic, a new mandate requiring Canadian truckers that carried out trips across the border into the United States to receive the COVID-19 vaccine was wildly unpopular, resulting in what was known as the “Freedom Convoy” protest.
Following a decision to protest the measure, truckers blocked the streets of Ottawa with their trucks and were supported in doing so by a significant amount of people both in Canada and abroad.
Turning to Crypto Funding
In order to continue their protest, the truckers needed money to pay for food, accommodation, legal fees, and the like. Supporters of the movement were eager to provide donations, but truckers quickly found their bank accounts frozen or otherwise unable to receive cash.
As a result, representatives of the protest announced that they would also be receiving donations in crypto for those inclined.
In response, the Canadian Government broadened its interpretation of the Canadian Emergencies Act, allowing them to freeze transactions in crypto and other denominations.
And there it is…things are starting to get spicy. What an advertisement for #Bitcoin.
Bitcoin = freedom
And don’t forget it. https://t.co/EEPh8RBk0H
— Preston Pysh (@PrestonPysh) February 14, 2022
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) immediately condemned the act, as did figures within the crypto sphere, such as former Kraken CEO Jesse Powell.
Due process is for plebs. Might makes right in Canada. If someone dissents, you just confiscate their wealth, revoke their licenses, exclude them from the financial system and kill their pets. No need to debate the law, policy or even rights when you have a monopoly on violence. https://t.co/ksx9JpRwSg
— Jesse Powell (@jespow) February 17, 2022
Yesterday, a ruling by the Federal Court of Canada agreed with the sentiment, ruling that the use of the Emergencies Act to freeze crypto transfers was unconstitutional.
According to Justice Richard Mosley, the protest did not qualify as a national emergency, and therefore, the use of the Emergencies Act was unconstitutional.
“There was no national emergency justifying the invocation of the Emergencies Act and the decision to do so was therefore unreasonable.”
The CCLU, who – among others – filed an application for judicial review almost as soon as the measures were announced, also released a statement on the matter, thanking the court for the careful review of the situation.
“Emergency powers are necessary in extreme circumstances, but they are also dangerous to democracy. They should be used sparingly and carefully. They cannot be used even to address a massive and disruptive demonstration if that could have been dealt with through regular policing and laws. […]
The government must demonstrate that there is an emergency arising from threats to the security of Canada and that that emergency truly has a national scope. The Federal Court agreed that this threshold was not met.”
Although the decision will not do much for the truckers whose donations were withheld from that at the time, it nevertheless blocks the use of the emergency powers from being held up as a precedent should a similar situation arise again.