TORONTO – The world’s eyes are on Canada amid ongoing “Liberty Convoy” protests against vaccine regulations and other COVID-19 measures – and support for This movement continued to grow internationally, especially in the United States.
Conservative politicians, commentators and right-wing online communities south of the border and beyond cheered the convoys, while protesters continued to occupy downtown streets Ottawa and blocked US border crossings in at least three provinces.
Kayla Preston, a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto who studies Canada’s far-right movements, told CTVNews: “(The Canadian convoy) speaks to a lot of the same frustrations being shared across the country. USA. over the phone on Wednesdays.
As in Canada, US President Joe Biden’s vaccinations making it mandatory for healthcare workers, the military and employees of large businesses have been a sore point there, sparking outrage from the Party. Republic. Leading Republicans such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former President Donald Trump promoted the cause of the Canadian convoy, who later called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a “leftist lunatic.”
“I think Canadian truckers are not just standing up for the freedom of Canadians, but also for the freedom of Americans,” Cruz told reporters on Wednesday.
Fox News and other conservative media outlets also carried extensive and brilliant coverage of the motorcade. On Tuesday, Fox commentator Tucker Carlson, the host of America’s most-watched cable news show, praised the convoys protesting “the tyranny of the Justin Trudeau government.”
“This is a peaceful, political protest,” Carlson said on his show. “These are Canadian citizens who drive trucks for a living, but they’re being treated like a terrorist group.”
Transportation groups, including the Transport Alliance of Canada and the Private Motor Vehicle Council of Canada, have distanced themselves and their members from the convoy protests, saying that nearly 85 percent of riders truck has been vaccinated. The groups also note that many of the organizers and participants of the convoy have no connection to the trucking industry.
The convoy protests in Canada have also inspired similar protests against COVID-19 health measures internationally.
Officials from the US Department of Homeland Security have warned that a group of truckers and US advocates are planning a similar convoy to begin in Los Angeles, to coincide with the Super Bowl on this weekend. From there, officials said the convoy would arrive in Washington, DC on March 1, when Biden’s Federal Address is scheduled.
In Europe, a convoy of about 200 protesters gathered in southern France on Thursday, from where they were due to travel to Paris and Brussels. Another convoy in New Zealand also rolled through the country’s capital Wellington on Tuesday.
MANY CONVOY HOUSES CAN BE A MOTHER
After GoFundMe scrapped Canada’s convoy fundraising, organizers turned to GiveSendGo, a site that describes itself as “the #1 free Christian crowdfunding site.”
Several US Republican officials have also vowed to investigate GoFundMe for shutting down its fundraising – while confirming that some Americans have indeed donated.
“Many Texans have donated to this worthy cause. I am taking action to protect Texas consumers so they know where their hard-earned money is going, rather than allowing GoFundMe to move money to another purpose without the consent of the citizens of Texas.” Texas Attorney Ken Paxton said in a statement Wednesday.
Before GoFundMe scrapped the fundraising, the team had raised over $10 million on the platform. As of Thursday morning, the GiveSendGo fundraiser has raised more than US$8.2 million, or C$10.4 million.
It’s not clear how much that money was from foreign sources. CTV News sampled about 6,500 donations on the platform, worth about $622,000 over a 12-hour period.
Of those, about 35% are donations anonymously, or credited with obvious pseudonyms, such as “Justin Trudeau.”
Of the rest, CTV News counted people who had declared their location or stated which country they were from, for a total of about 10%. Of those contributions, 52.6% were from the US while only 36.8% were from Canada.
“The obvious impact of this is the ability of protesters to continue to occupy downtown Ottawa,” national security researcher and Queen’s University professor Christian Leuprecht told CTVNews.ca on Thursday. .
“As long as someone effectively pays them and provides a livelihood for them while they’re there, they should be able to maintain that profession,” he added.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said the federal government would be ready to act if law enforcement were to find illicit financial support for the convoy. He said on Monday that Canada has a “strong” intelligence community that will highlight government concerns over national security, as well as a separate branch within the RCMP that looks at these types of issues.
“That’s why I certainly believe that wherever there is such foul play, we will be in a position to act appropriately,” Mendicino said.
However, Leuprecht said that FINTRAC, Canada’s financial intelligence agency, has little or no enforcement mechanism and serves only intelligence functions. He also noted that some countries, such as Australia, have foreign interference laws that allow authorities to seize funds – but such laws do not exist in Canada.
“Even if we could investigate it, even if we could track it, we really lack the tools to be able to interfere with these financial flows,” Leuprecht said sadly.
On Tuesday, Liberal MP Taleeb Noormohamed proposed expanding the House national security and public safety committee’s study of the “Liberty Convoy” fundraising efforts to include a study on the rise of ideologically motivated extremism.
If passed, it would see an investigation into the influence of foreign and domestic funding and support for violent, extremist ideologies in Canada. It will also include an invitation to US crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo to appear before the committee.
Featuring files from CTV News Toronto by John Woodward and CTVNews.ca by Sarah Turnbull and Christy Somos.