Freedom Convoy arrests and bank account freezing: Is Canada right?
- On February 12, 2022, Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) froze 'two personal bank accounts into which $1.4 million ($1.1 million USD) had been deposited to support protesters fighting the Canadian government's pandemic measures'. “At least 76” accounts have been frozen since Trudeau enacted the “never-used” Emergencies Act to attempt to halt protests by the Freedom Convoy on February 14.
- Ottawa Police tweet-announced that over 100 arrests have been made as of February 18.
- On January 23, a Canadian truckers group “Freedom Convoy” protested against COVID-19 vaccine mandates for truckers, announced by the Public Health Agency of Canada on January 13, starting their trek in Vancouver to reach the capital city of Ottawa by January 28. By February 9, the group was holding daily demonstrations calling for “all vaccine mandates and COVID-19 restrictions [to be] lifted.”
- On February 7, 2022, Trudeau tweeted, “Canadians have the right to protest [...] They don’t have the right to blockade our economy, or our democracy, or our fellow citizens’ daily lives.”
- The Freedom Convoy 2022 noted, “We are taking our fight to the doorsteps of our Federal Government and demanding that they cease all mandates against its people” on their Go-FundMe page that has amassed $7 million CAD in donations.
Prime Minister Trudeau has done the best thing for the country by calling on the police to arrest truckers and telling banks to freeze bank accounts. The Emergencies Act passed early this week was not impulsive by the Canadian government but only introduced after the truckers continued to cause mayhem by their blockade of the nation. While Canada permits everyone to voice their opinion democratically and legally, what the truckers did hurt all Canadians and the economy.
For the first week, they continued blaring their horns 24/7, and many communities could not sleep. In addition, the truckers started to block the roads to the airport in several cities, which also caused a great deal of inconvenience. By blocking the roads, they continued to cause chaos and confusion all over the country, making it impossible for any traffic to get through. Some people could not even go to work. But it was the blockade of the busiest commercial bridge between the US and Canada that was the final straw. Canada has already suffered for the past two years under the COVID pandemic, and the blockade of the Ambassador bridge was another major blow. The truckers kept on increasing their demands.
Trudeau said he would only communicate with the truckers if they discontinued the protest, but they declined.
It is important to note the government has only frozen a handful of bank accounts—chiefly of the trucking leaders who advocate more protests. The freezing of the bank accounts has been done to safeguard its economy, safety, and democratic values. The truckers fail to understand that the vaccine mandate was for the safety of all Canadians.
Prime Minister Trudeau and the Canadian government are wrong for arresting Freedom Convoy participants and freezing their bank accounts. On January 31, Trudeau reportedly refused to meet with the truckers protesting the Canadian COVID-19 mandates, claiming the protests are hateful and violent.
On February 17, fact-checkers have confirmed there have been no burned buildings or injuries, or deaths resulting from these peaceful protests. In stark contrast, the 2020 BLM protests across North America resulted in over 500 arrests and $550M in property damage to 1,500 locations in Minnesota alone. The riots that same year resulted in 18 deaths and nearly $2B in property damage. Trudeau is wrong in his characterization of these Freedom Convoy protests and his tyrannical handling of them.
Furthermore, because these protests are peaceful, Trudeau should have actually visited with the protestors and heard their concerns over the mandates, as many have valid worries about their health, job security, and families. Instead, he continues to dismiss them entirely.
Trudeau and the Canadian government are violating their own charter, as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to free expression in Section 2(b) and the freedom to peacefully assemble in Section 2(c) by arresting and freezing the protestor’s accounts, they are not only in violation territory but also violate the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property” in Article 17. The protests are peaceful and protected under Canada’s Charter. Therefore, the Canadian government is arbitrarily depriving the protestors of their property, making this retaliation against the protestors utterly and plainly wrong.