Advisory: Be careful of what you read on social media. The algorithms used by these platforms have no regard for Biblical truth. They target your emotions to keep you engaged on their site so their advertisers can drop more ads. These platforms exist to enrich their stockholders. Consider God’s promise to Believers in James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
On Thursday, a House committee meeting to evaluate the finances behind the weeks-long cross-country protest contested the federal government’s claim that the Freedom Convoy was primarily foreign-funded.
The Public Safety Committee hearing was acrimonious at times, with some MPs criticizing GoFundMe for originally agreeing to carry the convoy’s campaign, and later GiveSendGo for continuing to pursue it despite legal action.
According to figures supplied by GoFundMe’s president, the government’s assertion that the trucker-led movement against COVID-19 limitations was a “primarily foreign-funded, targeted, and organized attack” on Canada’s democracy, as stated by Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair, was refuted.
“According to our data, 88 percent of contributed donations came from Canada, and 86 percent of donors came from Canada,” Juan Benitez added.
Benitez also stated that his company has capabilities to detect nefarious activity related to donations, but that this was not a problem during the convoy campaign.
“In this campaign, as part of our routine filtration activities, our tools did flag certain behaviors that we felt improper, and we did withdraw some donations,” he said.
The Freedom Convoy began as a three-week siege of downtown Ottawa by truckers when Canada placed a vaccine mandate on them for cross-border travel in mid-January, and it was demolished over the Feb. 19–20 weekend after the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14.
Before closing down their campaign, which had raised over $10 million, GoFundMe released $1 million to the convoy organizers.
Benitez claimed that neither the federal government nor local authorities contacted him about the convoy fundraiser, but that his company proactively reached out to them based on their public statements in the media and on social media.
“We began direct outreach to them based on that,” Benitez added, “to ensure that we were completely aware of the facts and situations on the ground, as well as the real-time information that was developing surrounding the Freedom Convoy.”
On Jan. 31, three days after the convoy settled in downtown Ottawa, the city’s mayor, Jim Watson, said his staff was looking into the possibility of using the funds raised on GoFundMe to pay for the cost of policing the protest.
Then-Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly claimed on Feb. 7 that his and the city’s efforts resulted in the cancellation of the GoFundMe fundraiser on Feb. 4.
When asked what the City of Ottawa and its police communicated with GoFundMe, the business’s general counsel Kim Wilford stated she had not spoken with law enforcement and that what was being reported to her company were “acts of violence, that there was damage and destruction, harassment was occurring.”
In light of this testimony, Conservative MP Doug Shipley inquired when the Ottawa Police Department would be able to testify in order to learn more about the claims.
Shipley stated that he had never been given this level of warning about the dangers, and that he and his staff were walking to work when they came across the demonstration.
“Nowhere in any of those reports did I observe violence, threatening behavior, or damage and destruction,” he claimed.
Due to the beliefs and goals of some of the participants expressed on social media, some MPs on the committee were outraged that GoFundMe had allowed the fundraising to take place in the first place.
Given evidence that “the organizers had ties to the Yellow Vest movement, the anti-Muslim Clarion Project,” Liberal MP Taleeb Noormohamed wondered how GoFundMe could enable the fundraising to be set up.
“Would you have allowed that person to set up a GoFundMe campaign if you had known that the organizer had previously been linked to organizations or movements that promoted hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, intolerance of any kind related to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, etc.?” he asked.
The Clarion Project’s purpose is to “educate the public about the menace of radical Islam and other extremist ideologies,” as the Yellow Vest movement was a protest movement against Liberal government policies such as the carbon price a few years ago.
“There was nothing in our due diligence on the campaign organizer that suggested there were any problems,” Wilford answered. “We were drawn to the campaign because of the high donation rate.”
Wilford stated that they were pleased with how the campaign was handled.
The funds raised by the other campaign, on the self-described Christian site GiveSendGo, which began after GoFundMe was shut down, are still live and have surpassed $12 million.
According to Jacob Wells, co-founder of GiveSendGo, around 60% of donations on the platform originated from Canada and 37% from the United States.
On February 10, an Ontario judge froze the funds. According to Wells, conversations about what would be done with the monies are ongoing, with the primary goal being to lawfully transfer the funds to the recipients. Donations will be repaid if this is not possible.
Liberal, Bloc, and NDP MPs hammered Wells and the other co-founder, his sister Heather Wilson, much harder than GoFundMe, questioning the ethics and legality of the company’s actions.
The MPs questioned why GiveSendGo kept the fundraising going after GoFundMe canceled it due to “terms of service violations,” after the city of Ottawa and the province of Ontario proclaimed states of emergency, and after the Ontario court’s judgment.
GiveSendGo co-founders said “yes” when NDP MP Alistair MacGregor asked if they believe it is necessary to follow and respect Canadian law.
“Canada has absolutely ZERO authority over how we manage our assets here at GiveSendGo,” according to a statement issued on Twitter by GiveSendGo on Feb. 10.
“How does your Twitter statement square with what you just told this committee?” MacGregor enquired.
“As much as you want to pretend that the Canadian government made all these remarks, I don’t know why you didn’t call out to us and ask us to check into this if you were concerned about GiveSendGo and what we were permitting,” Wilson said.
MacGregor questioned GiveSendGo’s neutrality as a platform, citing an affidavit from an Ottawa police officer that was used by the Ontario court to halt the convoy fundraiser on GiveSendGo. “GiveSendGo does not appear to be an unbiased service,” the document stated.
“You’ve been defending GoFundMe for a long time. Wilson told MacGregor, “It demonstrates that you have a stake in the game as well, since you had GoFundMe do exactly what you wanted.”
Other heated debates took place, with Liberal MPs accusing GiveSendGo of supporting the group Proud Boys, which their government labeled as a terrorist entity in February 2021 despite the fact that the group had not committed any terrorist acts.
The Proud Boys identify themselves as “Western chauvinists,” but critics accuse them of being white nationalists, and Canada’s listing came after their involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol breach, which liberals and progressives have called to as an insurgency. Prior to Jan. 6, the Proud Boys were largely recognized in the United States for fighting far-left radicals on the streets.
“So the Proud Boys can still fundraise on your platform, and you have no problem fundraising for the Ku Klux Klan, is what you’re saying,” Liberal MP Pam Damoff said.
“If individuals or organizations that are legally authorized to receive payments go through the KYC [know your client] and AML [anti-money laundering] checks that everyone is required to go through and have been done through our platform, and if they pass all of those measures and what they’re fundraising for is legal, then yes, we will allow them to fundraise,” Wells said.
“The groups we’re discussing are hate groups—groups that propagate islamophobia, such as the Proud Boys and the Ku Klux Klan, have no place in our society.” I’m sorry, but all this legal jargon—do your terms of service include anti-hate provisions?” Damoff remarked.
“We have lots of terms [of service]… that guide how we operate as a business,” Wells responded. “As an organization, we believe—completely to the core of our being—that the threat of speech suppression is considerably more terrible than the speech itself.”
As the discussion came to a close, Damoff observed, “My brand of Christianity is very different from yours if it contains hate.”
Try as they might, but the Canadian federal government cannot hide the hand they’ve already revealed. Their blatant disregard for the God given rights of their citizens surely didn’t go unnoticed. Nor have they forgotten that the funds donated to the freedom convoy were nearly reallocated to reimbursement toward the Ottawa police department “to pay for the cost of policing the protest”. The Canadian governments ‘walking back’ of these actions is only effective towards the willfully ignorant left. Because it serves them to be ignorant in these days. They confide in their tyrannical dictators because they have no higher power to confide in. The rule of law comes from God first, and government second.
Proverbs 9:7-12 says: “Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it.” Stay inquisitive in the word of God, and the world around you.
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