GoFundMe has frozen the $4 million in funds raised by the trucker convoy now making its way across the country toward Ottawa in a protest against vaccine mandates.
“We require that fundraisers be transparent about the flow of funds and have a clear plan for how those funds will be spent. In this case, we are in touch with the organizer to verify that information,” Rachel Hollis, a spokeswoman for the crowdfunding platform, said in an email.
“Funds will be safely held until the organizer is able to provide the documentation to our team about how funds will be properly distributed.”
As of Tuesday morning, those funds stood at more than $4.2 million raised from 55,300 donors, according to the GoFundMe page of the “Freedom Convoy.”
Tamara Lich, who is also secretary of the fledgling Western separatist Maverick Party, launched the campaign on Jan. 14. It states that the money will go toward fuel as well as food and lodgings for big-riggers taking part.
“Our current government is implementing rules and mandates that are destroying the foundation of our businesses, industries and livelihoods,” the convoy’s GoFundMe page states.
“We are a peaceful country that has helped protect nations across the globe from tyrannical governments who oppressed their people, and now it seems it is happening here.”
As of Jan. 15, the federal government required Canadian truckers to be fully vaccinated if they want to avoid a 14-day quarantine when they cross the border from the United States.
Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan has also announced that vaccination will become mandatory for all workers in federally regulated industries, though no timeline has been laid out.
The Canadian Trucking Association, which has condemned the convoy protest, says more than 85 per cent of the 120,000 Canadian truck drivers who regularly traverse the border are vaccinated, but that up to 16,000 may be sidelined due to the new restriction, exacerbating supply chain problems.
The big-riggers are bound for a protest set for Saturday in Ottawa, where drivers from across the country are planning to converge.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2022.