In a testimony before the House of Commons finance committee, the deputy director of Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC), the national financial intelligence agency of Canada, said the freedom convoy funding did not come from “terrorism” funding or “money laundering”, despite the Liberal government treating the convoy’s funding using anti-terrorism tools.
“It was their own money,” Barry MacKillop testified. “It wasn’t cash that funded terrorism or was in any way money laundering.”
“There were people around the world who were fed up with Covid and were upset and saw the demonstrations […] I believe they just wanted to support the cause”, he said.
On February 15, the Trudeau government froze the account of many Canadians who donated to the freedom convoy, evoking the Proceeds Of Crime And Terrorist Financing Act, a law passed after the September 2001 attacks in the United States.
The Trudeau government also invoked the Emergencies Act to mandate federal reporting of the donations made through GiveSendGo.
“In invoking the Emergencies Act, we are announcing the following immediate actions: first, we are broadening the scope of Canada’s anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules so that they cover crowdfunding platforms and the payment service providers they use,” Chrystia Freeland said as her government invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in Canadian history on February 14.
“These changes cover all forms of transactions including digital assets such as cryptocurrencies. Illegal blockades have highlighted the fact that crowdfunding platforms and some of the payment service providers they use are not fully captured under the Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act,” she added.
When asked before the House finance committee whether Canadian crowdfunding platforms were already regulated through provincial securities regulation, FINTRAC’s deputy director agreed, debunking Freeland’s earlier statements.
“The money flowing into [Canadian crowdfunding platforms] is already regulated”, McLean said.