Crypto Caught in Crossfire as Canada’s PM Trudeau Invokes Emergencies Act – PYMNTS.com

Cryptocurrency transactions became a surprising casualty of Canada’s Emergencies Act, invoked for the first time in Canada’s history by the country’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in response to the Freedom Convoy truckers protesting vaccine mandates in order to cross borders.
Trudeau expanded the anti-money laundering section of the 1988 act to include payment services linked to cryptocurrency transactions and crowdfunding organizations such as GoFundMe in an effort to cut off funding to the protesters and reopen critical trade borders. Under the act, crowdfunding platforms and payment services providers linked to crypto must register with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.
It’s not known how the emergency act could impact cryptocurrency payment providers after the situation is contained.
The move to choke off funds aims to end the protests that, in one demonstration lasting several days, suspended trade across the Ambassador Bridge, a busy economic corridor connecting Ontario and Detroit that carries some $360 million in trade, according to estimates by Reuters.
The protests have disrupted Ottawa’s everyday life — the country’s capital — and choked off cross-border trade between Canada and the U.S. since Jan. 22. Protestors in Ottawa numbered as high as 8,000 according to reports, with a daily policing cost of over a half-million.
Funding to the protestors has become a hot potato, with GOP lawmakers in Washington supporting the truckers and calling for an investigation into GoFundMe’s decision on Feb. 4 to pull a donation page supporting the Freedom Convoy, PYMNTS reported. The page was withdrawn before Canada’s Emergency Act was invoked on Monday (Feb. 14).
Read more: Capitol Hill Lawmakers Threaten to Probe GoFundMe After Trucker Fundraiser Shuttered
Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), one of Canada’s biggest and oldest financial institutions, on Saturday (Feb. 12) froze two personal bank accounts totaling $1.4 million CAD ($1 million). The funds were allegedly going to be used to support the protesters.
Under the Emergencies Act, police are empowered to impose fines, imprison protesters, and tow away vehicles blocking roads. The government is also empowered to designate, secure and protect locations and infrastructure that are vital to keeping the economy in Canada running, which include airports and border crossings.
The act also empowers financial institutions in the country to freeze or suspend both personal and business accounts suspected to be linked in any way to the protestors.
The Freedom Convoy demonstrations expanded beyond trucker vaccine mandates and into a full-blown protest over any pandemic restrictions, and even calling for the resignation of Trudeau.
See also: TD Bank Freezes 2 Bank Accounts Supporting Canadian Protests
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