– A federal court in Canada has ruled that an emergency law giving the government the power to stop the flow of funds and cryptocurrency to help protesting truck drivers is unjustified and unconstitutional.
In his January 23 ruling, Justice Richard Mosley concluded that “there is no national emergency justifying the application of the Emergency Act and the decision is therefore unreasonable.”
In February 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government first used these laws to freeze funds, including cryptocurrency, donated to truck drivers protesting COVID-19 regulations, which the court ruled unconstitutional.
The so-called “Freedom Convoy” used trucks to block the streets of the capital city of Ottowa to protest the mandatory COVID-19 full vaccination of truck drivers crossing the Canada-U.S. border.
At the time, the government said the protest was an illegal occupation and therefore the Emergency Act needed to be invoked.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), the Canadian Constitution Foundation and other organizations challenged the government’s decision, arguing that using the Emergency Act to freeze the flow of funds was unnecessary and unconstitutional.
After the ruling, the CCLA said it “sets a clear and meaningful precedent for all future governments.”
Mr. Mosley said the government “cannot resort to emergency laws because it is convenient or because they are more effective than other means,” arguing that emergency laws should be a last resort.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the government would appeal.
Cryptocurrencies played a major role in funding the 2022 trucker protests, with protesters estimated to have raised millions of dollars, though the exact amount remains unknown due to tracking issues with decentralized digital assets.
In February 2022, GoFundMe froze more than $9 million dollars raised for the protests. Organizers shifted their efforts to Tallycoin, a crowdfunding platform built on the bitcoin blockchain, and the HonkHonk Hodl group raised 22 bit coins (BTC) or more.
Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo also became a popular donation platform, raising more than $8 million for truck drivers, including an unspecified amount in cryptocurrency. However, Canadian authorities subsequently froze bank accounts associated with GiveSendGo donations.
At the time, cryptocurrency executives, including Kraken founder Jesse Powell, condemned Canada’s freezing of digital assets.