OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Christian-themed crowdfunding site GiveSendGo sent a fiery response to the Canadian government after they froze millions of dollars collected on behalf of truck drivers protesting pandemic mandates.
“Know this! Canada has absolutely ZERO jurisdiction over how we manage our funds here at GiveSendGo,” the company noted on Twitter. “All funds for EVERY campaign on GiveSendGo flow directly to the recipients of those campaigns, not least of which is The Freedom Convoy campaign.”
Know this! Canada has absolutely ZERO jurisdiction over how we manage our funds here at GiveSendGo. All funds for EVERY campaign on GiveSendGo flow directly to the recipients of those campaigns, not least of which is The Freedom Convoy campaign.
— GiveSendGo (@GiveSendGo) February 11, 2022
Delaware-based GiveSendGo is not principally subject to Canadian legal jurisdiction but the company was nevertheless responding to legal moves made by a Canadian court and province earlier Thursday.
BREAKING: The Ontario government says it has effectively frozen all donations made to the trucker convoy through GiveSendGo. It is now a criminal offence to have any "dealing" with money from donations through this platform. pic.twitter.com/EhWWqe1V6J
— Andrew Lawton (@AndrewLawton) February 10, 2022
“The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has granted a request from the provincial government to freeze access to millions of dollars donated through online fundraising platform GiveSendGo to the truckers’ convoy protesting COVID-19 restrictions in Ottawa and at several border crossings,” the CBC reported.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford, where the Canadian capital of Ottawa is located — site of the main trucker protest — announced earlier in the day:
Today, the Attorney General brought an application in the Superior Court of Justice for an order pursuant to section 490.8 of the Criminal Code prohibiting any person from disposing of, or otherwise dealing with, in any manner whatsoever, any and all monetary donations made through the Freedom Convoy 2022 and Adopt-a-Trucker campaign pages on the GiveSend Go online fundraising platform.
“This afternoon, the order was issued,” the premier said. “It binds any and all parties with possession or control over these donations.”
Donations to the truckers via GiveSendGo had topped $8.4 million by the time the Canadian government moved to block the distribution of the funds.
The actions against the Christian-themed crowdfunding platform come on the heels of the Canadian government moving against another platform, GoFundMe, through which donors to the protesting drivers had reached $10 million.
On the Canadian government’s word that the protest in Ottawa against COVID vaccine mandate for truckers had turned violent, GoFundMe blocked the distribution of those funds and initially stated it would donate them to charities of the platform’s choice. But the company reversed that decision after a widespread uproar and said it would return donations to individuals who made them instead.
Nevertheless, the entire episode has upset Republican political leaders in the U.S.
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, for instance, has vowed to launch an investigation into GoFundMe over its actions, as have other GOP governors.
“It is a fraud for @gofundme to commandeer $9M in donations sent to support truckers and give it to causes of their own choosing. I will work with @AGAshleyMoody to investigate these deceptive practices — these donors should be given a refund,” he said on Twitter.
It is a fraud for @gofundme to commandeer $9M in donations sent to support truckers and give it to causes of their own choosing.
I will work with @AGAshleyMoody to investigate these deceptive practices — these donors should be given a refund.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) February 5, 2022
Jeff Landry, the general in Louisiana, also vowed to investigate the company.
“I share the concerns of @WestVirginiaAG. My office will be looking into whether or not #GoFundMe violated our state law. If you are a Louisiana donor to the #FreedomConvoy, please contact my #ConsumerProtection Section!” he said.
In addition, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has asked the Federal Trade Commission to look into GoFundMe’s actions as well.
“Today I sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking that the FTC open an investigation into GoFundMe into whether they’ve committed deceptive trade practices,” Cruz told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo last week.
“Because when people gave money, they gave money under the promise it would go to the Freedom Convoy, not to whatever left-wing political ideology GoFundMe and other Silicon Valley companies support. They are deceiving consumers and it is wrong,” Cruz added.