More than 570 ‘Freedom Convoy’ donations linked to Hamilton

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By Nathan Sager

Published February 18, 2022 at 12:27 pm

Despite declarations from the ‘freedom convoy,’ a new McMaster University-involved study suggests the majority of Canadians support most of the mandates and lockdowns. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

More than 550 people in Hamilton have donated a total of nearly $72,000 to the anti-public health measures and anti-government “Freedom Convoy” demonstrations, according to information brought to light by a transparency group.

InTheHammer has viewed two donor lists gleaned from data hacked from U.S.-based Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo that include Hamilton postal codes. The data was reportedly provided to media and activists by Distributed Denial of Secrets, a group with a history of obtaining leaked information from right-wing organizations.

The GiveSendGo campaign sprung up on Feb. 5 after the initial GoFundMe campaign was shut down by the company after it determined the convoy was more of an occupation of Ottawa than a straightforward protest. Some demonstrators on Parliament Hill on Jan. 29, the first full day of protest, also displayed Nazi and Confederate flags.

Some of the convoy organizers, including Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, are now in police custody.

There are 571 donations to GiveSendGo connected to Hamilton postal codes, totaling $71,971 (officially, U.S.$56,591). Some donors are listed more than once.

The largest donation, made by four different individuals, was $1,000 (U.S.). The smallest was $5. The average donation size was $99.11.

By comparison, in nearby Waterloo, which has almost the same population as Hamilton, there have been fewer donations, but for more money.

There are 538 donations linked to Waterloo area postal codes for a total of $73,762 (U.S.$58,000), the Waterloo Region Record reported.

General COVID-19 protections for congregate settings such as schools, businesses and workplaces are set by provincial governments. The federal government only has jurisdiction to create rules for federal employees, or in settings such as ports of entry such as border crossings and international airports.

But some of the online commentary among Hamilton convoy donors was directed at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Ontario Premier Doug Ford was not mentioned.

Here’s a sampling of online comments from donors:

  • “One of the most worthwhile causes in the world right now, literally fighting for our human rights against a tyrannical government. I wish I had a truck and could be there myself. I hope this helps!”
  • “The time has long past for us to have our freedoms restored!”
  • “Take gofundme down, now I double my contribution!”
  • “Doubling our original GoFundMe donation. They can double their efforts, and so will we. Thank you Truckers for uniting Canadians! God bless you! God is with us!”
  • “With his tyrannical intolerance and GoFundMe’s state-dictated fraud, Mr. Trudeau has effectively energized and organized us. F- at diplomacy, Mr. Prime Minister?”
  • “(Trudeau) passes a Bill C4 Conversion Therapy which truly supposedly affects a fringe group but refuses to give FREEDOM to the people of a large industry. He admits this.” (Editor’s note: no trucking industry association endorsed the convoy, and professional truck drivers’ vaccination uptake is in line with the general population)
  • “I visited Ottawa on Tuesday/Wednesday and am so proud of the way you guys have handled this protest! Thank you!”
  • “Once you understand that Justin Castro is but a puppet of his radical-left handlers, and that they want to destroy our successful Canadian culture, everything he does will make perfect sense…”
  • “For those of us who cannot be with you, we’re asking Jesus to intervene…. and he will.”

Before it was shut down, the original GoFundMe fundraiser had raised over $10 million, which made it the second-largest Canada-focused campaign the company has ever had. It was surpassed only by the money raised for survivors and families of the victims of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in 2018, where 16 members of a Junior A hockey team were killed and another 13 were injured.

As a result, convoy organizers turned to the Christian fundraising website GiveSendGo. They had collected more than $10.7 million by the time the Ontario government obtained a court injunction last week to freeze the GiveSendGo campaign funds and prevent them from being distributed to convoy leaders. The freeze came in sync with Ford declaring a state of emergency in Ottawa on Feb. 11.

Following the freezing of funds, thousands of Canadians had their names, postal codes and email addresses leaked after hackers accessed GiveSendGo on Feb. 12-13. The names of nearly 93,000 people were listed in the leak.

On Monday, the federal government announced it would invoke the 34-year-old Emergencies Act for the first time in an effort to calm the situation in downtown Ottawa and at several border crossings.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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