The story of Canada’s unprecedented decision to deprive participants in a civil protest of basic needs by cutting them off from their bank accounts is, for the government, “a gift that keeps on giving.”
Not only were bank accounts of those participating in the anti-Covid mandates trucker protest, “Freedom Convoy,” frozen as a maneuver to quash societal and political dissent – they will now reportedly face permanent consequences and be “flagged for life.”
This transpires from the statements regarding the controversy made by a representative of the Canadian Bankers Association this week. Specifically, the association’s General Counsel and VP Angelina Mason was quizzed by Canadian MPs, members of the parliament’s financial committee, Blacklocks writes.
When Conservative MP Adam Chambers asked whether any “permanent markers” remained once an account is blocked and unblocked in such a way, Mason is quoted as replying, “There would be something in the file indicating a freeze had taken place.”
The freezing of bank accounts as a way to prevent truckers from expressing their stance on things such as lockdowns and vaccine passports was carried out using the country’s Emergencies Act, while the extraordinary powers given to the authorities have since been revoked.
The Emergencies Act replaced Canada’s War Measures Act in 1988.
But the consequences that protesters and their families will be facing apparently have no expiration date, as “permanent markers” remain attached to their accounts. At this point it’s unclear what exact consequences that may have for them. It certainly appears like an effective suppression and intimidation tactic in dealing with protests – but one that many say is greatly and worryingly at odds with a purported democracy.
Another piece of information that emerged from the committee hearing is that while the banks acted on a list of citizens given to them, they went even further, freezing a number of accounts that did not appear on this list. Mason’s statements suggest that the banks did some “policing” of their own, and opted for the move based on their own “risk assessment.”
The Canadian Bankers Association referred to the number of those its member-banks targeted in this way as “small.”