GoFundMe said it shut down the Freedom Convoy’s fundraising page because the office of the mayor told executives that the protesters were committing “violent” acts, according to testimony during a House of Commons public safety committee hearing last week.
The admission raises the alarm on the issue of how the mere accusation of violence is enough to get speech shut down.
During the hearing, GoFundMe lawyer Kim Wilford said that the company had “reached out” to Ottawa’s mayor Jim Watson’s office about the Freedom Convoy.
The mayor’s office told GoFundMe that there were “reports of harassment, violence, damage occurring.”
“Based on this credible information we made informed decisions that this campaign no longer complied with our terms of service and we removed it from the platform,” Wilford said.
However, most of the 197 arrested protesters have been charged with mischief. The two people who were arrested for uttering threats and carrying a concealed weapon were not part of the actual convoy, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
Watson’s office claimed that before meeting with GoFundMe, on Feb. 3, fights had already broken out, residents were being harassed and masks were being ripped off citizens.”
CPC MP Doug Shipley said during the hearing, that all MPs were “given briefings” about the protests, but “nowhere ever did I see in any of the reports shared that there was violence, threatening behavior and damage and destruction.”
Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, Marco Mendicino, countered by claiming that the lack of criminal charges “doesn’t mean it [violence] did not happen.”