MPs vote to call on GoFundMe to testify before the Commons committee on the convoy protest

A parliamentary committee voted unanimously to call on officials from popular crowdfunding site GoFundMe to answer questions about a fundraiser that raised more than $10.1 million to support the anti-vaccine protest in Ottawa.

The motion, proposed by NDP MP Alistair MacGregor, calls on company officials to appear before the House of Commons Committee on Public Safety and National Security “as soon as possible”.

Liberal, Conservative and Bloc members of the committee joined MacGregor in voting to invite the company to testify.

The committee wants the company to answer questions about the measures in place to “ensure that the funds are not used to promote extremism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred, which have expressed among the main organizers of the truck convoy currently in the Outaouais.”

The committee also wants the company to explain how it prevents anonymous donations and money from abroad from funding extremist groups, and what it is doing to ensure that money already donated to the protest does not is not used to promote extremist views and activities.

An amendment proposed by Liberal MP Taleeb Noormohamed calls on officials from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Canada (FINTRAC) – Canada’s money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog – to also appear before the committee.

New Democrat MP Alistair MacGregor stands during Question Period on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, February 17, 2017. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

“There are real questions about transparency given that the fund is now over $10 million, many donors are anonymous, and many donors are in places outside the jurisdiction of Canada,” MacGregor told CBC News.

A CBC News analysis of donations last week found that at least a third of donors to the “Freedom Convoy 2022” fundraising campaign on GoFundMe were listed as anonymous or used made-up names. In the comments section, a number of donors said they were located in other countries, such as the US, UK, Australia, or Poland.

The committee’s decision comes a day after GoFundMe suspended the convoy protest’s fundraising campaign, saying it had its own questions about how the money was going to be used that organizers had yet to answer. answered.

Trucks park in front of Parliament Hill to protest against COVID-19 rules across Canada on February 2, 2022. (Christian Milette/Radio-Canada)

Before the company suspended the campaign, it had raised more than $10.1 million from more than 120,000 donors.

Meanwhile, some convoy protest fundraiser donors posted on social media that GoFundMe told them their donations were being refunded.

In a statement on Thursday, GoFundMe declined to answer any questions regarding refunds. He has not yet reacted publicly to the commission which called him to testify.

At a press conference held Thursday by protest organizers, Keith Wilson of the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms said the convoy protest had taken steps to incorporate and officially open bank accounts.

GoFundMe said $1 million of the money raised went to organizers. Wilson said lawyers and accountants working with organizers are working on a process to reimburse protest participants once GoFundMe releases the rest of the money.

Later….

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