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Narrative for Invoking Emergencies Act on Convoy Protests ‘Faulty’ as CBC Retracts Second Story

By Noé Chartier March 16, 2022

With Canada’s public broadcaster CBC retracting a second story about the Freedom Convoy, Conservative MP and party leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis says the government should also make amends about invoking the Emergencies Act.

“With even the CBC now admitting that some of their main narratives about the convoy and who was behind it were false, the government should admit the reasoning behind the emergencies act was also faulty and the freezing of Canadians funds was illegitimate,” Lewis tweeted on March 15.

CBC erroneously claimed in late January that Russia could be backing the protest movement, which it later corrected. This week, the broadcaster retracted a second story concerning foreign influence that claimed a Freedom Convoy fundraiser was shut down due to the suspicious nature of its donations.

“On February 10 in a report about the protest convoy CBC Radio’s The World This Hour incorrectly said GoFundMe ended a fundraiser for the protesters over questionable donations to the group,” said CBC in a statement reported by Blacklock’s Reporter.

CBC has run a number of stories on the protest movement’s fundraising, including an exclusive analysis based on hacked material from the GiveSendGo platform. The reporting was used by the federal government in part to justify invoking the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14 to clear cross-country protests and blockades.

In the government’s “Section 58” report explaining why the act was invoked, it cites CBC’s article on the GiveSendGo hack to make the case the movement was heavily foreign-funded.

But the funds collected by GiveSendGo were frozen by an Ontario court on Feb. 10, four days before the act was invoked, and never made it to the recipients.

GiveSendGo’s co-founder Jacob Wells told the House of Commons Public Safety Committee on March 3 that roughly 60 percent of donations to the platform came from Canada and 37 percent from the United States.

The convoy’s previous fundraiser through GoFundMe, which had released $1 million to the recipients before shutting down over claims of breach of terms of service, was largely Canadian-driven.

GoFundMe’s president Juan Benitez told the same committee that 88 percent of donations on his platform to the Freedom Convoy fundraiser originated in Canada.

Several federal ministers and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh had claimed the Freedom Convoy was a foreign-funded enterprise to undermine the state.

Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair described it last month as a “largely foreign-funded, targeted and coordinated attack” on Canada’s democracy.

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