The astronomical sums raised in “Freedom Convoy” donations, nearly a quarter of which came from the United States, stunned the organizer of one of the fundraising campaigns.
• Read more: “Freedom Convoy”: Police leaks benefit protesters
A detailed picture of the money donated to protesters who paralyzed Ottawa for three weeks last winter was released Thursday as part of a commission of inquiry into ’emergency’ measures.
One of the main organizers, Tamara Lich, received a $1 million deposit from GoFundMe on February 2, according to commission attorney Daniel Shepherd.
His account was related to a campaign that had raised more than $10 million before being suspended.
She couldn’t believe it
Overall, M.me Leach had more than $1.4 million in her bank account, but she was only able to use $26,000.
The recovered money was mainly used to buy gasoline for the trucks that crippled Ottawa.
“I couldn’t believe it. We didn’t see it coming,” he said during his testimony about the sums raised by the event.
Overall, this money was partly deposited into the personal accounts of the organizers, but also into an organization established in an emergency to manage the collected funds.
However, due to court orders, most of the money could not be used by protesters and organizers.
“It was very exciting, but I felt more and more worried, when you have that amount of money, lawyers get involved, and here we are,” said Ms.me Leach, originally from Alberta.
The suspension of the first campaign did not slow down the movement, as millions of donations continued to pour in through other platforms, especially thanks to American donors.
Two campaigns on the GiveSendGo platform raised more than $10 million, of which $4.8 million came from the United States.
In total, about $5.7 million of the $24 million raised by the convoy was donated by Americans, according to the commission’s investigation.
A fourth fundraiser launched by an Ottawa resident, this time in the form of bitcoins, raised another million in the form of this cryptocurrency, lawyer Daniel Shepherd revealed.
About 100 truckers parked downtown each received an envelope containing instructions on how to access some of this money via their mobile phones during the occupation.
Two other organizers, Benjamin Dichter and James Potter, also testified Thursday. The latter had already organized small convoys to demonstrate in recent years.
In response to a lawyer representing Ottawa residents and businesses affected by weeks of protests, he acknowledged Thursday that he had to do “something big” by occupying the campus to hold the protest this time.
“Food trailblazer. Passionate troublemaker. Coffee fanatic. General analyst. Certified creator. Lifelong music expert. Alcohol specialist.”