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The Federal Court of Canada Rejects the Emergency Law That Halted the Inflow of Crypto for Protesting Truckers

The Federal Court deems the emergency law unconstitutional 

The Federal Court of Canada has struck a significant blow to the government's authority in freezing assets during protests. On January 23, Justice Richard Mosley ruled that the use of an emergency law, enabling the Canadian government to halt the flow of funds, including cryptocurrencies, to truckers protesting COVID-19 mandates, was both unreasonable and unconstitutional. 

This ruling stems from the actions in February 2022, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's administration invoked this law for the first time, targeting donations made to the "Freedom Convoy" truckers. Their protest, which involved blocking streets in Ottawa over vaccination mandates for crossing the Canada-U.S. border, sparked a controversial government response now deemed overreaching by the court.

The Emergencies Act controversy explained 

The core of this legal challenge revolved around the government's interpretation of the Emergencies Act. Judge Mosley's decision pointedly stated:

"There was no national emergency justifying the invocation of the Emergencies Act and the decision to do so was therefore unreasonable." 

This significant ruling questions the government's claim that the protests constituted an illegal occupation requiring such extreme measures. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), alongside other groups, vehemently opposed this use of the emergency law, arguing it was not only unnecessary but also a breach of constitutional rights. 

Their stance, now vindicated by the court, sets a crucial precedent for future government actions, emphasizing the need for careful consideration before invoking such powerful legal tools.

The role of cryptocurrency in the “Freedom Convoy” protests

Cryptocurrency emerged as a pivotal element in the 2022 Freedom Convoy protests, underscoring its growing influence in social and political movements. Protesters, facing traditional fundraising roadblocks, turned to digital assets to support their cause. This shift to decentralized fundraising methods saw millions of dollars in crypto donations flow in, though the exact total remains elusive due to the inherent challenges in tracking these assets.

In a notable response to GoFundMe freezing over $9 million in protest donations, organizers pivoted to Tallycoin, a Bitcoin-based crowdfunding platform. There, the HonkHonk Hodl group successfully raised over 22 Bitcoin, valued at around $925,000 at the time. Additionally, GiveSendGo, a Christian crowdfunding site, played a significant role, amassing over $8 million for the truckers, including crypto donations. However, Canadian authorities later extended their freeze to bank accounts linked to these donations, further fueling the controversy.

Reaction and implications: Civil Liberties and government response

The court's decision has sparked a wide array of reactions, particularly emphasizing the balance between government authority and civil liberties. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association hailed the ruling as setting :

"a clear and critical precedent for every future government." 

This sentiment underscores the importance of judicial oversight in matters where government actions intersect with individual freedoms. On the flip side, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced the government's intention to appeal the ruling, indicating ongoing legal battles in this contentious area.

Cryptocurrency's role in the protests has also drawn attention, with figures like Kraken founder Jesse Powell criticizing Canada’s freeze of digital assets.