A blacklist of 201 trucking companies that took part in the Freedom Convoy protest early this year was distributed by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office in February, records show.
“Please find attached an excel sheet detailing which companies whose trucks are participating in Ottawa convoy demonstrations,” wrote an unidentified staffer in an email distributed from Freeland’s office, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
“A total of 45 companies whose trucks are in Ottawa have accessed the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy out of a total of 201 companies whose trucks are publicly known as being in Ottawa. Three of the companies with trucks in Ottawa are U.S.-based companies.”
The blacklist was distributed on Feb. 14—the day the Liberal government invoked the Emergencies Act, using it as a means to quash protests opposing COVID-19 mandates and restrictions by truckers and their supporters in Ottawa and across the country.
Financial measures under the act also gave banks and other financial service providers the power to freeze the accounts of individuals and corporations involved in the movement without a court order.
“In doing so, [the financial institutions] will be protected against civil liability for actions taken in good faith,” said Freeland at a press conference after the act was invoked that day.
Commenting on the trucking firms, she said the government will not hesitate to enforce the financial measures against them should their trucks be found participating in the convoy protest.
“Your corporate accounts will be frozen,” the finance minister said. “The insurance on your vehicle will be suspended.”
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the censored staff email did not identify the source of the trucker’s blacklist. In September, the media outlet reported that the RCMP shared a blacklist of convoy sympathizers with securities regulators nationwide.
Other internal records obtained by the media outlet indicate that Freeland had also proposed to cabinet that depositors whose accounts were frozen be required to first report to police before they could access their funds.
“Minister of Finance reported on a conversation she had with chief executive officers at the major banks,” said minutes of a Feb. 21 cabinet meeting.
“Banks were pleased that the government was working on a plan that would see individuals with their bank accounts frozen report to police prior to the bank to have their accounts unfrozen.”
The proposal was never brought into force. The invocation of the Emergencies Act did see at least 206 bank accounts totalling $7.8 million frozen under the provisions of the act, according to Isabelle Jacques, assistant deputy minister of finance, when she testified before the Standing Committee on Finance on Feb. 22.