The Canadians who have cut off trade with the United States and occupied the city of Ottawa for nearly three weeks have been praised and funded by American right-wing and conservative politicians who oppose vaccination orders.
However, despite the impact of opposition to the government of the Canadian community and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, experts say external support is actually infusing power into the conservative politics of the United States.
As the US presidential midterm elections approach, some Republicans believe that supporting the opposition in their northern neighborhood will increase fundraising and increase voter turnout at home.
“The kind of descriptions that truckers and truck convoys focus on will be the biggest issues for the upcoming (US) election,” said Samantha Bradshaw, a graduate of the Civil Society’s Digital Civil Society Lab. Stanford University.
“So if they use this opposition as an opportunity to push their own supporters and other groups, I think this is a great opportunity for them,” he added.
On Wednesday afternoon, all previously blocked border crossings were reopened, and police began to focus on forcing truckers and other protesters in Ottawa to leave the capital or make arrests, fines and confiscate their vehicles.
According to the Associated Press’s analysis of the leaked files, 44% of the nearly $ 10 million in donations to the campaign in support of the opposition came from American donors.
Many Republican officials in the United States hailed Canadian opponents as “soldiers” and “patriots”, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Georgia’s Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green.
Fox News editor Sean Hannity told two protest organizers on his Wednesday program: “You have a lot of support from your friends in the United States. I can assure you. “He added:” We have a movement in the United States, and it will begin very soon. “
Earlier in the week, Bill Blair, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, had a very different view: “This country is often confronted with a concerted attack on foreign funding and vital infrastructure.” And our democratic institutions.
Protesters in Ottawa continue to be provided with fuel and food, and at times the area around Parliament Hill looks like a festival, with bouncy castles, gymnasiums, a children’s play area and a concert stage with disc jockeys.
GiveSendGo, a website used to raise funds for the Canadian cause, has raised at least $ 9.58 million, or $ 4.2 million, or 44%, in the United States, according to a database of donor information published online by the non-profit organization DDoSecrets.
However, the Canadian government is trying to block the protesters’ access to these funds and it is not clear how much money eventually went into their hands.
Millions of dollars raised by another fundraising site, GoFundMe, were blocked after Canadian officials complained to the company that the campaign was found to be violating its terms of service in relation to activities that were considered illegal.
The GiveSendGo database, analyzed by AP, showed more than 109,000 donations to pro-demonstration campaigns as of Friday night, with less than 62,000 coming from the United States.
GiveSendGo data identifies many Americans who have donated thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to protests in Canada. The largest single donation was $ 90,000 and Thomas M. Came from someone who identified himself as Siebel.
Siebel, the billionaire founder of the software company Siebel Systems, did not immediately respond to messages sent by the AP to an email linked to the trust he runs and his LinkedIn account.
A representative of the Siebel Scholars Foundation, who signed only as Jennifer, did not answer questions about whether the billionaire donated the money. However, he acknowledged that Seaball had a history of supporting various causes, such as efforts to “protect individual liberty.”
“These are personal initiatives and have nothing to do with the companies you are associated with,” he wrote.
According to US Federal Electoral Commission (FEC) records, Siebel has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican organizations and candidates over the past 20 years, including a $ 400,000 contribution to the GOP fundraising group “Take Back the House 2020” in 2019.
The GiveSendGo Freedom Convoy campaign was created on January 27 by Tamara Licht. Previously, he was a member of the far-right Maverick Party, which called for the independence of Western Canada.
The Canadian government took action earlier this week to cut funding for protesters, expanding the scope of the country’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism funding rules, including funding sites for crowds such as GiveSendGo.
“We are making these changes because these sites are being used in support of sanctions and illegal activities, which is affecting the Canadian economy,” said Canadian Finance Minister Christiaan Freeland.
More important than financial sponsorship is the support that Canadian opponents have received from leading politicians and conservative American pundits who see relatives opposing compulsory vaccination orders in their neighboring north.
On the same day that Lich Kievsentko created the campaign, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn shared the convoy video in a post on the Telegram Processor.
“These truckers are fighting against stupidity and tyranny, especially from the Canadian government,” wrote Flynn, former head of the Security Intelligence Service, who briefly served as former President Donald Trump’s national security adviser.
A few days later, Flynn urged people to donate to the Canadian opposition. Earlier this week, he twice posted “#TrudeauTheCoward” in the Telegram, referring to the Prime Minister of Canada’s Liberal Party as a “coward”.
Fox News editors continue to applaud the protests, and Trump has spoken out against Trudeau, calling him an “extreme left madman” who “destroyed Canada by frantic COVID orders”. Cruise called the trucks “heroes” and “patriots” and said he did not want to wait any longer to see similar protests in Washington.
In an interview with the Daily Signal, a news website of the Conservative organization Heritage Foundation, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, expressed hope that the trucks would come to the United States and “close the cities.”
Far-right and anti-vaccine activists, inspired by Canadian action, are now planning US versions of the struggles against the Govt-19 decrees and restrictions inspired by Canadian demonstrations.
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