A GoFundMe spokesperson said money raised for a convoy of B.C. truckers heading to Ottawa to protest vaccine mandates will be “safely held” until the organizer presents a withdrawal plan.
“We are continuing to work directly with the organizer to gather information about how funds are being distributed,” the unsigned Tuesday statement said.
“This is part of our standard process to ensure the protection of all donors. Once a withdrawal plan is provided by the organizer, our team is on standby to safely and quickly deliver the funds.”
GoFundMe requires “that fundraisers be transparent about the flow of funds and have a clear plan for how those funds will be spent,” the spokesperson told the Langley Advance Times.
“In this case, we are in touch with the organizer to verify that information. Funds will be safely held until the organizer is able to provide the documentation to our team about how funds will be properly distributed.”
Hundreds gathered to cheer the convoy on when it passed through Langley and Aldergrove on Sunday.
As of Tuesday, the “Freedom Convoy” fundraiser had collected $4.6 million and one organizer was calling it the eighth most successful GoFundMe campaign in history.
On the GoFundMe page, organizers Tamara Lich and B.J. Dichter said the money raised “will be dispersed to our truckers to aid them with the cost of the journey.”
“Funds will be spent to help cover the cost of fuel for our truckers first and foremost, [and] will be used to assist with food if needed and contribute to shelter if needed.”
It was originally billed as a protest against new Canadian and U.S. regulations requiring all cross-border truckers to be vaccinated, but the fundraising page appears to go further, calling for a blanket lifting of pandemic restrictions, saying “we are taking our fight to the doorsteps of our Federal Government and demanding that they cease all mandates against its people. Small businesses are being destroyed, homes are being destroyed, and people are being mistreated and denied fundamental necessities to survive.”
Lich is a member of the western Canadian governing council of the Alberta-based Maverick Party, which has supported separation from Canada by the western provinces and creation of a “western nation.”
On Monday, the party issued a statement saying it was not “directly involved” with the convoy.
In response to follow-up queries, party spokesperson Leah Murray said Lich was “volunteering as an individual, completely separate from [the] Maverick Party.”
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