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Federal Court of Canada Rules Emergency Crypto Law Used Against Truckers Unconstitutional

The Federal Court of Canada has delivered a significant ruling, deeming an emergency law utilized by the Canadian government to halt the flow of funds and cryptocurrency to protesting truckers as unreasonable and unconstitutional.

On January 23rd, Justice Richard Mosley unequivocally asserted, “There was no national emergency justifying the invocation of the Emergencies Act, and the decision to do so was therefore unreasonable.”

In February 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration deployed the law for the first time to freeze funds, including cryptocurrencies, donated to truckers who were protesting COVID-19 restrictions. The court found this action to be in violation of the constitution.

These protesters, part of the “Freedom Convoy,” had used their trucks to block streets in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, in opposition to a mandate requiring truck drivers crossing the Canada-United States border to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The government had argued that invoking the Emergencies Act was essential due to the protests being deemed an illegal occupation.

Various organizations, including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and the Canadian Constitution Foundation, challenged the government’s use of this emergency law to freeze funds, contending that it was unnecessary and unconstitutional.

The CCLA hailed the decision as a “clear and critical precedent for every future government.”

Justice Mosley emphasized that the Emergencies Act should only be invoked as a last resort, stating, “The government cannot invoke the Emergencies Act because it is convenient, or because it may work better than other tools at their disposal or available to the provinces.”

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced the government’s intention to appeal the ruling.

Cryptocurrency played a pivotal role in financing the 2022 trucker protests, with protesters believed to have received millions of dollars.

However, the exact amount raised remained unclear due to the challenges associated with tracking decentralized digital assets.

In response to the freezing of funds, organizers moved their efforts to platforms like Tallycoin, a crowdfunding platform built on the Bitcoin blockchain, and the Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo.

These platforms collectively raised substantial sums, including unspecified amounts in cryptocurrency. Nevertheless, Canadian authorities also took measures to freeze bank accounts associated with GiveSendGo donations.

At the time, leaders in the cryptocurrency industry, including Jesse Powell, the founder of Kraken, voiced their condemnation of Canada’s freeze on digital assets.

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