Texts between staff at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) indicate there was pressure on banks to seize Freedom Convoy assets as early as Feb 7, 2022.
The Liberals invoked the Emergencies Act (EA) one week later to allow the warrantless seizure of bank accounts and assets of people who supported the Freedom Convoy to Ottawa, a weeks-long, trucker-led peaceful protest in Ottawa against COVID-19 mandates.
The text exchange entered into evidence at the Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC) occurred between Ben Chin and Tyler Meredith, both senior advisers in the PMO as those closest to Trudeau struggled to get a handle on the public relations disaster the convoy was causing for the Liberals and the damage to Trudeau's international reputation.
According to the texts, the Liberals were encouraging financial institutions to go after convoy supporting or participating customers:
But we are talking with banks and insurance companies about how they can act on their own and what helpful signals we might able to send
Canadian banks and insurers, however, resisted acting against their customers for political reasons:
One thing I should add- from what we hear most of the big banks are actually doing a lot of work already within the terms and conditions of existing account agreements to manage flow of funds if they suspect someone or something. That's an angle we are looking at
The POEC was tasked with the feds' use of the EA to end the peaceful Freedom Convoy by giving police and authorities extraordinary powers normally invoked in times of war or terror attacks.
Commissioner Paul Rouleau ruled the use of the counter-terrorism law was justified to deal with the bouncy castles and street parties in the nation's capital.