A year ago, Canada’s Freedom Convoy transformed the capital city of Ottawa into a sprawling and boisterous truck stop for three weeks. All of that came to an end when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began to target the protesters by denying them access to banking—a measure that would soon be adopted in other countries as part of a new and invasive form of social control.
Trudeau’s measures, carried out under Canada’s Emergencies Act, were far more sweeping than initially believed: Not only personal bank accounts, but insurance policies, investments, and business activities of anyone targeted by the government were suspended. The effects have also extended well beyond those directly involved in the protests. For instance, in testimony before the Public Order Emergency Commission, or POEC, the inquiry that took place after the act was invoked, convoy organizer Chris Barber related how the drivers for his small trucking firm were calling him from around the United States and Canada informing him that their company fuel cards were being rejected.
Although this was widely understood to be a temporary measure, Trudeau and his finance and deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland, made it clear early on that some of the powers would be made permanent. Perhaps the most alarming illustration of the continued effects of the Emergencies Act is the case of Jeremy Mackenzie, a Canadian Armed Forces veteran who hosts the abrasive underground podcast “Raging Dissident.”