Desjardins Group managers sent an email to the RCMP on Feb. 19 disclosing deposit amounts used to pay credit card bills of several of its customers that it believed were spending to support the convoy protesters, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
“The money is used to pay some bills regarding marketing like signs and paper for the (protest),” managers wrote in the email. “We are waiting for more instructions in regards of the above.”
Desjardins specifically named a couple who deposited $20,000.
‘The couple received around 20k from several persons. They used the money for personal transactions and to pay credit card bills,” the email reads.
Desjardins also reported customers who withdrew cash and made “suspicious” gas purchases in the Ottawa area. It also tracked customers withdrawing funds “in regards to the Ottawa convoy to pay some bills like hotels.”
The email was sent five days after cabinet invoked the Emergencies Act, granting police the means to use extraordinary force to clear protesters from downtown Ottawa and also granting financial institutions the power to freeze bank accounts of individuals suspected by police of supporting the Freedom Convoy.
RCMP officials told the House of Commons finance committee in March that over 250 accounts had been frozen by financial institutions during the nine-day span between Feb. 14 and Feb. 23 that the Emergencies Act was in effect. The accounts were reportedly unfrozen after cabinet revoked the act.
A number of personal details of donors to the Freedom Convoy was reported by police to financial institutions, according to an RCMP response to an Inquiry of Ministry filed by Conservative MP Adam Chambers in June.
Chambers filed the inquiry to receive details from police about how they identified noteworthy convoy donors to report to financial institutions.
The RCMP responded on June 14, saying they informed institutions of the names, addresses, birth dates, businesses, phone numbers, and type of vehicles of individuals suspected of supporting the convoy, along with other information.
On Feb. 22, assistant deputy Finance Minister Isabelle Jacques told the Commons finance committee that it was “not impossible” that an individual donating as little as $20 to the convoy could be reported by police—something Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland denied a day earlier.
“The RCMP has given to the financial institutions names of leaders and organizers of the protests and of people whose trucks were part of occupations and blockades. That is the only information given, according to the RCMP, that the RCMP has given to financial institutions,” Freeland said on Feb. 21.
The same day, cabinet had considered in a closed meeting whether convoy donors with frozen accounts should be required to report to the police before being allowed access to their frozen funds.
“Banks were pleased that the government was working on a plan that would see individuals with their bank accounts frozen report to police prior to the bank to have their accounts unfrozen,” read minutes from the the Feb. 21 meeting.
Noé Chartier contributed to this report.