Scotiabank issued the apology to Benjamin Dichter, whose bank account was frozen during the month-long protests that began in late January. Scotiabank and other lenders acted after, under Trudeau, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland ordered banks to stop providing services to protesters.
“Please accept our sincere apologies for the frustration and inconvenience this situation may have caused,” the bank said in a March letter to Dichter only now being reported by the National Telegraph. “We can confirm that financial institutions acted quickly to unfreeze accounts after the RCMP notified us that it believes that individuals and entities previously identified are no longer engaged in conduct or activities prohibited under the Emergency Measures Regulations.”
— Dr Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) May 31, 2022
The protests, in which truckers from all over the country converged on Ottawa to protest mandatory vaccinations, brought the nation’s capital to a standstill. An enraged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau baselessly called the protesters racists and “transphobic” before instructing Freehand to invoke Canada’s Emergency Act to punish protesters and those who donated to their cause. Millions of dollars raised on behalf of the protesters through crowdfunding sites GoFundMe and GiveSendGo were blocked from being distributed to the demonstrators.
Hundreds of Canadians had their bank accounts frozen for either taking part in or supporting the protests. Banks began to unfreeze accounts in late February, according to The New York Times. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police provided banks with lists of Canadians whose accounts the government wanted to be frozen.
“We primarily relied on the names provided by the RCMP,” Canadian Bankers Association General Counsel Angelina Mason told Parliament in March. “But there were obligations under the order, separate from that, that required banks to make their own determinations.”
The letter to Dichter, which was dated March 3 but only revealed this week, is apparently a reply to an inquiry he lodged in February. Dichter said he doesn’t hold the banks completely responsible.
“I don’t believe the banks went out of their way to target clients,” he told Canadian radio host Marc Patrone. “I believe It came from somewhere else. They didn’t do it on their own accord.”
“My interpretation of their response is, ‘we do not want to do this,'” he added. “As soon as they allowed us to, give you access to your account, we did so immediately. It wasn’t our choice.”
Despite the backlash against Trudeau, his Liberal Party reached a deal in March with the leftist opposition New Democratic Party that keeps the Liberal Party in power until at least 2025.
“This should really bring the @justintrudeau government down,” tweeted frequent Trudeau critic Jordan Peterson. “But it won’t.”