Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency Friday in an effort to break up truckers protesting on the bridge between Canada and the United States.
The leader of Canada’s most populated province said he will enact orders making it illegal to block or interfere with the movement of goods, people or services with punishments including fines up to C$100,000 and up to a year in prison.
The new orders will cover border crossings, highways, airports, ports, bridges, railways and pedestrian walkways.
“There will be consequences for these actions, and they will be severe,” Ford said. “This is a pivotal moment for our nation. The eyes of the world are upon us right now and what they are seeing is not who we are.”
The move came after the Biden administration on Thursday told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to use federal powers to resolve the standoff by Canadians protesting against their government’s tyrannical COVID measures.
In a statement Friday, Trudeau told Canadians, “It’s time to go home. It’s time to bring your kids home from this protest. It’s now an illegal protest and the consequences on them and their families will be significant if they choose to continue with this illegal activity.”
A judge on Friday also ordered protesters at the Ambassador Bridge over the U.S.-Canadian border connecting Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit to end its blockade, which has been disrupting the flow of goods and services between the two countries since Monday.
The Freedom Convoy left Vancouver, British Columbia, on Jan. 23 and arrived Jan. 29 in Ottawa, where protesters said they will remain until the COVID vaccine mandates are lifted.
The convoy has been raising funds through the GiveSendGo website after GoFundMe refused to distribute millions of dollars raised to support the convoy — initially choosing to send the funds to charities of their choice and then allowing people to request a refund amid backlash.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Wednesday his office will investigate GoFundMe for blocking and withholding donations already made to the platform through its website, stating that the move may violate the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The truckers also raised nearly $900,000 in bitcoin after GoFundMe said it would not release donations raised through its platform.
GiveSendGo today said it will defy a Canadian court order mandating it stop distributing funds to convoy protesters. The company said in a statement on Twitter that Canada has “absolutely ZERO jurisdiction over how we manage our funds.”
A Superior Court of Justice in Ontario granted a restraining order requested by the Government of Ontario against the organization.
Ontario Attorney General spokesperson Brian Gray said the order prohibits, “any person from disposing of, or otherwise dealing with, in any manner whatsoever, any and all monetary donations made through the Freedom Convoy 2022 and Adopt-a-Trucker campaign pages on the GiveSendGo online fundraising platform.”