[Rushtalk] How American right-wing funding for Canadian trucker protests could sway U.S. politics

Carl Spitzer {C Juno} cwsiv at juno.com
Mon Mar 7 08:38:40 MST 2022


I think we own them thanks for helping us get off our butts and do it
for ourselves.
Sadly it did take a month longer but finally we have shown the
Washington crowd no more.
CWSIV


How American right-wing funding for Canadian trucker protests could sway
U.S. politics

World Feb 17, 2022  
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Canadians who have disrupted travel and trade with
the U.S. and occupied downtown Ottawa for nearly three weeks have been
cheered and funded by American right-wing activists and conservative
politicians who also oppose vaccine mandates and the country’s liberal
leader.

Yet whatever impact the protests have on Canadian society and the
government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, experts say the outside
support is really aimed at energizing conservative politics in the U.S.
Midterm elections are looming, and some Republicans think standing with
the protesters up north will galvanize fund-raising and voter turnout at
home, these experts say.

READ MORE: Ottawa police chief resigns as trucker protests paralyze
Canada’s capital

“The kind of narratives that the truckers and the trucker convoy are
focusing on are going to be really important issues for the (U.S.)
elections coming ahead,” said Samantha Bradshaw, a postdoctoral fellow
at the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University. “And so using
this protest as an opportunity to galvanize their own supporters and
other groups, I think it’s very much an opportunity for them.”

Police poured into downtown Ottawa on Thursday, and work crews erected
fences around Parliament, in what protesters feared was a prelude to a
crackdown.

About 44 percent of the nearly $10 million in contributions to support
the protesters originated from U.S. donors, according to an Associated
Press analysis of leaked donor files. U.S. Republican elected officials,
including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene,
have praised the protesters calling them “heroes” and “patriots.”

Fox News host Sean Hannity told two protest organizers on his show on
Wednesday that “you do have a lot of support from your friends in
America. That I can tell you.” He added: “We have a movement in America
that’s starting very soon.”

Trudeau and other senior Canadian officials have been sharply critical
of the financial support coming from other countries.

“What this country is facing is a largely foreign-funded, targeted and
coordinated attack on critical infrastructure and our democratic
institutions,” Bill Blair, Canada’s minister of public safety and
emergency preparedness, said earlier this week.

Ian Reifowitz, professor of historical studies at the State University
of New York, called the protests a “gift” for Republicans in the U.S.,
and he predicted they’ll use the populist appeal of the demonstrations
to raise money ahead of the midterm elections in November.

“They constantly need fresh outrages,” said Reifowitz, the author of
“The Tribalization of Politics: How Rush Limbaugh’s Race-Baiting
Rhetoric on the Obama Presidency Paved the Way for Trump.”

“It’s a terrific (issue) eight or nine months before the election for
them,” he said. “It allows you to bank money, bank volunteers and
energize the base, which is what you want to do.”

Demonstrators in Ottawa have been regularly supplied with fuel and food,
and the area around Parliament Hill has at times resembled a spectacular
carnival with bouncy castles, gyms, a playground and a concert stage
with DJs.

GiveSendGo, a website used to collect donations for the Canadian
protests, has collected at least $9.58 million dollars, including $4.2
million, or 44%, that originated in the United States, according to a
database of donor information posted online by DDoSecrets, a non-profit
group.

READ MORE: Truckers, demonstrators paralyze Canada’s capital over COVID
mandates

The Canadian government has been working to block protesters’ access to
these funds, however, and it is not clear how much of the money has
ultimately gotten through.

Millions of dollars raised through another crowdfunding site, GoFundMe,
were blocked after Canadian officials raised objections with the
company, which determined that the effort violated its terms of service
around unlawful activity.

The GiveSendGo database analyzed by AP showed more than 109,000
donations through Friday night to campaigns in support of the protests,
with a little under 62,000 coming from the U.S.

The GiveSendGo data listed several Americans as giving thousands or tens
of thousands of dollars to the protest, with the largest single donation
of $90,000 coming from a person who identified himself as Thomas M.
Siebel.

Siebel, the billionaire founder of software company Siebel Systems, did
not respond to messages sent to an email associated with a foundation he
runs and to his LinkedIn account.

A representative from the Siebel Scholars Foundation, who signed her
name only as Jennifer, did not respond to questions about whether he had
donated the money. But she said Siebel has a record of supporting
several causes, including efforts to “protect individual liberty.”

“These are personal initiatives and have nothing to do with the
companies with which he is associated,” she wrote.

Siebel has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican
candidates and organizations over the last 20 years, according to
Federal Election Commission records, including a $400,000 contribution
in 2019 to a GOP fundraising committee called “Take Back the House
2020.”

The GiveSendGo Freedom Convoy campaign was created on Jan. 27 by Tamara
Lich. She previously belonged to the far-right Maverick Party, which
calls for western Canada to become independent.

READ MORE: Canada’s Trudeau invokes emergency powers as demonstrations
persist

The Canadian government moved earlier this week to cut off funding for
the protesters by broadening the scope of the country’s anti-money
laundering and terrorist financing rules to cover crowdfunding platforms
like GiveSendGo.

“We are making these changes because we know that these platforms are
being used to support illegal blockades and illegal activity, which is
damaging the Canadian economy,” said Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia
Freeland.

Perhaps more important than the financial support is the cheerleading
the Canadian protesters have received from prominent American
conservative politicians and pundits, like Hannity, who see kindred
spirits in their northern neighbors opposing vaccine mandates.

On the same day Lich created the GiveSendGo campaign, retired Army Lt.
Gen. Michael Flynn shared a video of the convoy in a post on the
messaging app Telegram.

“These truckers are fighting back against the nonsense and tyranny,
especially coming from the Canadian government,” wrote Flynn, the former
head of the Defense Intelligence Agency who served briefly as former
President Donald Trump’s national security adviser.

A few days later, Flynn urged people to donate to the Canadian
protesters. Earlier this week, he twice posted the message
“#TrudeauTheCoward” on Telegram, referring to the prime minister who
leads Canada’s Liberal Party.

Fox News hosts regularly laud the protests, and Trump weighed in with a
broadside at Trudeau, calling him a “far left lunatic” who has
“destroyed Canada with insane COVID mandates.” Cruz called the truckers
“heroes” and “patriots,” and Greene said she cannot wait to see a convoy
protest in Washington.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he hopes truckers come to America and “clog
up cities” in an interview last week with the Daily Signal, a news
website of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Far-right and anti-vaccine activists, inspired by the Canadian actions,
are now planning American versions of the protests against COVID-19
mandates and restrictions modeled on the Canadian demonstrations.

The protests in Canada have also created a moneymaking opportunity for
some, including a chain of “New England for Trump” stores, which were
selling merchandise inspired by the demonstrators. A mesh-back “Freedom
Convoy 2022” trucker hat goes for $25. —-

Swenson reported from New York, and Smith reported from Providence,
Rhode Island. Associated Press writers Amanda Seitz in Washington, Larry
Fenn in New York, Frank Bajak in Boston and Camille Fassett in Oakland,
California, contributed to this report.


Left: Workers put up fences in front of the East Block building around
parked trucks and demonstrators, as protests against coronavirus disease
(COVID-19) vaccine mandates continue, during early morning rain in
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Feb. 17, 2022. Photo by Shannon Stapleton/
REUTERS 

Related

      * Busiest U.S.-Canada border crossing re-opens but protests
        continue in Ottawa 
        
        By Rob Gillies, Corey Williams, Associated Press
        
      * Canada border blockade clearing peacefully as police move in 
        
        By Associated Press
        
      * U.S. urges Canada to use federal powers to end bridge blockade 
        
        By Rob Gillies, Mike Householder, Aamer Madhani, Ben Fox, Amanda
        Seitz, Tom Krishner, Associated Press
        

Go Deeper

      * canada
      * ottawa
      * trucker protest
By — 

Richard Lardner, Associated Press 


By — 

Michelle R. Smith, Associated Press 


By — 

Ali Swenson, Associated Press 


https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/how-american-right-wing-funding-for-canadian-trucker-protests-could-sway-u-s-politics



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