Canadian Banks Prepared To Make Un-Persons of Protesters, at Government Demand

Our gentle neighbor to the North rushes toward grim authoritarianism.


As Canada tries its best to keep donations of cryptocurrency from helping protesters against the country's vaccine mandates on truckers, as detailed by Reason's Liz Wolfe, the Canadian Bankers Association has announced its intention to make sure that those associated with the protests are thoroughly locked out of all traditional financial services as well.

As Global News in Canada reports:

The Canadian Bankers Association said in a statement Wednesday that, as with other financial service providers, banks will "need to diligently implement the required measures."

"Banks in Canada follow all applicable laws and regulations in carrying out their operations, in keeping with their commitment to protect the integrity of Canada's financial system," the association said.

The details of those "required measures" Canada wants to enforce on dissenters not convicted of any crime are totalitarian grimness of a sort many naively thought could not happen in the allegedly democratic, free West. These moves embody the Chinese "social credit" mentality: combining ancient authoritarian ideology and modern technological power to control how anyone, free citizen or convicted criminal, can actually survive in the world. (Ottawa has even announced its intention to steal protesters' dogs, a truly cartoonish level of villainy.)

As the CBC reports:

The government's new directive, called the "emergency economic measures order," goes beyond asking banks to simply stop transferring funds to protest organizers. The government wants banks to stop doing business with some people altogether.

The order says that banks and other financial entities (like credit unions, co-ops, loan companies, trusts and cryptocurrency platforms) must stop "providing any financial or related services" to people associated with the protests — a move that will result in frozen accounts, stranded money and cancelled credit cards…

These financial institutions can't handle cash, issue a loan, extend a mortgage or more generally facilitate "any transaction" of a "designated person" while the Emergencies Act is in place.

Even more sinister, one need not be someone actually committing any act of civic disorder to be thusly punished: "The regulations define a 'designated person' who can be cut off from financial services as someone who is 'directly or indirectly' participating in a 'public assembly that may reasonably be expected to lead to a breach of the peace,' or a person engaging in 'serious interference with trade' or 'critical infrastructure."

What "indirect" support might mean will play out in the courts, one hopes, unless Canada just decides to really live up to its current flexing as a totalitarian hellhole by tossing people in jail without charge or adjudication. But given targeting of donations both traditional and crypto lately, it will not be surprising if the government considers an "indirect" participant in the protests anyone who donates to the protesters' cause.

The purpose of this sort of financial exile is to break dissidents' will without having to take the perhaps reputation-damaging act of publicly and physically tossing thousands in prison for expressing their anger at government vaccine mandates on truckers. The equally, if metaphorically, bone-crushing act of locking people out of the financial system mark-of-beast style is less easily filmed or tweeted.

It is not yet clear, despite the Canadian Bankers Association's statement, that the protesters the government thinks it has identified are all indeed financially un-personed already. While anons on 4chan are openly trying to meme a Canadian bank run into existence—once the government has announced and banks have agreed that they will block your access to your money or services on executive order, why should people trust banks?—there are scattered reports that Canadians are having more problems with accessing banking services electronically than normal this week.

What Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government is trying to do here, with the obedient collusion of the banking sector, is far beyond acceptable business as usual for a Western government; it is vile authoritarianism, in service of a policy goal of little objective importance given the existing Canadian rate of vaccination, and it ought to destroy both the moral and actual authority of his regime.