Canada Day Convoy: Unpacking support structures
Avoiding taxes on donations and profiting personally from the "freedom" movement
Next week, “Freedom Convoy” protesters have promised to come back to Ottawa for a Canada Day Convoy and a summer of protests. The protests are happening in conjunction with James Topp’s arrival in Ottawa (he has been walking across Canada in protest against ‘forced vaccine mandates’). This article takes a look at the support structures and potential financing and organizational mechanisms for this event, focusing specifically on the establishment of not-for-profit entities associated with the groups and individuals involved in these protests, and what they mean for the future of the movement (and protests).
James Topp, a Canadian veteran walking to Ottawa in protest against ‘forced vaccine mandates’ was scheduled to arrive in Ottawa on June 30th (although he appears to have already come to Ottawa to meet with some members of parliament on 22 June). In conjunction with this event, a plan for a convoy / protest has started to coalesce. There are a number of individuals and organizations involved (and some infighting), but there are a few structures that suggest a broader coordination effort and longer-term plans and financing efforts.
For a great look at how Canadian intelligence (the Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre) sees this event, read this great post by my Substack colleague Justin Ling:
The protesters have insisted that they will be peaceful and that Ottawa won’t experience another occupation as it did earlier this year, and for the most part, ITAC appears to believe them, with the caveat that some members of these movements can be unpredictable.
To get a sense of what these individuals believe, check out this twitter thread. Some highlights: Tom Marazzo, one of the directors of Veterans 4 Freedom (see below), wants Prime Minister Trudeau tried for treason. James Topp also wants politicians and public health figures be put on trial, and is confident that a trial would find them guilty and that they would be “put to death”. Topp has also compared Canada to a civil war zone.
A number of sub-groups within the broader “freedom” movement are exploiting Canada’s not-for-profit system to avoid paying taxes on the funds that they are raising for these purposes, and to sustain the movement over the longer term. Let’s take a closer look at those: