Monday, December 11, 2023
Feature/ProfileGuest ContributionsOpinion/ColumnTrucking

Here’s Who Froze Trucker Bank Accounts

Michael Sabia testifies at the Public Order Emergencies Commission in November, 2022. Photo: Twitter

On Michael Sabia’s watch Canada did something unprecedented, tyrannical, and terrifying.

Part 1 of 3.

by Donna Laframboise

Last November, Michael Sabia testified at the Emergencies Act hearings. As Deputy Minister in Canada’s Finance Department he is, in his own words, “the most senior non-elected official.”

This is the very upper echelons of our government. Mr. Sabia reports directly to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland. She, in turn, reports directly to the Prime Minister (and also serves as our country’s Deputy Prime Minister).

Back in February, Michael Sabia was 68 years old and had been in his role for 13 months. Then he made history. This man was asked to find a way to freeze the bank accounts of fellow Canadians who’d never been charged, tried, or convicted of any crime. And that’s what he did.

On his watch, Canada became a banana republic. It quashed peaceful dissent through a series of unprecedented, tyrannical, and terrifying measures. To quote Freedom Convoy spokesperson Benjamin Dichter, our country “imposed financial penalties so extreme that no Western democracy had ever used them against political demonstrators, let alone non-violent ones.”

The video of Nov. 17th hearing is here. The transcript can be downloaded directly below the video – and has also been backed up at Archive.org here.

Mr. Sabia says the truckers protesting in Ottawa were engaged in “illegal activities” (see pages 71, 88, 90, 114, 118, 146 and 147 of the official transcript). But he chooses his words carefully. He acknowledges that this illegality was established by political decree.

On page 71, he tells us the Emergencies Act “declared certain activities illegal.” The Act was invoked, let us remember, on Valentine’s Day – more than two weeks into the Ottawa protest.

On page 88, Mr. Sabia says testily: “Look, the Government took a decision that these activities were illegal.”

On page 90, he repeats himself: “the Federal Government, the Emergencies Act, declared that these activities were illegal.”

The government decided. The government declared. With the stroke of a pen, an extraordinarily peaceful protest became illegal. Because the government said so.

This same government refused to meet with the truckers. It refused to sit down and talk. It refused to sit down and listen. Go home, it said. How dare you, the little people, imagine you have a right to be heard.

From the Prime Minister on down, officials spent three weeks hurling insults, calling these protesters the nastiest names imaginable. Then the credit cards and bank accounts got frozen.

Peaceful protesters were denied access to their own money. Spouses, hundreds of miles distant, discovered in the supermarket lineup that they couldn’t pay for groceries. They discovered they had no ability to purchase medicine.

Canada has never punished hardened criminals in such a manner. Not rapists. Not cop killers. Not child murderers. But after Michael Sabia followed orders, that’s what happened to truckers.

*****

Donna Laframboise writes a daily blog at  ThankYouTruckers.substack.com. It is a first draft of her upcoming book that focuses on interviews with Freedom Convoy truckers. She is a former National Post and Toronto Star columnist, and a former Vice President of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.