District of Fort St. James Mayor Robert Motion is among those who donated to support the Freedom Convoy protests and illegal blockades through the crowdfunding website GiveSendGo according to hacked data from the website posted online.
The crowdfunding site was hacked earlier this week after replacing GoFundMe as a means of collecting funds for protests in downtown Ottawa and blockades at several border crossings to the United States — including the Pacific Highway border crossing in South Surrey.
Mayor Motion donated $100 along with the message, “So proud of you all. You are the Canada we want to live in.” The Courier reached out to Motion for comment but did not receive an immediate response.
By analyzing the postal codes attached to individual donations, The Courier found that 34 residents of Vanderhoof, Fort St. James and Fraser Lake gave at least $9,000 to the convoy cause. That figure represents only residents with associated postal codes.
The largest donation was for an amount of $3,333 from a Vanderhoof resident who commented, “Thank you to everyone who believes in freedom and no mandates.”
The hacked data of people who donated to the Freedom Convoy through the GiveSendGo site was posted online before being deleted.
Leaked data included email addresses, names, postal codes, IP addresses, personalized messages to the truckers and amounts donated. The GiveSendGo site said no credit card information was leaked and no money was stolen, and that their security team shut down the website to prevent further damage after being hacked.
Convoy participants and their supporters turned to GiveSendGo after GoFundMe announced it would not forward money raised through its website to the Freedom Convoy because the protests violated its rules on violence and harassment.
Before GiveSendGo’s website was hacked, more than 36,000 people who donated, or 36 per cent, were from Canada, while 56 per cent came from the U.S. Two per cent came from the United Kingdom and the remaining three per cent came from more than 100 other countries.
More than 120,000 donors gave about $10 million before the GoFundMe page was shut down and donors were reimbursed.
In a Feb. 28 release from the District of Fort St. James, Mayor Motion acknowledged his donation to the Freedom Convoy and invited residents wanting to discuss the issue to reach out to him directly.
“This was a personal donation and in no way reflects the position of the Council of the District of Fort St. James. Regardless of my personal beliefs, I will continue to do what I think is best for our community and its residents.”
With files from the Canadian Press
This report was updated to include response from Fort St. James Mayor Robert Motion