Ontario: Senior government employee fired for donating $100 to ‘Freedom Convoy’

Details including names, email addresses and postal codes of almost 100,000 donors to the GiveSendGo fundraiser were leaked online. The Canadian government wants to freeze all contributions made via the site via the Emergency Act.

15 February 2022 | Charlie Pinkerton and Andy Takagi | QP Briefing

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones‘s communications director is no longer working for the Ontario government after QP Briefing inquired about a donation she gave the “Freedom Convoy,” which was found in leaked documents from the crowdfunding website GiveSendGo.

Marion Isabeau-Ringuette, director of communications for the solicitor general, donated $100 to an online fundraiser created by an organizer of the anti-COVID measures protests on Feb. 5, more than one week after protesters began occupying downtown Ottawa, and the day before the city’s mayor declared a state of emergency.

A few days ago, details including names, email addresses and postal codes of almost 100,000 donors to the GiveSendGo fundraiser leaked online. The Christian crowdfunding site has since acknowledged it was hacked, but has not verified the data itself.

A $100 donation was made under the initials “M.R.,” but QP Briefing confirmed Isabeau-Ringuette’s identity based on the email address and postal code tied to the contribution.

QP Briefing brought the information to the attention of Isabeau-Ringuette and Premier Doug Ford‘s office late Tuesday afternoon, and asked them to confirm it.

“Ms. Isabeau-Ringuette no longer works for the Ontario government,” Ivana Yelich, Ford’s spokesperson, said. “We’re not commenting any further as this is a staffing matter.”

Isabeau-Ringuette was listed on a government press release as recently as Sunday.

The ministry Jones oversees — and which Isabeau-Ringuette was tasked with working with and representing — is responsible for “ensuring Ontario’s communities are supported and protected by law enforcement, and that public safety and correctional systems are safe, effective, efficient and accountable,” its website says.

At the time she donated to the convoy’s online fundraiser, Ottawa’s now-former police chief Peter Sloly estimated 5,000 protesters remained in the city’s downtown core, along with 1,000 trucks and other vehicles. By that evening, seven people had been arrested and police were amid 50 other investigations, including for 11 alleged hate acts.

Ford labelled the protest an “occupation” of the city the next day, which was when Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency.

Six days later, Ford declared a provincial emergency at a press conference where he was joined by Jones.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time since its creation in 1988 to empower the federal government with powers that include requiring crowdfunding websites to financial regulators to report large, suspicious donations, and to assist with ongoing investigations.

The act will also allow banks to freeze the accounts of those suspected of funding protesters or blockades, without obtaining a court order.

The GiveSendGo donor list was widely distributed by the whistleblower group Distributed Denial of Secrets, which told the Toronto Star it wasn’t responsible for the initial hack.


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