The United We Roll pro-pipeline convoy protesting in Ottawa has run into some division within its ranks.
Now, some convoy supporters are accusing convoy lead organizer Glen Carritt of not distributing crowd-sourced funds as promised — accommodation costs and fuel cards for the drivers in the convoy.
The GoFundMe campaign raised more than $130,000 in a month. The GoFundMe page said that a 12-person administrative panel, that included certified accountants, would “oversee organizing, strategy and disbursement of fuel cards.”
Another update on the convoy’s crowd-sourcing page from Carritt said a chartered accountant “will be reviewing the ledger as well as a book keeper [sic] for all records.”
Carritt addressed the concerns Wednesday morning.
“Here’s what people don’t understand is we left [Red Deer] with a little over $30,000 and now there’s about $130,000 in the account,” he told Global News.
“But we don’t completely have access to all that money until a few days go by. But, I’m making sure that these guys are taken care of.”
Carritt — also a councillor in the town of Innisfail, Alta. — said he has had to float some of the costs personally, as a result of the delayed disbursement of the funds.
“The money doesn’t just come out of a GoFundMe,” Carritt said. “I’ve actually been funding most of this – a lot of this – trip out of my own pocket. I’ve been paying for hotel rooms.
“Until that GoFundMe money gets into the account and gets moved over, everybody here has got receipts and they’ve been told to hang on to all their receipts.”
Some supporters have taken to social media to vent their frustration at Carritt’s apparent lack of accountability for the funds, with fears that he will leave the convoy with the funds in his own pocket.
“We are having to set up emergency donations as we can’t get our people back as Glen has not accounted for the money, won’t answer questions and did not plan to get these members back home,” Sexsmith, Alta., resident Peggy-Lee Glenn wrote on Facebook on Sunday.
“I’m right here,” Carritt said Wednesday morning. “I walked out of Question Period early to make sure my truckers were taken care of.“I’m driving home with these guys and they’re going to be well taken care of. We’re going to make sure they have rooms and are fed and make sure that they get home safe.”
The main portion of the convoy set out from Red Deer, Alta., last Thursday and arrived in Ottawa this week.
The protesters want the Liberal government to scrap the carbon tax and two bills that overhaul environmental assessments of energy projects and ban oil tankers from the northern coast of British Columbia.
Another convoy was originally created by a group that called itself Canada Action, which cancelled the plan and refunded thousands of dollars in donations after that effort became associated with extremist elements in the Yellow Vests Canada movement.
— With files from Melissa Gilligan, Global News, and The Canadian Press