On Thursday, February 21, 2015, a PayPal employee confirmed to a Barriere Lake Solidarity activist that the Barriere Lake Solidarity (BLS) account was being investigated due to a complaint made by a member of the Canadian Government. As a result of the complaint, Barriere Lake Solidarity’s account was frozen and the group has been unable to access funds raised for 23 families who were going hungry just before Christmas, because of non-payment of social assistance by a third party organizaition under contract with the federal Department of Aboriginal Affairs.
The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have a 80-90% unmemployment rate and depend on social assistance for basic survival. The PayPal account involved a few thousand dollars to help support the Algonquins of Barriere Lake in their struggle.
The BLS PayPal account was created as a non-profit business/organization. It is a Working-Group under the Qubec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) who have registered non-profit status. Despite repeated attempts to prove that BLS is not a separate legal entity, PayPal gave BLS no other choice but to shut down the account, refunding all the moneys raised.
PayPal will no longer confirm the identity of the party who issued the complaint, but will verify that they received the call one day afer the fundraising campaign was launched.
BLS member Shiri Pasternak stated: “It is outrageous that the federal government sought fit to intervene in a fundraising campaign to provide stopgap funding for families who were going hungry due to the negligence of Aboriginal Affairs. Barriere Lake council members had been petitioning the government for months to resolve the missing social assistance issues. When we launched our fundraising campaign, hundreds of people reached out, but the government’s panicked response was to shut down this support and let the community starve.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Barriere Lake Solidarity firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony Wawatie (Interim Director General, Algonquins of Barriere Lake: 819-355-3662 and 819-435-2181