Protester who lost life savings regrets involvement with ‘Freedom Convoy’

More than a month after the so-called “Freedom Convoy” occupied downtown Ottawa, one protester says he regrets taking part.

Martin Joseph Anglehart says he spent all of his life savings helping people with the convoy, and is now living out of his vehicle near Kenora, Ont.

Anglehart says he only joined the protest because he wanted to feel part of something after months of feeling lonely. 

“I’m still as alone as I was two months ago,” said the 41-year-old from his car. “I still don’t have friends and I still don’t have family. I’m living in the back of a fricken car, so yah, I regret going.”

Anglehart joined the convoy in Medicine Hat, Alta., where he then travelled with the group to Ottawa in January.

He said he spent more than $13,000, his entire life savings.

Anglehart wasn’t passionate about the cause, but joined the convoy because he was upset that he wasn’t able to say goodbye to his closest friend in hospital, who later died of cancer, because of pandemic restrictions.

“Loneliness was one of the worst things for me,” Anglehart said.

After arriving in the nation’s capital, he wanted to help and quickly got involved in transferring thousands of dollars in cash for occupiers, as well as purchasing food and fuel.

“They said ‘We need gas, we need to keep the truck going,'” he said. “They said ‘Keep your receipt and we will put it with the sheets’ and I said ‘Ok.”

He was hopeful that he would be reimbursed from crowd-sourcing platforms, but that never happened.

Text messages provided by Anglehart show some of the exchanges, where he writes, “Appreciate it. I emptied my PayPal. I should have more money coming in. I spent all my savings.”

Then the worry set in, as he wrote in a text message, “I put in all my savings so far. Just worried.”

Anglehart says he was arrested on Feb. 15 for delivering fuel to the occupiers.

“I was given a piece of paper that said I had to be outside the radius of Ottawa and I left, the day before my account got frozen,” he said.

He now wants to apologize to the residents of Ottawa for his involvement.

“I’m sorry to the people of Ottawa,” he said. “You had to endure all the horns and all the weirdos.”

He said he is working to rebuild his life, as his bank account remains frozen.

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