The details of Isabeau-Ringuette's departure were murky in CTV's report Wednesday:
“For the communications director to be financially supporting an unlawful, illegal occupation is definitely concerning,” said NDP MPP Catherine Fife.
“Who was donating, why were they donating, and did this contribute to the non-action that happened on the ground in Ottawa?” she said.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford's spokesperson Ivana Yelich did not elaborate in a brief statement to reporters.
“Ms. Isabeau-Ringuette no longer works for the Ontario government,” Yelich said. “We are not commenting any further as this is a staffing matter.”
Isabeau-Ringuette's LinkedIn page said she worked as press secretary for the Solicitor-General in 2019 before becoming communications director in February 2020. Her last official communication was on Sunday, when she helped issue a press release advising Ontario residents to keep their pets warm during extreme cold weather.
The Toronto Star described her as “affable and well-liked at Queen's Park.” It said her exposure as a Freedom Convoy supporter was “especially embarrassing to the Ford government, since Jones's ministry has been deeply involved in the protest that has left Ottawa blockaded for almost three weeks.”
Global News quoted opposition leaders demanding more firings over donations to the Freedom Convoy, reporting some queasiness about the possibility of the witch hunt getting out of hand:
Duff Conacher with Democracy Watch said the firing within the solicitor-general's office was justified. “Cabinet staff serve at the pleasure of the minister and can be fired for any reason, including optics like this,” he said.
But Conacher warns employers, including the government officials, need to be careful when it comes to doling out punishments for online fundraisers.
“When you're donating to a group that protests, it may not be the organizing group that you donated to that actually did the illegal activity,” said Conacher. “It could be people showing up to sabotage the protest.”
In Isabeau-Ringuette's case, her donation was logged by GiveSendGo using only her initials “M.R.”, but the hacked data file included an email address that revealed her full name.
CTV reported the database also included “an employee of the federal correctional service and the name of another Ontario government employee.” CTV did not reveal the name of the government employee, but it did contact the individual to request an interview. The request was briskly denied.
The UK Daily Mail noted local and national Canadian media are eagerly scouring the hacked database for more Freedom Convoy donors to destroy. A news site called QP Briefing took credit for sussing out Isabeau-Ringuette's identity and wrecking her career:
The local news outlet QP Briefing said that it had ‘brought the information to the attention of Isabeau-Ringuette and Premier Doug Ford's office late Tuesday afternoon' as Canadian journalists scour the hacked list for donor names and out them to employers. Specifically, the country's national broadcaster, Canadian Broadcasting Company, has gone through the list to contact and publicly out donors.
It revealed that the former leader of the country's Progressive Conservative Party, Ches Crosbie, made an $800 donation.
He was unapologetic when confronted by CBC journalists, saying: ‘Indefinite states of emergency, such as we are under in most of Canada, are a dangerous thing, a very dangerous thing. I support the right of peaceful protest and I see the Freedom Convoy as a peaceful protest.'
“The overreach on the last two years has been astounding, but in the last two weeks in Canada it has been absolutely alarming for anyone believes in a peaceful and free society,” Ontario businessman Holden Rhodes told the media after CBC “outed” his $25,000 donation as the largest single donation listed in the GiveSendGo database.
“Government at all levels has to realize they are elected to represent the people of Canada rather than lock up and threaten to arrest people for exercising their legal rights of peaceful protest,” Rhodes said.
A GiveSendGo donor told Breitbart News the CBC is aggressively contacting donors from the hacked list in search of interviews, a practice she denounced as an “invasion of privacy.” She accused the CBC of “participating in a smear campaign against the truckers, their supporters, and the demonstration as a whole.”