Canada trucker protest live: Automakers seek injunction to clear bridge as US warns of Super Bowl copycat

Aerial footage shows heavily congested Ambassador Bridge as truck convoy jams US-Canada border

Protesters in trucks opposed to Covid-19 restrictions continue to paralyse the centre of Ottawa as similar demonstrations have now spread beyond the Canadian capital to border crossing into the US. The Emerson Port of Entry in Manitoba is the latest to be blocked.

The Ambassador Bridge that connects Windsor, Ontario, with Detroit was first blockaded by trucks in both directions late on Monday, with the final access being shut off on Wednesday night.

As a crucial commercial link between the US and Canada it has quickly hit supply chains with car manufacturers including Toyota and Ford already announcing issues. The mayor of Windsor says protesters will be physically removed if necessary, and has been joined by auto parts manufacturers in seeking an injunction to clear the bridge.

In Ottawa, police have now threatened protesters with criminal charges. Approximately 20 trucks have been persuaded to leave and the police chief says they will be able to move more as extra resources become available.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has demanded the protesters go home, and the interim opposition leader Candice Bergen joined his call for an end to the stand off on Thursday morning, while also tabling a motion for the government to produce a timetable winding down pandemic mandates and policies.

In the US, the Biden administration is closely monitoring the situation, with a Department of Homeland Security bulletin warning of copycat protests hitting the Super Bowl in Los Angeles, and the State of the Union address in Washington, DC.


GM, Toyota, Ford production hit by truckers’ protest

Several automakers, including Toyota, General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler-parent Stellantis, said on Thursday that they had been forced to cancel or scale back some production at North American plants on Thursday as a fallout of the truckers’ protest.

General Motors said that it had been forced to halt production on Thursday at a Michigan plant where it builds sport utility vehicles, reported Reuters.

“Although we may have intermittent stoppages, we intend to keep production running and meet current schedules at all of our manufacturing operations in the US, Canada and Mexico,” said Shilpan Amin, GM’s vice president for global purchasing and supply chain in a mail to suppliers.

A spokesperson for Toyota said that the company was suspending production through Saturday at plants on both sides of the border, in Ontario and Kentucky.

Ford said that while its plants in Windsor and Oakville were running in reduced capacity, it was hoping for a quick resolution “because it could have widespread impact on all automakers in the US and Canada”.

Sravasti Dasgupta11 February 2022 09:16


Trudeau holds series of meetings to end truckers blockade

Prime minister Justin Trudeau held a series of meetings Thursday evening to end the ongoing truckers blockade that has affected supplies and hit businesses.

In a statement, Mr Trudeau’s office said: “The prime minister and ministers will continue to work closely with all orders of government and local authorities to respond with whatever it takes to help provinces and municipalities end the blockades and bring the situation under control.”

In a series of late evening tweets, Mr Trudeau said: “This evening, I had several meetings that were focused on the illegal blockades and occupations happening across the country. They’re harming the communities they’re taking place in – and they’re hurting jobs, businesses, and our country’s economy.”

Mr Trudeau said that he spoke with local officials and sought the support of the opposition in ending the protests.

“I stressed how important it is for all Members of Parliament, from every party, to denounce these illegal acts – and to call for an end to these blockades,” he added.

Sravasti Dasgupta11 February 2022 07:30


US urges Canada to end truckers protest

The Biden administration has urged the Canadian government to use its federal powers to end the ongoing truckers protest against Covid-19 vaccine mandates.

Homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg spoke with their Canadian counterparts and urged them to help resolve the standoff, said the White House.

With the Ambassador Bridge closed for the fourth straight day, supplies have been hit on both sides of the border.

Several automakers including General Motors have been forced to shut their plants due to parts shortages as a fallout of the protests.

In a joint statement the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers and Business Roundtable urged the Canadian government to act swiftly, reported Associated Press.

“The disruptions we are seeing at the US-Canada border — at the Detroit-Windsor Ambassador Bridge and at other crossings — are adding to the significant supply chain strains on manufacturers and other businesses in the United States,” the statement said.

“We respectfully urge the Canadian government to act swiftly to address the disruption to the flow of trade and its impact on manufacturers and other businesses on both sides of the border.”

(FILE) Vehicles block the route leading from the Ambassador Bridge that links Detroit and Windsor


Sravasti Dasgupta11 February 2022 05:55


‘Get off the bridge and let our people get back to work’

Linda Hasenfratz, CEO of Linamar, Canada’s second-largest automobile parts manufacturer, says they are watching the protest on the Ambassador Bridge “with concern” and call for the protestors to “get off the bridge”.

“We are watching with concern the situation at the border regarding the ongoing protest. The last thing any business needs right now is to be shut down yet again. Cutting Canada off from our biggest trading partner can ultimately have only one impact, reducing output.

“The last two years have been so disruptive to every one of us and our families with situations we can’t control; this one we can.”

She concludes: “To the protestors, please get off the bridge and let our people get back to work earning money for their families.”

Oliver O’Connell11 February 2022 05:32


Canada Conservatives push government to present plan lifting federal Covid mandates

Canada’s Conservative party is pushing for the federal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to present a plan to lift all federal Covid-19 mandates following a call to the trucker demonstrations to end their protests, CTV reports.

Interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen tabled a motion asking the government to present such a plan by the end of the month as provinces across Canada have begun phasing out their own Covid regulations in the wake of the Omicron variant wave.

The Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos acknowledged that while the country is in a much better place than two years ago thanks to the vaccines, there are still thousands of new Covid cases and hospital capacity remains stretched.

The Conservative motion will be voted on this coming Monday.

Oliver O’Connell11 February 2022 04:45


Auto groups join legal action against bridge blockaders as mayor of Windsor says they will be physically removed

Auto-industry groups and the City of Windsor, Ontario, are seeking an injunction to end the blockade of the Ambassador Bridge.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens told a news briefing on Thursday he hopes the injunction will be before a Superior Court of Justice judge later today, and the city “will work with police to enforce that injunction”.

He said of the protestors: “The individuals on site are trespassing on municipal roads and if need be will be removed to allow for the safe and efficient movement of goods across the border.”

Mr Dilkens said the main applicants for the injunction are the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association and Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, along with the City of Windsor and Chamber of Commerce “as supportive interveners”.

The mayor also expressed frustration that the protestors have no clear leadership and that the issues being protested over have diversified away from Covid vaccine mandates as the protest took on a life of its own.

“We can’t just let this lawlessness happen.”

Speaking to CNN he added: “[If] the protesters don’t leave, there will have to be a path forward. If that means physically removing them, that means physically removing them, and we’re prepared to do that.”

Oliver O’Connell11 February 2022 03:50


Trucker protest disrupting Canadian car production

Toyota says it does not expect its auto plants in Ontario to produce vehicles for the rest of the week, because of supply problems stemming from the protests.

“Due to a number of supply chain, severe weather and COVID related challenges, Toyota continues to face shortages affecting production at our North American plants, including Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada,” the company said.

Oliver O’Connell11 February 2022 03:00


White House: Ambassador Bridge blockade ‘poses risk to supply chains’

Oliver O’Connell11 February 2022 02:15


Ambassador Bridge owner says three ways to end blockade

Matt Moroun, chairman of the Detroit International Bridge Company, the owner of the Ambassador Bridge, says “we are only just beginning to feel the devastating impact” on the economy of the blockaded bridge.

“This cannot continue any longer,” he says on behalf of those whose livelihoods depend on the busy international trade route.

He suggests three options to end the standoff quickly:

1. End the protest by repealing the mandate and recognising that while the vast majority of truck drivers are vaccinated there are some who for many reasons are choosing not to get vaccinated but deserve to be respected and allowed to do their jobs and serve our countries with dignity.

2. Remove the vehicles blocking the Ambassador Bridge so commerce and trade can resume.

3. Do nothing and hope this ends on its own: an option that will mostly prolong the blockade, further crippling our economy and putting more jobs at risk.

He adds that the protest goes to show the importance of the bridge to international commerce between the US and Canada — once the crisis is resolved he would like recognition that such crossings are too important to be subjected to politics and short-term thinking that compromises commerce, jobs ,and the shared economy.

Oliver O’Connell11 February 2022 01:15


Copycat ‘freedom convoy’ pushed by QAnon could target Super Bowl, US agency warns

President Joe Biden may be forced to tackle trucker protests similar to those seen in Canada, potentially targeting the Super Bowl, according to warnings from the Department of Homeland Security.

In a memo shared with police partners and reported by The Hill, the DHS wrote that it had “received reports of truck drivers potentially planning to block roads in major metropolitan cities in the United States in protest of, among other things, vaccine mandates”.

Oliver O’Connell11 February 2022 00:15

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *