Protests against COVID-19 threaten border trade between Canada and the US

OTTAWA (Ontario) -- Canadian lawmakers expressed growing concern Tuesday over the economic consequences of disruptive demonstrations following a partially blocked border crossing between the U.S.A. and Canada by truckers protesting vaccine mandates as well as other COVID-19 restrictions.

Protests against COVID-19 threaten border trade between Canada and the US

OTTAWA (Ontario) -- Canadian lawmakers expressed growing concern Tuesday over the economic consequences of disruptive demonstrations following a partially blocked border crossing between the U.S.A. and Canada by truckers protesting vaccine mandates as well as other COVID-19 restrictions.

Traffic was prevented from entering Canada by a blockade at Ambassador Bridge, between Detroit, Ontario, and Windsor, United States. However, some U.S.bound traffic was still moving. Marco Mendicino, Public Safety Minister, said that the bridge is "one of the most important border crossings" in the world. It handles 25% of all trade between Canada, United States, and Ontario.

Omar Alghabra, Canadian Transport Minister, stated that such blockades would have serious consequences for the economy and supply chain. "I have already heard from food grocers and automakers. He said that this is a very serious concern in Ottawa, Canada.

Mendicino added: "Most Canadians know there is a distinction between being tired and fatigued by the pandemic, and crossing into another universe." Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke in an emergency debate Monday night in Parliament. He said that the protesters were "trying to stop our economy, and our democracy."

The Freedom Truck Convoy is coordinating daily demonstrations in Ottawa. Demonstrators have used hundreds of parked vehicles to paralyze areas of Ottawa for more than ten days.

Ottawa's manager stated that all the tow-truck companies contracted with the city refused to remove the large rigs. People living around downtown, including those in neighborhoods near Parliament Hill (the seat of the federal government), have been furious by the protests.

Dave Weatherall is a federal civil servant who lives close to the truckers' main staging area in a city owned parking lot. He said that the truckers were using the lot to terrorize Centretown residents and asked why the city allowed the convoy to park on its property without any intervention.

"This is the first time in my life that I have seriously pondered the world they were brought into. He said that he had always believed they would be able to handle all the challenges in this world.

Demonstrations spread to areas near or at the Canadian border. This includes the Ambassador Bridge where protests caused backups that stopped traffic in both directions. The bridge is still blocked on the way to Canada.

After Trudeau's speech, Tom Marrazo, a trucker spokesperson, reiterated that protesters want to overthrow government. Marrazo stated that he was open to meeting with the opposition parties, the nation's governor general and the representative of Queen Elizabeth II of Britain as head of state.

Technically, all three opposition parties could work together to defeat Trudeau's government. However, this is unlikely as Trudeau doesn't have the majority of Parliament seats. The New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois are opposed to the protests.

Protesters also shut down another U.S. Canada border crossing at Coutts (Alberta). This is at the will of a group who feel they are above the law. It must stop," said Rachel Notley (Alberta's former premier, and current opposition leader of the New Democrat party).

Protesters said that they would not leave until the COVID-19 and vaccine restrictions have been lifted. Protesters also demanded the demise of Trudeau's government. However, it is only responsible for a few of the restrictive measures that were imposed by provincial governments.

Francois Laporte is the president of Teamsters Canada. He represents over 55,000 drivers including 15,000 long-haul truck driver drivers.

Laporte stated that the Freedom Convoy and the shameful display of hatred led by the political Right, shamefully encouraged and supported by elected conservative politicians, did not reflect the values and beliefs of Teamsters Canada nor those of the vast majority of our members and, in fact, has served to delegitimize truck driver concerns today.

Alain Bedard (chairman and CEO of TFI International Inc.) stated that Canada's largest trucking firm is almost unaffected by the vaccination mandate for truckers crossing the U.S.–Canada border.

He stated that TFI's vaccination policy is not a problem. Canada is home to the few drivers who are not vaccinated by the company.

Joel Lightbound, a Trudeau Liberal Party lawmaker, said Tuesday that his leader had stricken Canadians. He also stated that his government must create a roadmap for when the coronavirus measures will be lifted.

Lightbound stated, "It's time to stop dividing people, and to stop pitting one group against another."

Trudeau is continuing to be a tough opponent of the protesters. He stated that everyone has had enough of COVID-19 and that restrictions won't last forever. He pointed out that Canada has one the highest rates of vaccination in the world.

"The government has focused on the best science and the best advice for public health every step of the journey to ensure that as many people are safe as possible. Trudeau stated Tuesday that it has worked.

He said, "I understand the frustrations associated with mandates." Mandates are the best way to avoid additional restrictions.

The Canadian province of Saskatchewan announced a plan to remove all COVID-19 restrictions. Officials in Saskatchewan announced that they no longer require COVID-19 vaccination passports beginning Monday. At the end of the month, the province of nearly 1.2 million residents will also be ending its indoor mask mandate.

Conservative Premier Scott Moe of Saskatchewan said that the benefits of showing proof of vaccination when entering restaurants and businesses like hotels does not outweigh the costs. He claimed that the passport has caused deep divisions.

Alberta is another Conservative stronghold. The premier plans to announce Tuesday a plan to "lift damaging restrictions" if there is continued pressure on hospitals.

Quebec's government stated that most COVID-19 restrictions in the province would be lifted by March 14th, with the exception of mask mandates or the vaccine passport system.

Date Of Update: 08 February 2022, 16:49

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