DETROIT – The busiest international crossing in North America was deserted Thursday night, as Canadian truckers protesting COVID vaccine mandates and mandatory quarantines have essentially blockaded the Ambassador Bridge.
“I’m not weighing in on the substance, I’m not going to get into Canadian government policy, but the fact of the matter is this is compromising and jeopardizing many jobs in the state of Michigan,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
It’s not just the politicians calling for an end to this. Business groups on both sides of the border are calling on the Canadian government to end this now.
Ford Motor Co., General Motors, and Stellantis are already feeling the effects.
“It’s a deteriorating situation, and the longer it persists, the longer it’s going to be to make up for any lost production,” said Matt Blunt, president of the American Automotive Policy Council.
The convoy of about 75 trucks who showed up in Windsor is part of a larger effort in Canada to protest vaccine mandates for the industry. About 500 truckers are still protesting in Ottawa.
So far, the only movement against the protesters is a court order preventing them from honking their horns, which they were doing every hour on the hour.
While the Ambassador Bridge remains closed, traffic has been successfully re-routed to the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron. And while there are still delays, it’s not the 10-mile backup that we saw on Wednesday.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he has been in a series of meetings in what he refers to as the “illegal blockades and occupations,” and that they must come to an end.
Trudeau’s administration is offering up its support to all the provinces that need it.
“A short time ago, Windsor City Council met and has authorized an injunction to be sought, from superior court, to bring about an end to this illegal occupation,” said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens. “The individuals onsite are trespassing on municipal property and, if need be, will be removed to allow for safe and efficient movement of goods across the border.
“To those who are thinking about joining the protest, let me just say this, you are not welcome here. This is a national crisis. And while I don’t agree with the individuals occupying the ambassador bridge, I do appreciate that they are our neighbors. These are folks who have been so disturbed by the pandemic and impacted by the public health restrictions that they have been motivated to take such a dramatic step. Be it here, or on parliament hill, or in Coutts, Alberta, we need to appreciate that these demonstrators are our fellow Canadians and that they have a fundamental right to their views and their opinions. They don’t have a right to affect you or your family’s ability to earn a living, and they’ve gone too far.”