The blockade at Windsor’s Ambassador Bridge, the largest trade route between Canada and the U.S., is getting worse as it enters its fourth day.
Windsor police were able to keep one side of the street entrance to the bridge open during the first three days of the protest, however, overnight Wednesday and Thursday morning protesters blocked an area of the street which forced transport truck and other vehicles to halt right in the city’s downtown core.
There is no access into Canada coming from the U.S. via the Ambassador Bridge, and the bridge is still “temporarily closed,” according to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
Commercial vehicles are being directed to the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ont.,, but a portion of Highway 402 en route to that international crossing has been blocked since Thursday by protesters with farming equipment and other vehicles, the CBC reports. And the Blue Water Bridge itself is experiencing major delays, up to three hours, for commercial traffic.
The protests calling for an immediate cancellation of all pandemic restrictions continue despite widespread condemnation from most of the mainstream political parties and industry associations, including all of the major national and provincial trucking associations.
“The blockades in Windsor and Ottawa are endangering jobs, impeding trade, threatening the economy, and obstructing our communities. They must stop. I spoke about that with [Premier Doug Ford] tonight – our teams will keep working to support Ontarians and get the situation under control,” Justin Trudeau tweeted.
Meanwhile Ford tweeted: “We will continue working together to support our police forces as they manage these situations. We both agreed this must come to an end.”
But at the moment the situation is getting progressively worse. The CBC has just reported that protesters in semi-trailer trucks, farm equipment and other vehicles have blocked all highway lanes at Manitoba’s main Canada-U.S. border crossing.
The border at Coutts in Alberta meanwhile has been largely impassable for two weeks due to another trucker blockade.
Federal ministers have warned that the protests at key Canada-U.S. border crossings have the potential to greatly disrupt the flow of goods for supply chains that have already been severely tested by two years of the pandemic. The concern is particularly acute for what is happening in Windsor as one quarter of all Canada-U.S. trade moves through that crossing.
“I believe it is very serious and potentially grave. It is already having a huge impact on Canadian industry and Canadian workers,” said Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair during a press conference yesterday.