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Canadian truck drivers protesting COVID-19 regulations caused automakers to pump the brakes on production as the “Freedom Convoy” continued to halt traffic at the Ambassador Bridge that connects Detroit with Windsor, Ontario Wednesday.
The economic disruption drew condemnations from US and Canadian officials as the protest that began snarling traffic in Ottawa last month also shut down a border crossing between Alberta and the US. More than two-thirds of the $511 billion in goods traded between the two nations every year are driven across the border.
Major auto manufactures said they would suspend production as the protesters blocked inbound Canadian traffic at the Detroit supply route for a third day. Toyota said it would suspend vehicle production at its Ontario site for the rest of the week. Ford and Chrysler’s automaker Stellantis also said output at two Canadian plants would be halted.
“I think it’s important for everyone in Canada and the United States to understand what the impact of this blockage is – potential impact – on workers, on the supply chain, and that is where we’re most focused,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Wednesday.
“We’re also looking to track potential disruptions to US agricultural exports from Michigan into Canada.”
The US was trying to reroute border traffic to a less-traveled Michigan crossing, as Bank of Canada Gov. Tiff Macklem called on the protestors to stand down.
“If there were to be prolonged blockages at key entry points into Canada that could start to have a measurable impact on economic activity,” Macklem said.
“We’ve already got a strained global supply chain. We don’t need this.”
Canada’s Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said the protests “must end before further damage occurs.”
Ottawa residents have said truck drivers have attacked and harassed them — as congestion from the convoy spread to Toronto amid a police crackdown in the nation’s capital.
Truck drivers said they were peacefully protesting government vaccine mandates and regulations.
“This crosses all genders, all races, all sexual orientations, all occupations. Truckers might be standing up, but it’s not about the truckers. It’s about America,” organizer Brian Brase told Fox News last week.
Some leaders of the opposition Conservative Party had supported the truckers, and claimed COVID-19 regulations were politically motivated, an assertion that was shot down by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“We continue to know that science and public health rules and guidance is the best way to this pandemic is the way we’re going to get to the other side,” said Trudeau, a Liberal.
With Post wires