Saturday, December 3, 2022

Judge Authorizes Canadian Police To Clear Protesters Blocking Crucial Bridge To U.S.

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Ontario Superior Court Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz granted an injunction beginning 7 p.m. ET Friday to remove truckers protesting Covid-related restrictions  who are blockading  Canada’s Ambassador Bridge, shortly after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned that “everything is on the table” to put an end to the “unlawful” protests that have disrupted auto production and trade between Canada and the United States.

Protesters and supporters set up at a blockade at the foot of the Ambassador Bridge, sealing off the … [+] flow of commercial traffic over the bridge into Canada from Detroit, on February 10, 2022 in Windsor, Canada.

Cole Burston/Getty Images

Key Facts

Protesters attempted to stop the court from issuing an injunction by agreeing Friday to open one lane allowing U.S. traffic into Canada, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The city of Windsor, supported by auto manufacturers like Ford, applied for the court order Thursday, citing the protests’ impact on international trade.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Friday his cabinet would issue steep fines against  demonstrators who block highways or airports and would grant authorities the power to revoke the driver’s licenses of protesters in Ottawa and at the Ambassador Bridge, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Key Background
Protesters have blocked the Ambassador Bridge, which accounts for 25% of trade between Canada and the U.S., since February 7 over a joint U.S.-Canadian rule requiring truck drivers be fully vaccinated to avoid a 14-day quarantine upon reentry from the United States. Though the Canadian government says almost 90% of Canadian truckers are vaccinated, the “Freedom Convoy” has found supporters, raising $8.7 million on Christian fundraising site GiveSendGo after being booted from GoFundMe, where protesters had raised $10 million. Closure of the Ambassador Bridge has impaired hundreds of millions of dollars in trade, according to Canadian Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc, and has cut output at Ford’s engine plant in Windsor and its SUV factory in Oakville, near Toronto. While Trudeau and other Canadian government officials have condemned the “illegal” blockades and other protests that have disrupted commerce, protesters have drawn support from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, former President Donald Trump and from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who suggested the Federal Trade Commission investigate GoFundMe for possibly committing a “deceptive trade practice” in freezing protesters’ funds.

Trudeau, who enjoys a scant 42% approval rating, had previously kept his distance from the protests, which have drawn a polarized response from the Canadian public.

Further Reading
“Supply Chain Issues Could Worsen If Truckers’ Protests Continue” (Forbes)

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