US urges Canada to use federal powers to end blockade protests at border

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Posted at 7:18 AM, Feb 11, 2022

TORONTO — The Biden administration urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government Thursday to use its federal powers to end a truck blockade by Canadians protesting the country's COVID-19 restrictions.

The protesters are blocking travel from the U.S. into Canada at key border crossings, most notably at the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit with Windsor, Ontario. Bumper-to-bumper demonstrations there are entering their fifth day.

The blockade is tightening the screws on the auto industry, forcing Ford, General Motors and other car companies to shut down plants or otherwise scale back production on both sides of the U.S. border.

The bridge is responsible for 25% of all trade between the United States and Canada. According to the bridge company, nearly 8,000 trucks carry more than $323 million in goods across the bridge every single day. About $100 million of that is auto parts, engines and vehicles.

The White House said Thursday that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg spoke with their Canadian counterparts and urged them to help resolve the standoff, according to The Associated Press.

Scripps station WXYZ in Detroit reports that the mayor of Windsor filed a motion for an injunction against the protests on Thursday afternoon. That hearing will take place Friday at noon ET.

"We've put a request in to both our provincial and federal governments asking for more boots on the grounds, send us more police officers," Dilkens said. "We hope at the end of the day we can get compliance from the people who are on the ground. They have certainly made their point."

The Freedom Convoy is a protest led by truckers who are against Canada's rules that require commercial drivers coming into the country to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face regular testing.

This story was originally published by Jenn Schanz on Scripps station WXYZ in Detroit. Additional reporting by the Associated Press.