Day 2 of Ambassador Bridge protest stops vehicles from leaving Michigan and limits Windsor to US traffic

The latest developments:

  • Minister of Emergency Preparedness and Minister of Public Safety provide update on protests in Ottawa, Coutts, Alta., Windsor, Ont.
  • Windsor police said a lane heading to the United States was open and moving very slowly.
  • CBSA says the bridge is ‘temporarily closed’, diverting commercial traffic to the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia.

People protesting pandemic restrictions and lockdowns prevent vehicles from using the Ambassador Bridge for a second day as traffic is halted from Michigan to Windsor, Ontario, and limiting traffic to the United States

The bridge is one of the busiest international land border crossings in Canada and an important route for transport trucks.

Protest cars and trucks lined Huron Church Road in Windsor, the main road connecting Highway 401 to the bridge, on Tuesday. Police are asking people to avoid the area, which has been sealed off since Monday afternoon.

Dozens of vehicles block the area around the bridge in solidarity with protest convoys targeting Ottawa and including other parts of Canada.

An unvaccinated truck driver, Jack Dyck, was among the protesters at the site on Tuesday. He hopes Ottawa will drop the policy that all Canadian cross-border essential workers — including truckers — must show proof of vaccination at a port of entry to avoid testing requirements and quarantine.

“We’re not giving up. This is going to stay until they give up all the warrants, for as long as it takes. We have to do this. We’ll have more reinforcements coming, and we’ll keep the pressure on for as long as it takes. it takes,” he said. , adding that he used to cross for work, but “can’t anymore because of the vaccine.

“I’m not taking the hit and I don’t plan to, and I have a family, I have a home. So I’m like, I just quit for a few weeks. I’m gone for about three weeks I’ve been just doing this, trying and hoping they can let it go so I can get back to work.”

LOOK | Protesters tell CBC News why they are stopping traffic on the bridge:

Protesters say they are ‘fed up’ with COVID-19 restrictions

Protesters tell CBC News they are fed up with COVID-19 restrictions and feel they have no choice but to demonstrate for their freedoms. 1:02

Other protesters told CBC News late Monday night that they had no plans to leave.

“We did the rally on Saturday, Sunday; got here today around one o’clock. … From the looks of it, we’re here to stay,” said Nick Friesen, who is from Leamington, Ont., and had put BBQ on Huron Church Road.

Sam Kovak of Woodslee, Ont., said he was at the protest “for my kids, just to get things back to normal.”

“They didn’t play hockey, it’s a disaster. Get it over with, give us back what we need to live again. [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau, [Ontario Premier] Doug Ford, listen to us.”

Nick Friesen, among the protesters, hosted a barbecue on Huron Church Road in Windsor on Monday evening. (Michael Evans/CBC)

Kovak said he was frustrated after he and his wife started a business – a hockey training camp that teaches mindfulness – believing COVID-19 restrictions had been lifted for good, but could not. survive having to close their doors again.

“I was in Ottawa the last two weekends; everyone I spoke to has been vaccinated. There’s nothing you can do… just set us free,” he said. he declares. “Now we are in exactly the same position [as] two years ago; my children are still sitting at home, my wife is still sitting at home.

“We’re sorry, but we have to take a stand.”

Limited traffic to US has major impact on trade, MP says

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) listed the Ambassador Bridge as “temporarily closed” minutes before midnight Monday, in an update to its border wait times website.

Windsor police were able to keep a U.S.-bound traffic lane open Monday and Tuesday, accessible from a street adjacent to the bridge entrance area. No lanes are open for vehicles to exit the Ambassador Bridge into Canada.

It is not immediately clear why the CBSA would consider the bridge temporarily closed, although one lane is running slowly.

Protesters carry homemade signs on Huron Church Road on Monday. (Michael Evans/CBC)

The Ontario Provincial Police and CBSA are asking cross-border travelers to use the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel and commercial traffic to the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ont., nearly two hours away.

The CBSA reported a two-hour delay for outbound commercial traffic at the Blue Water Bridge on Tuesday afternoon.

Liberal Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk, who condemns the protest, said he was in talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Transport.

“Blocking the Ambassador Bridge is like standing on the windpipe of our community. That’s how serious it is. It’s about impacting jobs. It’s about have an impact on livelihoods,” Kusmierczyk said.

LOOK | According to a Liberal MP, the border closure will have an impact on trade and commerce:

Border closure has major impact on trade, Liberal MP says

Windsor-Tecumseh Liberal MP Irek Kusmierczyk said closing the Ambassador Bridge border will impact people’s jobs and livelihoods. 0:51

Kusmierczyk said the federal government is available for support, but because this is a local problem, local authorities have to deal with it.

“It’s a matter of the police. It continues to be a matter of the police,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra told reporters on Tuesday.

Alghabra said he hoped protesters would stop their demonstrations at the busy border crossing, due to the implications of any delay on livelihoods and the economy.

He said he had offered help from the Ontario transportation minister and Kusmierczyk, but it was not for the federal government to step in.

“[The protest is] just before the border, so for now it continues to be a municipal and provincial jurisdiction. »

According to Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, about $300 million in commercial traffic crosses the border into the city every day, including about 10,000 transport trucks using the Ambassador Bridge.

WATCH | Bridge blocking protests ‘cannot continue’, Windsor mayor says:

Bridge closure protest ‘cannot continue’, says Windsor mayor

The Ambassador Bridge is Canada’s busiest international border crossing, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said, and the protest largely closing it cannot last long, as the bridge is a “vital backbone for the ‘Canadian economy’. 6:39

“It’s one thing to protest and set up shop and be a nuisance on the streets of Ottawa, and another thing to walk down and close the international border crossing where a vast majority of trade goes, so we’re doing our best,” Dilkens told CBC News.

“Windsor Police are doing their best to work with protesters, but I would say you have people making irrational decisions and you’re trying to find and implement a rational solution, but you’re not working with people. rational actors in any case.”

On Tuesday, Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino also provided updates on the situation in Windsor as well as in Ottawa and Coutts, Alta., where similar protests are taking place.

Mendicino told reporters that additional supports have been provided at other Ontario crossings, including Blue Water, to help deal with an influx of rerouted travelers from Windsor.

The minister said he understood how important it was to keep the roads to the bridge open and spoke to Dilkens, Kusmierczyk and NDP Windsor West MP Brian Masse about the issue.

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