Report: Biden Administration Urges Justin Trudeau to Use Federal Powers Against Trucker Blockade

Trucks lined up at the Blue Water Bridge that connects Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ca
JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration reportedly urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to use federal powers to quell the truck blockade that has halted the flow of auto parts on the Ambassador Bridge.

For the past four days, the Canadian “Freedom Convoy” protests have blocked traffic on the main thoroughfare connecting Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit, forcing auto plants in both countries to either shut down or slow production due to the delay in parts deliveries.

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

“A federal government official said they are not ruling out any options,” AP added. “The official spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak publicly.”

The bridge carries 25 percent of all trade between the United States and Canada; effects of the blockades were immediately felt by automakers and mid-west economies. Per the AP:

Ford said its Windsor engine plant reopened Thursday after being shut down on Wednesday because of a lack of parts. But the factory and the company’s assembly plant in Oakville, Ontario, near Toronto, were operating at reduced capacity, the automaker said.

On the U.S. side, GM sent the first shift home two hours early Thursday at its Flint, Michigan, heavy-duty pickup truck plant due to parts shortages. Stellantis cut short the first shift Friday at its Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio, due to parts shortages.

Honda will temporarily stop production on one assembly line during the day shift Friday at its plant in Alliston, Ontario. It’s because of border delays. U.S. Plants are scheduled to run normally Friday. Toyota said three of its plants in Ontario closed for the rest of the week because of parts shortages, and production also had to be curtailed in Georgetown, Kentucky.

Both Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Teamsters union have denounced the blockades.

“It’s hitting paychecks and production lines. That is unacceptable,” said Whitmer.

Exactly the type of federal powers that Justin Trudeau could employ to stop the blockade was not detailed, though the prime minister has said the military remains off the table for the time being. Local tow truck companies have refused to cooperate with authorities.

A person holds a sign reading "Freedom" as truckers and supporters continue to protest against mandates and restrictions related to Covid-19 vaccines in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on February 5, 2022. - Protesters again poured into Toronto and Ottawa early on February 5 to join a convoy of truckers whose occupation of Ottawa to denounce Covid vaccine mandates is now in its second week. (Photo by Dave Chan / AFP) (Photo by DAVE CHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

A person holds a sign reading “Freedom” as truckers and supporters continue to protest against mandates and restrictions related to Covid-19 vaccines in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Dave Chan / AFP) (Photo by DAVE CHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Matt Mouroun, chairman of the Detroit International Bridge Company, the owner of the Ambassador Bridge, said the blockade “cannot continue any longer” and outlined three ways for the government to end the protest, according to The Independent:

1. End the protest by repealing the mandate and recognising that while the vast majority of truck drivers are vaccinated there are some who for many reasons are choosing not to get vaccinated but deserve to be respected and allowed to do their jobs and serve our countries with dignity.

2. Remove the vehicles blocking the Ambassador Bridge so commerce and trade can resume.

3. Do nothing and hope this ends on its own: an option that will mostly prolong the blockade, further crippling our economy and putting more jobs at risk.

Mouroun hoped that once the conflict came to an end, the United States and Canada can work out an agreement so that the trade thoroughfare does not fall subject to politics again.

Trudeau has remained firm in his commitment to continuing the vaccine mandates and coronavirus protocols as several provincial premiers have decided to scale back restrictions.

“Canadians have the right to protest, to disagree with their government, and to make their voices heard. We’ll always protect that right,” Trudeau tweeted on Tuesday. “But let’s be clear: They don’t have the right to blockade our economy, or our democracy, or our fellow citizens’ daily lives. It has to stop.”

Meanwhile, conservative Ontario Premier Doug Ford has moved to cut off funding for the protests through the site GiveSendGo after the crowdfunding site GoFundMe shut down the original account that raised $7.8 million. In response, GiveSendGo tweeted on Thursday:

Know this! Canada has absolutely ZERO jurisdiction over how we manage our funds here at GiveSendGo. All funds for EVERY campaign on GiveSendGo flow directly to the recipients of those campaigns, not least of which is The Freedom Convoy campaign.

Windsor, Ontario, Mayor Drew Dilkens said during a press conference on Thursday afternoon that he will be seeking an injunction to remove the protesters at Ambassador Bridge. He also said that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has offered to provide tow equipment to remove the vehicles.

“My message is simple: reopen traffic on the bridge,” Whitmer said in a press release. “In Michigan, our economy continues to grow because of our hardworking people and innovative small businesses. Now, that momentum is at risk. Commercial traffic is at a standstill at the Ambassador Bridge and heavily backed up at the Blue Water Bridge.”


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