Truckers who oppose coronavirus mandates risk damaging the auto sector and agriculture by blocking border crossings between the United States and Canada, the White House said Wednesday as Ford halted some production and Ottawa urged to put end to the 13-day protests. Many pandemic-weary Western countries will soon mark two years of restrictions as copycat protests spread to Australia, New Zealand and France now that the highly infectious Omicron variant begins to decline in some places.
Full-volume protests have been causing gridlock in the capital, Ottawa, since late January, and since Monday night, truckers have shut down traffic entering Canada on the Ambassador Bridge, a supply route for manufacturers. Detroit Auto & Farm Products. Production has been affected at Ford Motor Co (FN) and Chrysler maker Stellantis (STLA.MI). Another border crossing, in the province of Alberta, has been closed in both directions since Tuesday afternoon.
Beginning as a “Freedom Convoy” occupying downtown Ottawa and opposing a US government-mirrored vaccination or quarantine mandate for truckers crossing the border, protesters also voiced their grievances about a carbon tax and other laws. “I think it’s important for everyone in Canada and the United States to understand what the impact of this lockdown is, the potential impact, on workers, on the supply chain, and that’s where we’re most focused,” said Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the White House. she said Wednesday.
“We are also looking to track potential disruptions to US agricultural exports from Michigan to Canada.” Washington is working with authorities across the border to divert traffic to the Blue Water Bridge, which links Port Huron in Michigan with Sarnia in Ontario, amid concerns the protests could turn violent, she told reporters. Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem called for a quick resolution.
“If there were prolonged lockdowns at key points of entry into Canada, that could start to have a measurable impact on economic activity,” he said. “We already have a tight global supply chain. We don’t need this.” The protests also disrupted work and “must end before more damage occurs,” Canada’s Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair told reporters.
The bridge closure has already caused a parts shortage at automaker Stellantis’ assembly plant in Windsor, Ontario, where it makes Chrysler vehicles. The company said it had to end shifts early on Tuesday, but the plant was able to resume production on Wednesday morning.
Ford has suspended engine production at Windsor while its Oakville factory near Toronto operates on a reduced schedule, as it warned that the closure of the Ambassador Bridge “could have a widespread impact on all automakers in the US.” . and Canada”. The auto industry is also struggling with a lack of semiconductor chips around the world.
The protesters say they are peaceful, but some Ottawa residents have said they were attacked and harassed. In Toronto, the streets were being blocked. “We continue to know that rules and guidance from science and public health are the best way for this pandemic to be the way we’re going to get to the other side,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
The issue has caused a sharp divide between ruling Liberals and opposition Conservatives, many of whom have expressed outspoken support for protesters in Ottawa and accuse Trudeau of using the mandate issue for political gain. The White House on Wednesday expressed concern about the possible economic impact of protests by the anti-vaccine movement in Canada, which blocks downtown Ottawa and the main border point with the United States with heavy trucks.
“It’s important for everyone in the United States and Canada to understand the potential impact of this blockade on supply chains and workers (who need to cross the border),” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at her daily news briefing. Groups of anti-vaccine truckers keep blocked for the third consecutive day the Ambassador Bridge, which connects the city of Windsor (Ontario, Canada) with Detroit (Michigan, USA), and is the busiest between the two countries. EFE.