Multiple blockades at some of the busiest routes linking Canada to the United States are disrupting supply chains of major car companies, leading to production stoppages and fanning alarm that protests in Canada are threatening the country’s economy and trade with the United States, its biggest trading partner.
Automakers, who have already been suffering from a global shortage of semiconductors needed to power their cars, are being particularly affected by the partial shutdown of the Ambassador Bridge, which links Detroit, Mich., with Windsor, Ontario, and accounts for roughly a quarter of the trade between the two countries.
Trucks make thousands of trips across the bridge each day in both directions, carrying $300 million worth of goods, about a third of which are related to the automobile industry, a major employer across the Midwest and Ontario.
The blockades are a spillover from demonstrations in Canada’s capital of Ottawa, which began nearly two weeks ago when loosely organized groups of truck drivers and others converged on the city to protest vaccination requirements for truckers crossing into Canada from the United States. In addition to the blockades, the protests have morphed into a battle cry against pandemic restrictions in general and the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.Mr. Trudeau said on Thursday that the protests were undermining businesses, supply chains and the Canadian economy, and he reiterated his repeated call for them to end.
With protests in Ottawa and blockades in other parts of Ontario, the protests have presented a challenge to stretched law enforcement trying to tame them. On Thursday, Ottawa police also warned on Twitter that its 911 lines were being inundated with nonurgent calls. “This puts lives in danger and is totally unacceptable,” it wrote on Twitter.
The mayor of Windsor, Drew Dilkens, said Thursday that his city council has authorized an injunction be sought from superior court “to bring about an end to this illegal occupation.” “The individuals on site are trespassing on municipal property” he added. If necessary, they “will be removed to allow for the safe and efficient movement of good cross the border.”
Marco Mendicino, Canada’s minister of public safety, said on Thursday that The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the national police, were sending additional officers to Ottawa and Windsor, and to the border crossing in Coutts, Alberta, where protests are underway.
Local news reports also said that a group of protesters had gone to Ottawa International Airport on Thursday morning, honking horns and driving around the airport.
As the border blockades in Ontario continued, Said Deep,…