Highways, Bridges and Roads

Biden administration presses Canada to use federal powers to end truck blockade

Protesters stand on a bridge in Canada as trucks drive under.
Arthur Mola/Invision/AP
Protesters show their support for the Freedom Convoy of truck drivers who are making their way to Ottawa to protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates by the Canadian government on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, in Vaughan. 

The Biden administration pressed the Canadian government Thursday to use its power to end the truck blockade caused by protesters demonstrating against COVID-19 restrictions, The Associated Press reported.

The “Freedom Convoy” protests blocked the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, for four days in a row. The protests originally started in Ottawa but have expanded to three border crossings over a requirement for truckers to be vaccinated to cross the U.S.-Canada border.

The days-long situation has forced auto plants on the U.S.-Canada border to modify their operations or shut down.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg discussed the issue with Canadian officials, asking them to help shut down the border blockades, according to the wire service.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police are being sent to Windsor, Ottawa, and Coutts, Alberta, two cities experiencing blockades.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the government is willing to “respond with whatever it takes” for protests to subside and transportation to return to normal, according to AP. 

Trudeau spoke with protest leaders Thursday as well as the mayor of Windsor, Drew Dilkens.

The mayor announced that Windsor is seeking a court injunction to shut down protests, saying, “The economic harm is not sustainable and it must come to an end.”

The Department of Homeland Security received reports that truckers on the U.S. side of the border are planning to organize similar protests that would “potentially block roads in major metropolitan cities.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford recently asked a court to freeze donations to the protests, which he calls an “occupation,” collected through a crowd-funding website called GiveSendGo. The millions of dollars donated through the site were successfully cut off, according to AP.

GoFundMe, another crowd-funding source, also cut off funding to the protest due to “unlawful activity.” The GoFundMe page had also raised millions.

The Hill has reached out to the Canadian Embassy in the U.S. for confirmation. 

Tags Alejandro Mayorkas Justin Trudeau Pete Buttigieg
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