Truck Blockade at U.S.-Canadian Border Shuts Auto Plants

February 10, 2022by Rob Gillies and Tom Krisher, Associated Press
Truck Blockade at U.S.-Canadian Border Shuts Auto Plants
Firefighters put out a burning barrel fire as truckers and supporters block the access leading from the Ambassador Bridge, linking Detroit and Windsor, as truckers and their supporters continue to protest against the COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions in Windsor, Ontario, on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — The truck blockade by Canadians protesting the country’s COVID-19 restrictions is tightening the screws on the auto industry, forcing Ford, Toyota and General Motors to shut down plants or otherwise curtail production on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border.

The bumper-to-bumper demonstration entered its fourth day Thursday at the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit, disrupting the flow of auto parts and other products back and forth across the border.

The bridge is the busiest U.S.-Canadian border crossing, carrying 25% of all trade between the two countries.

Ford said its Windsor, Ontario, 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, are operating at reduced capacity, the automaker said.

“This interruption on the Detroit-Windsor bridge hurts customers, auto workers, suppliers, communities and companies on both sides of the border,” Ford said in a statement. “We hope this situation is resolved quickly because it could have widespread impact on all automakers in the U.S. and Canada.”

On the U.S. side, GM canceled the second shift on Wednesday and the first shift Thursday at its midsize SUV factory outside Lansing, Michigan.

Toyota said it will not be able to manufacture anything at three Canadian plants for the rest of this week because of parts shortages. In a statement, the automaker blamed supply chain disruptions, weather and pandemic-related problems, but the shutdowns came just days after the blockade began Monday.

Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, said all of its North American factories were running Thursday, but shortages because of the blockade forced it to shorten shifts at several plants.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration is watching the bridge blockade closely, noting the risk to the U.S. auto industry.

Hundreds of demonstrators in trucks have also paralyzed the streets of downtown Ottawa for almost two weeks, and dozens more have been blocking the border crossing at Coutts, Alberta, railing against COVID-19 restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Freedom Truck Convoy has been promoted and cheered on by many Fox News personalities and attracted support from the likes of former President Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said Wednesday that police had not removed protesters there for fear of inflaming the situation. But he added: “We’re not going to let this happen for a prolonged period of time.”

As of Wednesday, the demonstration involved 50 to 74 vehicles and about 100 protesters, police said.

To avoid the blockade and get into Canada, truckers in the Detroit area have had to drive 70 miles north to Port Huron, Michigan, and cross the Blue Water Bridge, where there was a 4½-hour delay leaving the U.S.

While protesters have been calling for Trudeau’s removal, most of the restrictive measures around the country have been put in place by provincial governments. Those include requirements that people show proof-of-vaccination “passports” to enter restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and sporting events.

Many provinces announced plans this week to remove or relax those restrictions after the surge in omicron cases crested in the country.

Pandemic restrictions have been far stricter in Canada than in the U.S., but Canadians have largely supported them. Canada’s COVID-19 death rate is one-third that of the U.S.

____

Krisher contributed from Detroit.

A+
a-
  • automobile manufacturing
  • blockade
  • Canada
  • Detroit
  • Detroit-Windsor bridge
  • Protests
  • In The News

    Health

    Voting

    In The News

    June 19, 2024
    by Anna Claire Miller
    New Protections Unveiled for Undocumented Spouses and Their Kids

    WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced his administration will offer potential citizenship to any  immigrant without legal status... Read More

    WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced his administration will offer potential citizenship to any  immigrant without legal status who has lived in the country for 10 years and been married to a U.S. citizen for an extended period of time. This new policy could... Read More

    June 18, 2024
    by Tom Ramstack
    Senators Want More Transit Hubs to Help Reduce Housing Costs

    WASHINGTON — A Senate panel strategized Tuesday during a hearing on ways to stimulate transit-oriented development with government funding. Transit-oriented... Read More

    WASHINGTON — A Senate panel strategized Tuesday during a hearing on ways to stimulate transit-oriented development with government funding. Transit-oriented development refers to urban planning that integrates high-density residential, commercial and recreational spaces within walking distance of public transit hubs. It is supposed to give a... Read More

    Record-Breaking US Heat Wave Scorches Midwest as New York Activates the National Guard

    Extreme heat alerts affected tens of millions of people in the United States on Tuesday as cities including Chicago broke... Read More

    Extreme heat alerts affected tens of millions of people in the United States on Tuesday as cities including Chicago broke records at the start of a week of sweltering weather. Midwestern states started to bake Monday in what the National Weather Service called a dangerous and long duration heat... Read More

    June 18, 2024
    by Lauren Zola
    Library of Congress Launches 'Collective Memories' Exhibit

    WASHINGTON — The nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, the Library of Congress, opened a new exhibition last week featuring rare... Read More

    WASHINGTON — The nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, the Library of Congress, opened a new exhibition last week featuring rare artifacts from its voluminous trove of largely unseen national treasures. The exhibition comprises an extensive collection of images, diaries, voice recordings, manuscripts, photographs, art, books and... Read More

    June 18, 2024
    by Kate Michael
    Ukraine Membership and Defense Spending Priorities for NATO 75th Anniversary Summit

    WASHINGTON — Committing to defense spending targets, increasing global partnerships and forging a path forward for Ukraine’s NATO membership are... Read More

    WASHINGTON — Committing to defense spending targets, increasing global partnerships and forging a path forward for Ukraine’s NATO membership are the key points of NATO’s 75th Anniversary Summit to be held in Washington, D.C., in July, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. In advance of... Read More

    June 17, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    UAW Members Approve Contract at Ohio EV Battery Plant

    LORDSTOWN, Ohio — UAW workers at an Ohio plant that supplies the battery cells for General Motors electric vehicles have... Read More

    LORDSTOWN, Ohio — UAW workers at an Ohio plant that supplies the battery cells for General Motors electric vehicles have overwhelmingly approved a new contract that ensures significant raises and better health and safety protections. The new contract for workers at Ultium Cells, a joint venture... Read More

    News From The Well
    scroll top