After nearly a full week of protests, Ambassador Bridge has officially reopened. The critical Canada-U.S. border had been snarled due to protests regarding ongoing COVID-19 measures. The bridge closure had caused numerous delays on both sides of the border.
At midnight, Canada Border Services Agency announced normal border processing had resumed at Ambassador Bridge. Municipal police from around the province were joined by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and members of the Ontario Provincial Police to clear the protestors following Ontario’s declaration of a state of emergency and an injunction granted by a provincial judge on Friday.
On Sunday police moved in on protesters following pressure from officials in Michigan and ongoing conversations between U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. Normally 25 percent of all trade between Canada and the U.S. travels across the Ambassador Bridge which spans from Windsor to Detroit. The protest had caused both Ford, General Motors, and Toyota to shut plants in response to parts shortages due to the bridge closure.
“Today, our national economic crisis at Ambassador Bridge came to an end,” said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens. At least 25 people were arrested for mischief near the bridge after police moved to disperse the demonstrators. The protest at the Ambassador Bridge had been ongoing for nearly a full week in support of the convoy movement in Ottawa against COVID-19 measures.
The protest originally started as a trucker convoy in protest of federal mandates requiring vaccination to cross the border but has quickly morphed into a nationwide resistance against federal and provincial government mandates including vaccination passports and the enforced masking of children in schools. In response, provinces across Canada have begun to walk back measures while Trudeau’s federally ruling Liberal Party prepares to enact the Emergency Measures Act. Rival parties have called Trudeau’s enactment of the never-before-used Emergency Measures Act as “proof of failure of leadership.”
Despite what some outlets say, the movement has become supported by many average blue-collar Canadians who are ready to get back to some semblance of normalcy following nearly two years of pandemic measures. The unrest in Ottawa has been ongoing for the past 18 days.
While truckers crossing the Canada-U.S. border–including Ambassador Bridge–needed to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 15, the federal government is still planning to mandate the inoculation of interprovincial truck drivers as well. A December 7 announcement by federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan announced a mandatory vaccination policy for all federally regulated workplaces which includes truck drivers crossing provincial boundaries. It’s unclear when the federal government plans to move forward with this requirement, Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra refused to address questions regarding the plan during today’s Question Period in the House of Commons.