Canadian trucker blockade

The Freedom Convoy jams downtown Ottowa on Feb. 1 2022, as well as the Ambassador Bridge  an essential chokepoint for trade between Detroit and Canada protesting COVID vaccine mandates. 

(The Center Square) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called on Canada to quickly fix the truck blockade on the Ambassador Bridge, citing harm to Michigan’s economy, including autos, agriculture, manufacturing, and more.

“My message is simple: reopen traffic on the bridge,” Whitmer said in a statement.

“It is imperative that Canadian local, provincial, and national governments de-escalate this economic blockade,” she said. “They must take all necessary and appropriate steps to immediately and safely reopen traffic so we can continue growing our economy, supporting good-paying jobs, and lowering costs for families.”

Since Monday, Canadian truck drivers protesting the Canadian government’s cross-border vaccine requirement have jammed international commerce. The Ambassador Bridge is critical to the auto sector and Motor City’s automobile distribution. The Detroit News reported the blockade of the Ambassador Bridge has already disrupted manufacturing that might lead to layoffs because it is the busiest U.S.-Canada border crossing that facilities more than a quarter of trade between the two countries.

“In Michigan, our economy continues to grow because of our hardworking people and innovative small businesses," Whitmer said. "Now, that momentum is at risk. Commercial traffic is at a standstill at the Ambassador Bridge and heavily backed up at the Blue Water Bridge."

Large trucks can’t squeeze through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, which leaves auto and other essential freight to travel through either the Ambassador Bridge or the Blue Water Bridge connecting Port Huron and Sarnia, Ontario, which has traffic backups as long as seven miles.

"Everyone understands what is at stake when this border crossing is closed," Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said in a Wednesday news conference. "Almost a full third of international trade between the U.S. and Canada crosses at the Ambassador Bridge. If it's closed for an hour, it's noticed by the auto sector immediately, greenhouse sector, and many others. If it's closed for days, people start demanding action. We hear you. We're not going to let this happen for a prolonged period of time."

General Motors Co. on Wednesday canceled the second shift at its Lansing Delta Township, citing logistic problems.

As Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in Ottawa: “I’ve already heard from automakers and food grocers. This is really a serious cause for concern.”

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.