Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the Canadian government needs to work toward opening traffic on a key U.S.–Canada bridge that has been blocked by protesters.
“The blockade is having a significant impact on Michigan’s working families who are just trying to do their jobs. Our communities and automotive, manufacturing, and agriculture businesses are feeling the effects. It’s hitting paychecks and production lines. That is unacceptable,” the Democrat governor said in a statement on Feb. 10.
“It is imperative that Canadian local, provincial, and national governments de-escalate this economic blockade,” she stated. “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.”
In recent days, protesters led by Canadian truckers have amassed on the bridge that connects Detroit, Michigan, to Windsor, Ontario. Like the protesters who gathered in Ottawa and other U.S.–Canada border crossing areas, the protesters are calling for an end to Canadian COVID-19 mandates and rules.
“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,” another U.S.–Canada crossing area.
The closure of the Ambassador Bridge, one of the busiest border crossings in North America and a supply route for Detroit’s carmakers, has U.S. and Canadian officials scrambling to find alternate trade routes to limit economic damage.
“It’s not that we want to do this, but we have to send Ottawa a message because of these terrible mandates that have harmed so many people,” Bernie Berg, who is involved in the bridge protest, told The Epoch Times.
But Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said on Feb. 10 that the protesters might be removed by force.
If the trucker-led “protesters don’t leave, there will have to be a path forward. If that means physically removing them, that means physically removing them, and we’re prepared to do that,” Dilkens said in an interview with CNN.
The Ambassador Bridge was completely shut down in both directions on Feb. 10 at 12 p.m. EST, people at the scene told Reuters.
Asked about the protests, White House economic adviser Brian Deese told MSNBC that U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration was “working in real time to divert cargo—that’s an imperfect solution—either by rail or by other bridges or by water.”
Police in Ottawa, meanwhile, are promising stricter action to end the protests in the main downtown street in front of Parliament, the prime minister’s office, and the Bank of Canada.
Reuters contributed to this report.