Canada ‘freedom convoy’ bridge blockade cost $300m

CEO of economic research group says border ‘probably the most important’ globally

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 16 February 2022 13:54
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‘It’s intimidating’: Ottawa residents furious about Canada trucker protests

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Canada’s biggest car manufacturers and their employees reportedly lost more than $300m (£221m) from a border closure last week.

The estimate, which was the result of research carried out by Anderson Economic Group and published on Monday, said car manufacturers and their employees both lost about $150m (£110m) each.

Autoworkers in Michigan, on the US side of the border, were said to have lost the most from the protests that forced companies including Ford and Toyota to cease production.

Both employees and supplies were disrupted by a blockade of the Ambassador Bridge crossing connecting Detroit, Michigan with Windsor, Ontario.

“The border between Michigan and Canada that runs right along the city of Detroit is the site for probably the most important volume of trade between any two countries in the world,” said Patrick Anderson, the principal and CEO of Anderson Economic Group on Tuesday.

He told the Detroit Free Press: ”The auto industry for the last half-century has treated that border as a temporary obstacle, as an obstacle to be traversed quickly and to allow a tremendous set of assembly plant workers and suppliers on in both the United States and Canada to work efficiently together.”

So called “freedom convoy” protesters were able to close the crossing for about a week, and were finally removed by police on Sunday when arrests were carried out. The protesters – who have also blockaded streets in Ottawa for almost three weeks – oppose a Canadian vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers.

Demonstrations have since turned into a wider protest against all Covid restrictions – despite Canadian provinces and US states beginning to lift remaining restrictions introduced as a result of the ongoing health crisis.

The Ambassador Bridge crossing accounts for roughly 25 per cent of all US-Canada trade and its closure had caused the White House to warn of a “widespread damaging impact” from the protests and delays in trade.

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