‘Freedom Convoy’: Ontario to declare state of emergency

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a state of emergency in the province at a news conference the morning of Friday, February 11, saying it is necessary to respond to protests and blockades in Ottawa, Windsor and Toronto. He said the protests against public health measures taken to curb the spread of COVID-19 have caused major disruptions in multiple areas of the province in recent weeks.

The blockades continue to shut down parts of Ottawa and the Ambassador Bridge which links Windsor and Detroit. Late Friday afternoon, Chief Justice Geoffrey B. Morawetz of Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice granted an injunction to end the blockade at Windsor’s Ambassador Bridge, to come into effect at 7:00 pm. Friday evening. The injunction was applied for by The Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association and supported by the City of Windsor

Police have responded to protests expected at Queen’s Park in Toronto by closing off several roads in the surrounding area.

At the press conference, Ford said his cabinet will be convened to “urgently enact orders that will make crystal clear it is illegal and punishable to block and impede the movement of goods, people and services along critical infrastructure.”

“This will include protecting international border crossings, 400-series highways, airports, ports, bridges and railways. It will also include protecting the safe and essential movement of ambulatory and medical services, public transit, municipal and provincial roadways, as well as pedestrian walkways,” Ford said.

“Fines for non-compliance will be severe, with a maximum penalty of $100,000 and up to a year imprisonment. We will also provide additional authority to consider taking away the personal and commercial licenses of anyone who doesn’t comply with these orders.”

The premier referred to the situation in Ottawa as a “siege” saying, “This is about a political statement. That’s what this is about.” He said, “It’s an illegal occupation. This is no longer a protest.”

“People want to see action. And that’s what we’re taking,” he said, adding that they “don’t want another table of a bunch of politicians sitting there talking.”

As concerns restrictions in Ontario to deal with the spread of COVID-19, he said the province is “on track to very soon remove almost all restrictions for businesses as a part of our reopening plan.” Ontario is also working on a plan to “remove the vaccine passport system,” he said. “This is great news and a sign of just how far we have come together in this fight,” Ford said. “To the occupiers: please, go home.”

(TML Daily, posted February 11, 2022)

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Value of cross border trade between Canada and the U.S.

Over five million commercial trucks cross the United States-Canada border each year carrying $650 billion in goods traded annually between Canada and the United States.

The privately owned Ambassador Bridge linking Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan is the busiest land border crossing in North America, with up to 10,000 trucks travelling across the bridge daily. Much of the U.S. $12.8 billion annual trade in motor vehicles and auto parts between Canada and the U.S. crosses this bridge. On a daily basis, goods worth an estimated $350-400 million pass over the Ambassador Bridge, amounting to about 27 per cent of all Canadian trade with the U.S.

This includes an estimated $100 million dollars’ worth of auto parts. The U.S. imports approximately $50 million dollars worth of parts per day from Canadian firms, most of which travel over the Ambassador Bridge says Flavio Volpe, president of the (Canadian) Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association.

Fresh produce and other agri-food products make up another significant component of goods that cross the Ambassador Bridge daily. Estimated losses for manufacturers in the region due to delays caused by the blockade of the Ambassador Bridge have been reported by business associations to be around $50 million per day.

The Biden administration has announced that U.S. officials “had multiple conversations on Thursday with their Canadian counterparts about the blockade on the Ambassador Bridge, a major trade artery which connects Windsor, Ont. with Detroit,” the CBC reported.

U.S. federal cabinet and senior administration staff “have been engaged around the clock to bring this to a swift end,” the White House said in response to questions from CBC News.

Other border crossings being blockaded are at Coutts, Alberta and Emerson Manitoba.

Goods worth about $44 million cross at Coutts, Alberta on a daily basis. Meanwhile, the Emerson Crossing in Manitoba continues to be blockaded since Thursday, February 10, by protesters in some semi-trailer trucks, farm equipment, snowploughs and construction machinery. Reports indicate they have begun letting livestock and medical vehicles through.

According to Statistics Canada (StatCan), over the last decade — 2011 to 2021 — exports from Canada to the U.S. increased 44. 5 per cent. Imports increased 39.5 per cent over the same period.

2021 Total exports to the U.S. – $477.85 billion
2011 Total exports to the U.S. – $330.67 billion

2021 Total imports from the U.S. – $392.25 billion
2011 Total imports from the U.S. – $281.11 billion

(TML Daily, posted February 11, 2022. With files from Statcan, Reuters, CBC, Global News)

1 Comment

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One response to “‘Freedom Convoy’: Ontario to declare state of emergency

  1. Pingback: Prime Minister convokes emergency measures: Beware of secret deals and use of police powers against the peoples’ struggles | Tony Seed's Weblog

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