Wed. May 18th, 2022
'Freedom Convoy' in Canada: Blockades at border crossings are coming to an end, but protests persist in Ottawa

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Tuesday that they had “worked with demonstrators at Emerson’s last major blockade” and were expecting their departure Wednesday.

Rob Hill, Chief Superintendent of the RCMP, stated that he is confident that a solution has been reached. He also said that demonstrators would soon leave the area and that access to the Emerson Port of Entry would be restored. statement.
These demonstrations saw trucks and vehicles used to block roadways for up to two weeks in many places. This has left residents frustrated and local businesses hampered. The Canadian federal government also took unprecedented emergency powers.

However, progress has been made in removing the border blocksades.

The bridge that connects Windsor, Ontario, with Detroit was closed for protests on Sunday. It was reopened after being closed down. Highway traffic flows through the Coutts border crossing at Alberta-Montana. Police say that at least 11 people were taken into custody and multiple firearms were confiscated.
Truckers protesting in Washington continue to be defiant and call for the “Freedom Convoy”, which will remain in place until the vaccine mandates and other Covid-19 actions are repealed.
Fact check: Strong majority of Canadians oppose convoy protests, poll after poll finds
Ottawans have been frustrated by the presence of protestors, who agreed to leave residential areas this week and stay on the streets in front of Canada’s national parliament. Officials from the city said Tuesday that Police Chief Peter Sloly was leaving.
In his departure statementSloly expressed appreciation to residents and fellow officers of the law enforcement, and described it as a “difficult trip.”

He said, “Since the beginning of this demonstration has been, I have done every possible to keep this City safe and put an Ende to this unforeseeable and unprecedented crisis.”

Sloly had previously pointed out that enforcement during demonstrations is complex and delicate because of the presence of families within the crowd. According to the chief, he didn’t have sufficient resources to handle such large protests.

US truckers are frustrated by more than Covid-19

Diane Deans, Ottawa Police Services Board Chair, thanked the former chief of police for his service. She opened Tuesday’s meeting by saying that authorities have so far been unable to bring peace in the city.

Deans said that the OPS (Ottawa Police Service), was unable to enforce our laws properly and residents are still terrorized. He added that “I have watched in amazement as this carnival has been allowed to go on.”

CNN received complaints from residents about the chief’s inability to enforce city streets. According to city officials, some protesters have harassed locals and even committed racist and homophobic acts. To alert authorities, a hotline has been established. Police have said they have opened dozens investigations into reports of hate crimes and rock throwing, as well as property damage.
Trucks and protesters block downtown streets near the Parliament Buildings as a demonstration continues Wednesday in Ottawa, Ontario.

Some measures are easier than others

Truck drivers arrived in Ottawa on Jan 29 to protest the government’s policies. new mandateSome protestors are now agitating against the requirement that they be fully vaccinated before crossing the border between Canada and the USA, or facing a two-week quarantine.
An unvaccinated truck driver died from Covid-19. His mom has a message for protesting Canadian truckers

The government stated that four out of five Canadians have been fully vaccinated. Nearly 90% of Canada’s truckers have also been vaccinated and are eligible to cross the border.

Although there is no indication that the trucker vaccination mandate will be removed, Covid-19 safety modifications were made this week. Officials quickly pointed out that the changes were not due to protests but to decreased Covid-19 cases as well as high vaccination rates.

Canada’s minister of health announced Tuesday that PCR tests won’t be required for travelers who are fully vaccinated. They will instead accept rapid tests. Travellers who have not been vaccinated will still need to be tested and placed in a 14-day quarantine.

“I am pleased to announce these changes today as many of you are looking forward to living without restrictions.” Jean-Yves Duclos Federal Minister of Health said, “But, we must still exercise prudence.” “Let me make it clear: We are still fighting the virus.

Canada eases Covid-19 testing rules for vaccinated travelers

According to the British Columbia government, restaurants, nightclubs, fitness centers and movie theatres will return to full capacity by Thursday.

Premier Doug Ford announced Monday that Ontario would drop its mandatory vaccine passport requirements and indoor capacity limits starting March 1, if Covid-19 hospitalization rates improve. He stated that the masking requirements would remain in place for “just slightly longer.”

Ford stated that Ford was clear in his statement: “Let me make it very clear, we are moving in this direction simply because it is safe to do so.” “Today’s announcement does not reflect what’s going on in Ottawa or Windsor. It is despite it.”

Canada and US governments coordinate on protests

According to Marco Mendicino, Canadian Minister for Public Safety, the disruptions at the border crossings have had an impact on both Canada and the US. The two countries are closely cooperating regarding cross-border travel by people who might try to take part in blockades.

Mendicino stated, “The United States monitors carefully the blockades against Canada and we have agreed that we could continue to exchange information and promote the very close cooperation that exists between our CBSA and Customs and Border Patrol so that it can identify any potential persons who may be trying to cross border to advance illegal blockades.”

Additionally, there have been financial consequences.

Canadian government invokes Emergencies Act due to blockades and protests over Covid-19 measures
Minister Chrystia Freeland stated Monday that the blockade at Ambassador Bridge had an impact on commerce worth $390 million per day. The combined effect of the blockades at border crossings in Alberta and Manitoba has been $500 million every day.
Canadian officials moved Monday to give financial institutions the power of freezing personal and corporate accounts if they suspect that the funds are being used for illegal protests. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that he was invoking Canada’s Emergencies Act.

Although the 1988 law can temporarily suspend citizens’ right to free movement and assembly, Trudeau warned at a news conference that “we are not preventing people exercising their right to protest legally.” Trudeau stated that he would not use the military to enforce the provisions of the act.

Trudeau stated that “this law is about keeping Canadians secure, protecting their jobs, and restoring faith and trust in our institutions,” adding that it will be geographically and practically limited.

CNN’s Paula Newton and Jenn Selva, Kelly McCleary and Holly Yan contributed to this report.

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