Federal ministers warned Wednesday that anti-vaccine mandate protests at two key Canada-U.S. border crossings have the potential to seriously disrupt the flow of goods in the days to come.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Ottawa, Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said the blockade at Windsor’s Ambassador Bridge is particularly alarming because a quarter of all Canada-U.S. trade moves through that one crossing, which connects Canada with Detroit and points beyond.
Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of products have been held back for three days as 50 to 75 vehicles and about 100 anti-mandate protesters camp out on the main road that leads on and off the bridge.
The Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) has closed the bridge to commercial traffic temporarily, diverting trucks to the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ont. instead. CBSA is reporting wait times in excess of four hours to make the short trip across to Port Huron, Mich.
“I believe it is very serious and potentially grave. It is already having a huge impact on Canadian industry and Canadian workers,” Blair said of the disruptions.
“We’ve seen the criminal acts, acts of thuggery and the obnoxiousness that they’ve inflicted on the people of Ottawa. Now they’re blocking the highways leading into our ports of entry. They’re putting their foot on the throats of all Canadians.”
Labour unions representing auto workers have reported some idled Windsor plants have sent workers home while the trucker convoy holds up much-needed parts coming from the U.S.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said central Canada could soon see empty store shelves because so much of the region’s fresh food and produce comes into the country across that bridge.
“To be honest, I find it ironic that the same people who were trying to sell Canadians fake stories about empty shelves are now causing those shelves to go empty,” Alghabra said.
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said the protesters appear to be determined to stay. “They feel such a passion for this particular cause that they’re willing to die for it,” he said.
Speaking briefly to reporters before question period, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government is working with Ontario and the City of Windsor to put an end to the blockade.
“We need to stop the blockage of supply chains. Jobs are affected,” he said, adding he’s “very preoccupied” with a protest movement that now threatens to bring trade in some regions to a standstill.
A spokesperson for U.S. President Joe Biden said the White House is watching events in Windsor “very closely” as concerns mount about the protests’ effect on the highly integrated North American auto industry.
“The blockade poses a risk to supply chains for the auto industry because the bridge is a key conduit for motor vehicle components and parts,” Jen Psaki said. “The president is focused on this.”
In a letter signed by dozens of Canadian and U.S. chambers of commerce and major industry groups, business leaders called on all levels of government to “immediately clear” the Windsor and Coutts crossings and bring an end to these “illegal blockades.”
“Given the importance of ensuring that the supply of food, medical products and industrial goods can continue, the disruption at the Ambassador Bridge is an attack on the well-being of our citizens and the businesses that employ them,” the letter reads.
WATCH: PM says he won’t budge on vaccine mandate
The opposition Conservatives blamed Trudeau and his vaccine mandate for the chaos. They called for a “road map” to end federal pandemic restrictions and clear out illegal blockades that are damaging the economy.
“Countries around the world are opening up. Canadians are ready to get their lives back but it seems like the prime minister wants to live in a permanent pandemic,” Conservative interim leader Candice Bergen said, repeating her call for Trudeau to dump vaccine mandates and travel restrictions.
“The prime minister needs to put his ego aside and do what’s right for the country.”
Industry groups have been warning for weeks that the federal vaccine mandate would disrupt supply chains. With 12,000 to 16,000 truckers sidelined by the policy — which requires cross-border essential workers like truckers to either get a shot or face quarantine — there are fewer drivers to make the trip.
But it’s protesters opposed to the policy who have brought traffic to a standstill in both Windsor and Coutts, Alta. — where demonstrators have also blocked the border crossing.
The Coutts port of entry has been largely impassable for nearly two weeks. It’s a major trade hub where millions of dollars worth of agricultural products like meat and feed trade hands each day.
CBSA reported Wednesday that the wait time to cross at Coutts was more than seven hours. The demonstration has continued despite the fact that Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he is dropping the provincial vaccine passport for non-essential businesses — agreeing to a demand made by some of the anti-mandate protesters.
It’s still up to the police, minister says
Asked what the federal government would do to bring these protests to an end, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said the government has convened a “tripartite table” so that federal, provincial and local officials can chart a path forward. He said it’s up to local law enforcement to bring these protests to an end — not the federal government.
“I believe the rule of law has to be upheld. It is the responsibility of the police to do that. We’ve seen many instances of lawbreaking here and we’ll not direct the police but we have every expectation that they’ll do their job,” he said.
Mendicino also pledged to work with the provinces to deploy more police officers to Windsor and Coutts as required.
As the anti-mandate protest spreads from its original epicentre in Ottawa, the situation in the nation’s capital remains tenuous.
A provincial judge has issued an injunction against incessant honking by truckers and their supporters. But hundreds of protesters’ vehicles are still in place on the city’s main streets and demonstrators are still refusing to move, despite pleas from police and politicians.
CBC News continues to follow the anti-mandate protests happening across the country. Protesting truckers and their supporters have been communicating using a walkie-talkie app called Zello. Tonight on The National, you’ll hear some of their thoughts — which reveal a wide gulf between how they see themselves and how their critics view them. Stay with CBC News for breaking updates and watch The National tonight at 9, 10 and 11 Eastern on CBC News Network.
Canada Day Ottawa: Ottawa police prepare for festivities, possible protests | CTV News – CTV News Ottawa
Police officers in cruisers and on bicycles are patrolling downtown Ottawa and the Parliamentary Precinct today, as the city prepares for Canada Day festivities and possible protests against COVID-19 mandates and the federal government.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to visit downtown Ottawa and the LeBreton Flats area over the next few days to celebrate Canada’s 155th birthday. Canadian Forces veteran James Topp will also complete his cross-country march at the National War Memorial, as he protests the remaining COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
At LeBreton Flats, there was a very strong security presence Friday morning as preparations continued for the Canadian Heritage Canada Day festivities. The Canada Day daytime show begins at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, while the evening show begins at 7:30 p.m.
Ottawa police interim Chief Steve Bell says the increased police presence will remain in place through the weekend.
“We’ve talked for a number of days about all the planning and preparation we have and the expectation of people attending,” Bell told CTV News Ottawa. “I think what you’re seeing is those plans coming into action and us being out there and vigilant around who’s attending, and trying to make sure people that understand it’s a safe place on Canada Day and you should come down and enjoy the festivities.”
On Wednesday, officers stopped a small convoy of vehicles in the area of Pinecrest Road and Hwy. 417 and several tickets were issued. Bell defended the actions of officers to stop vehicles in the capital region.
“We actually have good legal grounds for the plans we’ve put in place. We make sure that we stay on legal grounds because that’s very important as a police service,” Bell said. “We’re comfortable with the posture we’re taking and the actions officers are taking, and it’s all in the name that we ensure public safety and we can have a good, festive Canada Day.”
JAMES TOPP ARRIVES IN OTTAWA
Canadian Forces veteran James Topp will finish his cross-country march to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates this evening at the National War Memorial.
The final leg of his journey began at 1811 Robertson Road at 10 a.m. Topp is scheduled to arrive at Hog’s Back Park at 1:30 p.m. and finish his march at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider at 6 p.m.
“We have been in contact with Mr. Topp and his group and have plans in place to ensure that he can safely and lawfully move from the west end of the city down to the Parliament Hill buildings,” interim chief Bell said on Monday.
Speaking in Ottawa last week, Topp said a number of groups that formed out of the Freedom Convoy had come together to protest the federal government.
“What I would like to see with the establishment of C3 – the Canadian Citizens Coalition is for us to have further conversations about the way forward, about the way of the future, of what we see Canada being and becoming,” said Topp.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds will not be taking part in Canada Day festivities in Ottawa.
The Royal Canadian Air Force announced the Snowbirds fly-past over Ottawa on Friday has been cancelled, following a problem with the aircraft’s emergency ejection parachute that grounded the fleet for nearly a week.
Visitors to Parliament Hill will need to pass through a security checkpoint, and be searched by a Parliamentary Protective Service officer.
A sign on the fence along Wellington Street says several items are restricted, including tables, speakers, barbecues, aerosols, weapons, fireworks and sporting equipment.
MOTOR VEHICLE CONTROL ZONE
A motor vehicle control zone remains in effect around the Parliamentary Precinct, downtown Ottawa and roads near LeBreton Flats.
The zone stretches from Colonel By Drive/Sussex Drive in the east, Booth Street in the west, Laurier Avenue in the south and Wellington Street in the north, along with the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway and Albert Street west of Booth Street.
The roads in the motor vehicle control zone are not closed today; however, motor vehicles taking part in any form of demonstration, event or protest will not be permitted in the area. There will be no on-street parking or stopping on roads in the control zone.
The city of Ottawa says a motor vehicle control zone will be in effect from Wednesday at 8 a.m. until July 4 at 6 a.m. (City of Ottawa/Twitter)
TICKETING AND TOWING VEHICLES
Ottawa Bylaw and Regulatory Services says officers are out ensuring all parking regulations are observed in the motor vehicle control zone.
“All vehicles found failing to observe the no-stopping zones will be ticketed and towed. Parking time limits and no parking zones outside the centre core will also be strictly enforced,” the city said.
Between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Ottawa Bylaw says 120 parking tickets were issued and 28 vehicles were towed in the vehicle control zone.
Ottawa Bylaw will also be focusing on the following bylaws to ensure residents and visitors obey the rules over the Canada Day weekend.
- No unnecessary motor-vehicle or other noise, including speakers or shouting
- No unnecessary motor-vehicle idling
- No encumbering a sidewalk or roadway by any means, including setting up tents or other illegal structures
- No public urination and defecation
- No open air fires
- No littering
- Discharging of fireworks – contravening any regulations under Fireworks By-Law.
Ottawa City Hall and the underground municipal parking facility will be closed all weekend.
City Hall and the parking structure will be closed from 5 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. on Monday.
Tips for starting online betting safely
Sports betting has been part of the entertainment world for a long time now, but it has become even more popular now. This is because of the internet and especially online betting. It has increased the number of opportunities for betting and now people don’t need to leave their homes to have fun.
The internet has some of the most popular options such as NFL Week 1 odds and more rare possibilities. Because of this diversity, you can be sure that you can find an option fitting your taste. But if you have never bet on sports online before, you need to know how to do so safely. This article will help you with this.
There are many different interesting sports to follow
The world is full of different types of sports, which means that there will be one that will entertain you. Even if you are only looking for Canadian sports, there are still many different fantastic possibilities. This obviously means that there are also plenty of different possibilities regarding betting as well.
Even though there are many exciting opportunities for betting, you need to only bet on sports that you are familiar with. If you know everything there is to know about the sport, it will be easier for you to place your bets. Therefore it’s a much safer way to bet. If you are interested in specifically betting on a game that you don’t know too well yet, you should do some research.
Choose a safe betting site
Not only do you need to bet in a safe way, but you also need to choose a safe betting site. There are many different options when it comes to different betting sites, so you have a lot of options to choose from.
If you don’t know how to recognize safe betting sites, you don’t have to worry. There are plenty of different guidebooks specifically about this online. You can also use different websites that introduce popular and safe betting sites for the players. This will make the search process much easier.
What is the best betting site for you?
As we said, there are many different betting sites. Not only do you need to choose a safe option, but you also need to find one that is the best for you. And how can you know which is the best for you?
Simply by thinking about what you are looking for. It doesn’t matter what type of betting site you choose, as long as it fits you and it’s safe, it’s a good choice.
Spouse of gunman to testify at N.S. shooting hearings but won’t be cross-examined
HALIFAX — The spouse of the gunman in the Nova Scotia mass shooting will testify mid-July before a public inquiry, but she won’t face direct questions from lawyers representing victims’ families.
Lisa Banfield, on the advice of her lawyers, had initially refused to speak under oath at the hearings into the 22 killings carried out by her spouse on April 18-19, 2020.
However, she changed her stance after a criminal charge laid against her for supplying ammunition to the killer was referred to restorative justice.
The public inquiry said today in a news release that due to Banfield’s status as a “survivor of the perpetrator’s violence,” only the inquiry’s lawyer will be asking her questions during her July 15 appearance.
Josh Bryson, a lawyer for the family of victims Peter and Joy Bond, says his clients are losing faith in the credibility of the inquiry.
Bryson says the families’ lawyers have been polite and respectful throughout the hearings, adding that it is frustrating to be denied the opportunity to pose direct questions to key witnesses.
“Cross-examination can make or break a witness’s evidence … You test the evidence in a meaningful and trauma-informed way,” he said in an interview today.
The inquiry has also refused to allow cross-examination of Staff Sgt. Brian Rehill and Staff Sgt. Andy O’Brien, who were the first RCMP managers overseeing the response to the shootings.
Emily Hill, senior commission counsel, says participatinglawyers can submit their questions in advance and can provide follow-up questions to the inquiry’s lawyer to ask during the single day set aside to hear Banfield.
Banfield’s evidence could provide further information about the killer’s personal history and state of mind and may also be key to the commission’s mandate to examine the “role of gender-based and intimate-partner violence” in the killer’s actions.
The inquiry has heard she was the last person with the gunman before he went on his rampage. The killer allegedly assaulted her and confined her in a car, but she managed to escape. She fled into the woods and hid before emerging the next morning and telling police the killer was driving a replica RCMP vehicle.
The RCMP have said from the outset that Banfield wasn’t aware of her spouse’s intentions when she provided him with ammunition, but they proceeded with charges alleging she, her brother and her brother-in-law had illegally transferred ammunition to the killer.
During a briefing this morning, the commission confirmed that senior RCMP officers, including Supt. Darren Campbell, Chief Supt. Chris Leather, assistant commissioner Lee Bergerman and Commissioner Brenda Lucki will testify in July and August — under oath and subject to cross-examination.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2022.
The Canadian Press
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