By Laura Steiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Windsor Police moved in earlier today and ended the protests that blocked the Ambassador Bridge. The bridge is part of a major trade corridor between Canada and the United States, moving an estimated $300 million in goods back and forth on a daily basis, much of it by truck.
“The biggest impact of this protest is on the small-scale businessman (trucking companies) because of lot of loads are cancelled or late who were going from USA to Canada and Canada to US, due to which they are facing huge loses,” Jewan Sharma said. Sharma is a driver out of Calgary Alberta.
In Canada, the trucking industry runs on logbooks, and each driver is allotted 10 hours of driving time, and then drivers have to pull off the road. The protesters have cost the drivers at Karam trucking in Milton, 6-8 hours worth of wait time at the Ambassador bridge. “It’s the drivers that lose hours of service, and they can’t drive,” Davinder Bhatia explained in a recent interview. It’s caused a lot of confusion among the shippers and receivers as well.
One tactic Sharma saw was protesters slowing down in front of oncoming trucks, that wastes drivers’ time. “They have the right to strike but it does not seem right to force anyone to join and disturb the trucks carrying essential items,” Sharma said. Bhatia thinks the protest doesn’t make sense because they aren’t aware it’s for both sides. “The people doing the protests are not completely aware of reality. If the USA has (a) mandate, then there’s nothing that Canada can do,” he explained. 90% of truckers traveling between the two countries are vaccinated against COVID-19.
Bhatia is calling for unity to end the protests. “We can fight pandemic together, divided we fall apart. Let’s save mankind,” he said.