Federal transport minister visits Windsor following Ambassador Bridge blockade
Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra arrived in Windsor this week to speak with those impacted by the six-day blockade of the Ambassador Bridge.
The minister toured Select Tool in Oldcastle Wednesday, speaking with reporters about the costs to business owners and workers, following protests which shuttered international trade across the bridge to the US
Alghabra said Wednesday he’s spoken with City of Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens about the economic toll the closure had.
“I assured the mayor we are listening, as we’ve done in the past we’re here to support the City of Windsor the people of Windsor, and I’ll take back his requests and his feedback with me to my colleagues at the federal government and we can see what we can do,” said Alghabra.
“I assured him we will remain an effective partner with the City of Windsor.”
The minister said there is no formal ask for financial support from the city right now, as officials are working to tally those costs.
More than a week after the bridge reopened to traffic and protesters were removed, portions of Huron Church Road continue to remain blocked with a heightened police presence in the area. Officials are concerned protesters may return.
“I think it’s been challenging for this community, the damage that’s been done is beyond measure … they’re still feeling it right now, and that’s something we wanted to communicate directly to the minister,” said Windsor—Tecumseh Liberal MP Irek Kusmierczyk, who accompanied Alghabra on his visits.
Kusmierczyk said the government took “strong actions” by invoking the never before used Emergencies Act, giving the federal government temporary powers to handle ongoing blockades and protests against pandemic restrictions.
“It really was a very difficult moment for particularly workers who were impacted, truckers, farmers, businesses, so this was a national emergency that we needed to act really quickly,” Alghabra said of invoking the act.
“As soon as those needs for provisions in the Emergencies Act end, we will end the Emergencies Act.”
Now, Kusmierczyck said the focus is about next steps for helping small businesses.
“But at the same time, what do we need to do to make sure this never happens again? To make sure the flow of goods on the Ambassador Bridge is not disrupted for one hour let alone five days,” he said.