US encourages Canada to use ‘federal powers’ against protesters – media
The White House has reportedly called on the Canadian government to employ “federal powers” to shut down trucker Covid-19 protests in Ottawa and elsewhere, offering the “full support” of the US Department of Homeland Security.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported on Thursday that members of the Biden administration – including Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas – “held a series of high level calls with their Canadian counterparts, urging them to use their federal powers to end the blockades.”
The CBC also reported that members of the Biden administration had offered Canada “the full support of the Department of Homeland Security” to deal with the protests.
In a statement to the CBC, the White House claimed US officials had been “engaged around the clock” to bring the protest “to a swift end.”
Truckers protesting Covid-19 restrictions in Canada, which require them to be fully vaccinated or undergo quarantine every time they cross the US border, have blockaded the Ambassador Bridge which connects Windsor, Ontario to Detroit, Michigan – creating heavy economic losses and angering officials on both sides of the border.
Trudeau’s public safety minister on Wednesday called the bridge protests illegal, accusing the truckers and their supporters of “hurting Canadians.”
Protesters have also camped outside Canada’s Parliament in Ottawa for several weeks, calling on the government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reverse the country’s Covid-19 policies and mandates.
Trudeau and other government officials, however, referred to the protesters as a “fringe minority” and extremists, while police in Ottawa have threatened to arrest protesters and anyone who provides them with “material support” such as fuel. Hundreds of protesters responded to the police threats this week by marching through Ottawa carrying fuel cans – many of which were empty or contained water instead of gasoline.