A rapidly growing list of Canadian provinces moved to lift their COVID-19 restrictions as protesters decrying virus precautions kept up the pressure with truck blockades Wednesday in the capital and at key U.S. border crossings, including the economically vital bridge to Detroit.
Alberta Saskatchewan, Quebec and Prince Edward Island announced plans this week to roll back some or all measures, with Alberta, Canada’s most conservative province, dropping its vaccine passport for places such as restaurants immediately and getting rid of masks at the end of the month.
Alberta opposition leader Rachel Notley accused Alberta Premier Jason Kenney of allowing an “illegal blockade to dictate public health measures.”
Protesters have been blocking the border crossing at Coutts, Alberta, for more than a week and a half. About 50 trucks remained there Wednesday.
Also, more than 400 trucks have paralyzed downtown Ottawa Canada’s capital, in a protest that began late last month.
And a blockade by people mostly in pickup trucks entered its third day at the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. Traffic was prevented from entering Canada, while some U.S.-bound traffic was still moving.
The bridge carries 25% of all trade between Canada and the U.S., and Canadian lawmakers expressed increasing worry about the economic effects.
The “freedom truck convoy” has been promoted by Fox News personalities and attracted support from many U.S. Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, who called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a “far left lunatic” who has “destroyed Canada with insane Covid mandates.”