WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Friday about the trucker blockade of key crossings between the two countries, telling his counterpart the protests were causing significant harm to American businesses and consumers.
“The President expressed his concern that U.S. companies and workers are experiencing serious effects, including slowdowns in production, shortened work hours, and plant closures,” the White House said in a statement.
Trudeau told Biden he would take “quick action in enforcing the law,” the White House added.
Trudeau warns truckers: ‘These blockades cannot continue’Feb. 11, 202201:51
Canadian truckers have blocked some of the busiest border crossings between Canada and the United States as part of a protest that initially began in opposition to vaccine mandates for truckers traveling between the two countries. The demonstration has since broadened out to include criticism of Trudeau’s government and coronavirus restrictions imposed across Canada.
The phone call between Biden and Trudeau came on the same day Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency, saying he’ll use all government resources to end a two-week protest. Later on Friday, a judge in Canada ordered protesters to leave the Ambassador Bridge, which connects to Michigan.
“The two leaders agreed that the actions of the individuals who are obstructing travel and commerce between our two countries are having significant direct impacts on citizens’ lives and livelihoods,” the White House said.
The protests threaten to exacerbate an already strained supply chain as the U.S. deals with its highest rate of inflation in 40 years, a major political liability for Biden and congressional Democrats heading into the November midterm elections.
Canada is a key trading partner with the U.S. in areas like automotive parts, food and lumber.
“Whatever their intended, stated purpose is, this effort is going to have, has the potential to have, a huge impact on workers and the American public,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said of the protesters Friday.
Psaki added that Homeland Security officials are taking steps to ensure any similar demonstrations don’t disrupt U.S. trade and transportation, amid reports of a convoy headed toward the Super Bowl this weekend near Los Angeles and then to Washington, D.C., for the State of the Union on March 1.
“On reports this convoy is causing disruptions at the Super Bowl, the Department of Homeland Security is providing additional staff to its incident command post,” Psaki said. “There’s strong cooperation with the California Highway Patrol, the Los Angeles Police Department, and state and local authorities.”