Manufacturers’ association says lockdowns are taking a toll on Alberta’s economy

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The Association of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters is calling for an immediate end to truck blockades at borders and says some businesses in Alberta’s energy sector are just days away from closure.

The CME said the blockades, including those in Coutts, Alta., mean critical supplies like steel and electrical components are sitting at the border and taking longer to arrive as truckers try to skirt the protests or orders being canceled altogether .

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Vice President David MacLean said it has a major impact on Alberta’s oil and gas manufacturing sector and our economy as a whole.

“We estimate the impact over the past two weeks is about $600 million, about $44 million per day crossing the border in both directions,” MacLean said.

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“The impact on Alberta’s economy is significant, both for local manufacturers and exporters. The US is our largest market, so removing this deadlock is critical.”


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Alberta’s border blockade remains adamant, demanding the lifting of statewide mandates


Alberta’s border blockade remains adamant, demanding the lifting of statewide mandates

He said time is of the essence.

“If manufacturers cannot supply the materials needed for oil and gas, it will eventually impact our largest sector, which is our energy industry… it will be days, not weeks, before we start seeing shutdowns.”

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The CME and the Canadian Trucking Alliance have written a joint letter to the federal government calling for action to end the standoff.

“Our country’s truck drivers involved in these lockdowns are at personal risk and manufacturers who depend on trucking services are being forced to close,” the letter said.

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“We must restore Canada’s image as a good place to invest and do business, and ensure our trucking and manufacturing industries continue to thrive.”

MacLean said the groups met with Canada’s transport minister this week and he was reassured the government was aware of the extent of the impact.


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Alberta farmer beef with the Coutts blockade


Beef from ranchers in Alberta with the Coutts Blockade – February 3, 2022

Alberta’s cattle industry is also suffering.

Since 80 percent of Canada’s beef is produced here, the president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association is calling for an end to the protest.

“I think it’s gone too far now. It’s starting to disrupt commerce, it’s starting to disrupt commerce,” said Bob Lowe.

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On Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency in response to the ongoing illegal occupation in Ottawa and the barricade of the Windsor-Detroit bridge.

The Ontario Superior Court also issued an injunction preventing protesters from blocking the Ambassador Bridge.

The Alberta government has no intention of following Ontario down the same path.


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Trucker protests: what is the economic impact of the anti-mandates demonstrations?


Trucker protests: what is the economic impact of the anti-mandates demonstrations?

A statement from Prime Minister Jason Kenney’s press secretary said the government is leaving enforcement and operational decisions to Alberta’s RCMP.

“These blockades must end, period, and the government has made it clear that that is our position,” Justin Brattinga wrote in an email. “Blocking critical infrastructure like freeways is against the law and Alberta has given the RCMP the tools they need to end the blockade, including the Critical Infrastructure Defense Act.”

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Earlier in the week, Acting Justice Minister and Attorney General Sonya Savage said the province was considering a civil injunction against those who barricaded the Coutts border crossing.

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Injunction to prevent protesters from blocking Ambassador Bridge

As of Tuesday, however, the province had not applied for a restraining order.

“At the moment we don’t see any need for this – the situation is developing,” she said on Tuesday. “But applying for a restraining order is an additional tool that we could bring if it would help end the lockdown.”

The northbound and southbound lanes at the Coutts-Sweetgrass border crossing remain closed.

– with files from Heather Yourex-West and Adam Toy of Global News and The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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