Trucker protests in Emerson, Manitoba continue through Monday
The blockade of trucks, farm equipment and other vehicles on the Canadian side of the Pembina-Emerson border crossing continues as Canadian truckers protest Canadian and American vaccine requirements to cross the border.
PEMBINA, N.D. — The blockade of trucks, farm equipment and other vehicles on the Canadian side of the Pembina-Emerson border crossing continues as Canadian truckers protest Canadian and American vaccine requirements to cross the border .
On Monday afternoon, Feb. 14, the Pembina Port of Entry was nearly empty, with no vehicles driving towards Canada, and a single truck coming from Canada. A U.S. border patrol officer in the Pembina Port of Entry confirmed on Monday that since Feb. 10, all commercial and passenger traffic was barred from entering Canada by the blockade , and only a few agricultural trucks were allowed through the blockade into the U.S. Otherwise, the blockade had shut down all traffic through the station.
Waldemar Jutisch was one of few truckers able to make it across the border into the U.S. on Monday afternoon. The blockade let him through because he was hauling piglets, he said.
“The only thing is the way back,” said Jutisch.
After dropping the piglets off in the U.S., Jutisch has to return to Manitoba with an empty trailer, and without livestock, the blockade in Emerson will likely not let him through. Instead he will have to return to Canada at another port of entry.
Jutisch says he supports the protests, but disagrees with protesters not allowing any commercial traffic to cross the border.
“I’m all for protests, but there is a limit,” said Jutisch. “There is no truck allowed in or out, and we trade with the U.S. a lot.”
A media representative from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told the Herald there were no updates on the blockade since its last on Sunday. On Sunday at 2:30 p.m., the RCMP reported that approximately 75 vehicles were participating in the blockade, blocking all four lanes of Highway 75 at Provincial Road 200.
As of Sunday, no tickets had been issued and no arrests had been made, according to the release from the RCMP.
At Mike’s Parcel in Pembina, the blockade has cut off most customers, said owner Mason Peters. Mike’s Parcel is a storage warehouse housing items that Canadian citizens purchased from the U.S. Before the pandemic, Canadian citizens could cross the border and pick up items they had delivered to his business to avoid international shipping fees. Peters also works with commercial carriers, but since Thursday, none of his customers have been able to make it through the Pembina-Emerson crossing.
“The government policies for two years have destroyed more than half of our business because we depended on free flow of traffic,” said Peters. “These blockades are kind of destroying the other half because half of our business still went through commercially, so we’re at a point now where we have zero customers.”
On Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared a national emergency in an effort to end protests across Canada. The Emergencies Act will allow the Canadian government to temporarily suspend civil liberties and take more action against protesters.
Premier Heather Stefanson has called for an end to anti-mandate protests in Manitoba, but says she’s opposed to invoking the federal Emergencies Act to deal with them.
“We need to think very carefully and clearly before going in that direction,” Stefanson said at a news conference Monday, after speaking with the other premiers and Trudeau.
“What we don’t want to do is escalate situations,” she said. “My concern about invoking something along those lines is that could be the case.”
In a press conference on Monday morning, Manitoba’s transportation minister, Doyle Piwniuk, said he wants to see the blockade at the Emerson border crossing come to an end. When asked if the government of Manitoba would step in, he told reporters that discussions are ongoing with the federal Minister of Transport and leaders in Manitoba.
“We want to make sure they’re peaceful, but at the same time, it is affecting trade. We would encourage them to have peaceful demonstrations, but let our truckers going down to the states and our industry continue with their work,” he said.
While the Emerson crossing is still blocked by protesters, he says Manitoba has an advantage over other provinces with border blockades because it has more crossings than other areas.
“If anything is coming from the west, they can direct themselves south of Brandon to the Peace Garden port, and there are also many other ports,” said Piwniuk.