Ottawa to pay compensation to Windsor for blocking Ambassador Bridge

OTTAWA — The federal government will award the City of Windsor, Ont., up to $6.9 million in compensation for costs incurred during the “freedom convoy” protests that blocked the cross-border Ambassador Bridge in February.

Federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said Thursday that the government would help pay for the costs of blocking the bridge, including police services, although the final amount is still under discussion.

Windsor has been asking Ottawa for compensation since last winter, citing the high costs of closing businesses and restoring public order. The City asked Ottawa for $5.7 million last April.

Protesters opposed to COVID-19 health restrictions blocked the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest border crossing between Canada and the United States, on the evening of February 7.

The protesters were cleared out by police a week later.

The Liberal government has previously argued that the disruption of hundreds of millions of dollars in business activity, particularly for the auto industry, was one of the main reasons it invoked the Emergencies Act on 14 february.

« When Canada’s most important commercial artery was illegally blocked, the City of Windsor acted quickly and without hesitation to reopen the border, » Mayor Drew Dilkens said Thursday. The expenses incurred to resolve this national economic crisis were unplanned and should not be borne by municipal taxpayers.”

For its part, the City of Ottawa has asked the federal government to cover approximately $37 million in expenses related to the protests that have paralyzed the capital’s downtown core, but no announcement has been made so far. .

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