GoFundMe’s Freedom Convoy decision prompts GOP leaders to call for oversight hearing

: Republican leaders are calling for a congressional hearing and seeking more information on GoFundMe’s decision to block donations for the Canadian trucker’s Freedom Convoy – arguing that the move amounts to another attack by Big Tech on free speech.

“We are concerned about the growing trend of Big Tech’s increasing refusal to permit a level playing field in the marketplace of ideas, instead actively censoring conservative viewpoints while promoting far-left causes, especially where millions of dollars in crowdsourced funds are potentially misappropriated,” read a letter from House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and House Oversight Committee ranking member James Comer, R-Ky. —Samuel Dorman

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Windsor, Ontario mayor seeks court injunction to clear bridge protesters

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens announced Thursday that he is seeking a court injunction to remove the protesters who continue to snarl traffic on the Ambassador Bridge, a key artery into the United States.

“To those who are thinking about joining the protest, let me just say this. You are not welcome here,” he said during an afternoon press briefing.

“We plan to be in front of a Judge of the Superior Court as soon as possible, hopefully today, and I’m hopeful that the facts of this application speak clearly to the court about the need for intervention.”

Dilkens said the economy is losing $400 million for each day the border crossing is blocked.

“Yesterday, I spoke to the importance of a peaceful resolution, and I still remain hopeful that goal can be achieved,” he added.

Ambassador Bridge blockade is impacting auto industry

Ford said its Windsor, Ontario, engine plant reopened Thursday after being shut down on Wednesday because of a lack of parts. But the factory and the company’s assembly plant in Oakville, Ontario, near Toronto, were operating at reduced capacity, the automaker said.

On the U.S. side, GM canceled the second shift on Wednesday and the first shift on Thursday at its SUV factory outside Lansing, Michigan.

Toyota said it will not be able to manufacture anything at three Canadian plants for the rest of the week because of parts shortages. In a statement, the automaker blamed supply chain disruptions, weather and pandemic-related problems, but the shutdowns came just days after the blockade began Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Canada’s trucker protests and history’s parallels

Could the truckers who iced Parliament Hill in Ottawa over vaccine and mask mandates also freeze Capitol Hill and Washington, D.C.?

To be clear, there is no plan to do so. There has been chatter about truckers protesting the Super Bowl in Los Angeles this weekend. There has also been discussion of a caravan beginning in early March.

Multiple Capitol Hill sources tell Fox News they are unaware of any plan for truckers to duplicate anything in Washington. Still, Fox is told there have been conversations about what would happen if 18-wheelers and other rigs paralyzed the Capitol.

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Ontario’s leader wants to fast-track reopening as protests continue, pressure builds, report says

A report has emerged Thursday saying Premier Doug Ford is looking to speed up Ontario’s reopening timeline as he faces pressure from local and provincial politicians.

The Canadian province still has numerous coronavirus restrictions in place, such as capacity limits of 50 percent for restaurants and gyms and proof of vaccination for entries into certain businesses and public settings.

Sources told CTV News that Ford — whose province is making international headlines for demonstrations in Ottawa and the ongoing blockade of the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor, which appears to have no end in sight — has personally asked for new regulations to be drawn up to accelerate the reopening schedules.

The report came out after Ford tweeted late last night that he spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “about the ongoing occupations in Ottawa and Windsor.”

“We will continue working  together to support our police forces as they manage these situations. We both agreed this must come to an end,” Ford said.

The provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan announced the ending of their coronavirus measures earlier this week.

Canadian police being bombarded with 911 callers asking when Ambassador Bridge will reopen

Police in Windsor, Ontario have made a plea on social media Thursday for people to “stop calling our E911 Communications Centre for info on bridge wait times or how they should proceed with their plans” as the Ambassador Bridge remains partially closed for its fourth straight day.

“Truckers should still utilize the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia & commuter traffic use the tunnel. Our lines need to remain open for emergencies,” Windsor Police wrote on Twitter.

Yesterday, Windsor Police Chief Pam Mizuno said up to 75 vehicles and 100 protesters remained in the area.

“Although the Ambassador Bridge is not closed US bound, the presence of demonstrators are making it difficult to access the bridge,” police also tweeted Thursday.

Protests shut down another US-Canada border crossing

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Manitoba announced Thursday that “a demonstration involving a large number of vehicles & farm equipment is blocking the Emerson Port of Entry” connecting its province to Pembina, North Dakota.

“No traffic is getting through either northbound or southbound. The Port of Entry is shut down. Please avoid the area,” police said in a tweet.

The development comes as the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit to Ontario remains closed to Canadian-bound traffic because of protesters there, while demonstrators gathered in Alberta have created a 7-hour delay for those looking to head into the province at a port of entry in Montana.

Traffic appears to be easing Thursday at the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, Mich., where the state has been directing travelers to as the Ambassador Bridge remains closed. However, those looking to pass that border crossing into Canada will still have to wait more than an hour, the Canada Border Services Agency says.

A convoy of vehicles also made its way around the arrivals and departures traffic area at the Ottawa International Airport Thursday.

Michigan Gov. Whitmer says Canada must ‘immediately and safely reopen traffic’ on Ambassador Bridge

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released a statement Thursday saying that the Canadian government “must take all necessary and appropriate steps to immediately and safely reopen traffic” along the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario. 

“The blockade is having a significant impact on Michigan’s working families who are just trying to do their jobs. Our communities and automotive, manufacturing and agriculture businesses are feeling the effects. It’s hitting paychecks and production lines. That is unacceptable,” the governor said.

“It is imperative that Canadian local, provincial, and national governments de-escalate this economic blockade,” she continued. “They must take all necessary and appropriate steps to immediately and safely reopen traffic so we can continue growing our economy, supporting good-paying jobs and lowering costs for families.”

Belgium takes action in hopes of preventing trucker convoy there

Authorities in Belgium have banned a threatened blockade for Monday and said they would prepare to keep a convoy from cutting off access to the capital of Brussels. 

A wide perimeter around the city of 1.1 million would be set up to keep an excess of trucks out of the center of Brussels.

Brussels Mayor Philippe Close said in a Twitter message that officials decided to ban the ”Freedom Convoy” protest because organizers failed to seek permission to hold the event.

A similar freedom convoy is planned in Vienna, Austria on Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Police in Paris, France warn drivers against ‘blocking the capital’

French police, citing “risks of trouble to public order,” have banned protests aimed at “blocking the capital” of Paris from Friday through Monday.

Blocking traffic can lead to two years in prison, more than $5,000 in fines and a suspended driver’s license, the police department said in a statement.

Online chat groups in France have been calling for drivers to converge on Paris starting Friday night, and to continue on to the European Union’s capital in Brussels on Monday. Small groups of drivers set out Wednesday from Bayonne on France’s Atlantic coast and Nice on the French Riviera, with stickers on their cars reading “Freedom Convoy.” Departures were also reported in other cities.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Protesters causing massive delays at Montana-Alberta border crossing

Those hoping to enter Canada by way of a border crossing between Sweet Grass, Montana
and Coutts, Alberta will have to wait at least 7 hours Thursday morning, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

Traffic is no longer flowing in the southbound lane because of the protester blockade, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told KRTV on Wednesday.

Ambassador Bridge blockade enters fourth day

The Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit to
Windsor, Ontario
remains “temporarily closed” on the Canadian-bound side as of Thursday morning, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

On Tuesday, Windsor police had said there was a “limited amount of access to the Ambassador Bridge” on the U.S.-bound side.

Ambassador Bridge blockade prompts shutdown of Ford engine plant

Ford Motor Company announced late Wednesday that ongoing parts shortages have forced it to temporarily close an engine plant in Windsor, Ontario.

“This interruption on the Detroit-Windsor bridge hurts customers, auto workers, suppliers, communities and companies on both sides of the border,” Ford said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press. “We hope this situation is resolved quickly because it could have widespread impact on all automakers in the U.S. and Canada.”

The company also reportedly is running an assembly plant in Oakville, Ontario — outside of Toronto — on a reduced schedule.

‘Freedom Convoy’ protesters cause miles-long traffic jam near US-Canada border in Michigan

PORT HURON, Mich. – Canadian truckers protesting at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, have caused a miles-long traffic jam at the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, Michigan, where commercial traffic was rerouted when the Ambassador Bridge was closed to vehicles entering Canada.

Truckers billing themselves the “Freedom Convoy” began blocking lanes Monday on the Canadian side of the Ambassador Bridge, which links Detroit to Windsor, causing a traffic jam that eventually led to the bridge closing down traffic to Canada. –Michael Lee

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