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Top Biden administration officials urged their Canadian counterparts to clear truckers who blocked parts of the United States’ northern border during protests in January.
A public inquiry into the Canadian government’s decision to use emergency powers to clear “Freedom Convoy” protesters revealed Thursday that Washington placed frantic calls to Ottawa in an effort to open clogged supply lines.
“They are very, very, very concerned,” Canadian Treasury Secretary Chrystia Freeland wrote in an email to her staff following a Feb. 10 phone call from Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council. according to politics.
“If this is not resolved within the next 12 hours, all of their car plants in the Northeast will be shut down,” Freeland continued in her email.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called his Canadian counterpart, Transportation Secretary Omar Alghabra, the same day Deese called Freeland, according to the report, and Buttigieg pressured Alghabra about Canada’s “plan to resolve the protests.”
Alghabra told the committee that Buttigieg initiated the call and that the interaction was “unusual.”
Brian Clow, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Canadian Prime Minister, also heard from White House aides, including National Security Council Director Juan Gonzalez, who wanted to connect Canadian national security officials with the US Department of Homeland Security.
The next day, on February 11, there was a phone call between President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, where Trudeau told the Supreme Commander that Ottawa had a plan to end the blockades.
In his conversation with Trudeau, Biden reportedly alluded to trucker convoys rumored to disrupt the Super Bowl in Los Angeles and the streets in Washington.
Freeland told staff in an email that the Deese wanted daily updates on the protests that never materialized because the emergency bill was invoked three days after Trudeau’s phone call with Biden.
Freeland told Canadian investigators she was concerned that Canada was causing “long-term and potentially irreparable damage to our trade relationship with the United States” and feared DC politicians “who would be happy to use any excuse to impose more protectionist measures on us.” .
Border blockades in Manitoba and between Detroit and Windsor were lifted before the emergency law was invoked, the commission found.
The never-before-used Canadian law gave the government the power to freeze protesters’ bank accounts, ban travel to protest sites and force trucks to tow vehicles blocking streets.
The committee is investigating whether the government has rightly invoked the emergency powers.
The “Freedom Convoy” protesters demonstrated against Canadian COVID vaccine mandates and restrictions.