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What Ontario truckers heading to U.S. border are saying about Ambassador Bridge protest

As protests creating chaos at the Ambassador Bridge continue for a second day, truckers heading west on Highway 401 toward the border are preparing for potentially long waits, and like in much of Canada, support for the protesters is sharply divided. 

Truckers at 2 stops in the London area are sharply divided about the ongoing protest

Trucks at Flying J truck stop in London, Ont. Truckers interview by CBC News have mixed views about the protest at the Ambassador Bridge connecing Windsor and Detroit. (James Chaarani/CBC)

As protests creating chaos at the Ambassador Bridge continue for a second day, truckers heading west on Highway 401 toward the border are preparing for potentially long waits, and like in much of Canada, support for the protesters is sharply divided.

Until recently, pandemic mandate protesters were preventing vehicles from using the bridge completely. On Tuesday afternoon, the bridge between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit was reopened to U.S.-bound traffic. It remains closed to Canada-bound traffic. 

CBC News visited two Ontario truck stops, one outside Ingersoll and another on the edge of London, to hear what truck drivers had to say about the protest. 

Jason Thomas

Trucker Jason Thomas fuels up in London, Ont. He says his sympathy is with the protesters. (Max Leighton)

Thomas used to cross the border regularly, and his sympathy is with the protesters blocking traffic to the Ambassador Bridge, he said.

"I 150 or 200 per cent support those guys," he said. "I know it may be a disruption, but something has to be done. right?"

Thomas would like to see an end to COVID-19 restrictions, he said. 

"People are frustrated. We've got to let you know."

Robin Singh

Truck driver Robin Singh stops for a rest and a bite to eat at a 401 stop outside Ingersoll, Ont. He doesn't support the protest and says the truckers he's spoken with feel the same way. (Max Leighton)

Singh, who is headed to Tennessee, is concerned about potential delays. He doesn't support the protest and told CBC News the truckers he's spoken with feel the same way. 

"I think this is not a good protest," he said. "Everybody is frustrated right now, especially truckers ... they don't like spending like more than 10 hours on the border. That's not a good thing." 

The government should come up with a solution that helps end the protests, Singh said. 

Brian Petersen 

Petersen agrees. In particular, he believes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should be doing more to engage with protesters across Canada. 

"The problem is, Trudeau doesn't get off, you know, out of his office to talk to people and see what's going on, so maybe it might be resolved." 

Petersen crossed the Michigan border early Tuesday morning.

"It was busy, but not terribly, like customs is doing what they can do to clear up the backlog as fast as they can, like they brought extra people in they said." 

Nick Cirstea

Truck driver Nick Cirstea prepares to set out on the highway Tuesday morning. He supports the sentiment behind the protest at the Ambassador Bridge but doesn't believe in blocking access to it. (Max Leighton)

Though he supports the sentiment behind the protest, Cirstea doesn't support blocking the Ambassador Bridge. 

"I generally support [protesting] against restrictions," he said. "But there has to be another way to talk about this problem, not just go in the way and block everybody. This is the only way I disagree. But the rest, I agree with them." 

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