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Blockade protesters leave Emerson border with police escort

With a police escort, protesters who had been blocking access to the Emerson border crossing drove away together in a convoy, officially ending the six-day blockade.

Mounties led the trucks and farm equipment away from the border Wednesday morning to make sure everything was done in a safe manner.

Sgt. Paul Manaigre with Manitoba RCMP said negotiators reached an agreement with protest organizers to end the standoff—part of that deal included an assurance there would be no charges or arrests against those at the border.

“That was part of the dialogue and the communication back and forth,” said Manaigre. “They wanted to get their message across which I believe they have.”

The anti-mandate blockade prevented traffic from crossing the border, with the exception of livestock trucks and emergency vehicles. An hour before the blockade ended, a small lineup of trucks and passenger vehicles sat idling. Travellers waited, hoping the highway was indeed reopening.

Roger Ramsay was heading to Minnesota to see his son for the first time in three years.

“Right now I’m wondering would it be better to go to Gretna and go across there or sit it out?” said Ramsay, who was among those waiting for the blockade to end.

The wait was worth it.

The protesters left on time, snow plows came in to clear the highway immediately so traffic could flow over the border again.

There is relief in Emerson the blockade is finally over.

“I’m very happy about it. I wasn’t happy in the first place when the blockade happened,” said Thomas Parr, a resident of Emerson.

But with that relief, some want to know why this took nearly a week to resolve.

“That was totally illegal, but yet they did nothing about it,” said Parr.

The RCMP is defending its approach, saying Mounties did not want to rush in.

“We had to take our time,” Manaigre said. “It absolutely would have made no sense just going in, perhaps making arrests and issuing tickets. We could have perhaps had others take their place.”

While traffic is once again flowing at the Emerson border crossing, there is a concern it could take some time to get back to business as usual. Ottawa estimates the blockade impacted $73 million a day in trade.

Ron Koslowsky, the vice president of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters said the repercussions of the blockade will create problems for weeks to come.

“In terms of rebalancing the whole supply chain, it will take time to get all the supplies that we need, and it will increase our costs, and it will damage our reputation," he said.

Though he is applauding the end of the blockade, Koslowsky is calling on all levels of government to have solutions in place to prevent something like this in the future.

RCMP said officers are staying in the area to make sure the border remains open. Top Stories


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