February 18th, 2022 - 4:35pm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2022
Masse and Gretzky demand compensation for local businesses and reimbursement for the city’s costs along with a permanent plan to protect all border crossings: Upper levels of government need to support Windsor with the equivalent funding provided to Ottawa
(WINDSOR) – Today, NDP MP Brian Masse (Windsor West) and NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky (Windsor West) were joined by local pediatrician Dr. Sanaa Abo Aisha, veterinarian Dr. Khahra, and Westdell Corporation representative Jim Shaban at a press conference to discuss the impacts the blockades and the efforts to prevent future ones have had on local residents and businesses. As an occupation took over the area by the parliament buildings in Ottawa for weeks a blockade of the Ambassador Bridge by vehicles lasted for a week before being removed by the police. Subsequently, the road leading the border crossing, Huron Church Road, has been lined by cement barricades and several cross streets have been closed to vehicular traffic.
“Local businesses, residents, and city taxpayers should not be punished for hosting the most important border crossing in the country. The negative impacts of the blockades and the measures taken to prevent future ones have been significant. The federal government must provide local businesses with the financial assistance equivalent to the supports announced for Ottawa this week. The city needs to be reimbursed for the costs they have incurred. A permanent plan to secure the border crossings that can be implemented rapidly and efficiently while minimizing its effects on residents needs to be established,” Masse stated. The federal government announced on Monday that there would be financial assistance for local Ottawa businesses impacted by the blockades and occupation of the downtown area. Additionally, the federal government compensates the City of Ottawa for policing costs associated with protests in the nation’s capital. Masse had a meeting with the Public Safety Minister this morning before the press conference raising these issues.
“The access issues caused by trying to secure Huron Church Road has impacted my patients being able to get the necessary health care they need. I had many mothers call me, in tears, to cancel their appointments for their children since they could not get to my clinic. This restricted access will prevent ambulances from reaching the medical centre when we have emergencies. I understand the need to secure the border crossing but restricting patients receiving health care cannot be an unintended consequence. This has to be resolved immediately,” stated Dr. Sanaa Abo Aisha, a pediatrician who has a medical office located on Huron Church Road.
“The province needs to step in immediately to provide relief and replace the income workers and small businesses lost as a result of the blockade. Working people should not have to pay for the illegal blockade and its aftermath. Small businesses have already suffered tremendously these last two years – and that’s why I am calling on Doug Ford to step up and provide the resources they urgently need. Whether it’s communities like ours here in Windsor, in Ottawa, Sarnia or Toronto – small businesses and residents need strong leadership that will be there for them when they need it most,” stated Gretzky.
“We knew that in 2024 most of this border traffic would move to the new bridge but we made a significant long-term investment to revitalize this area for residents as you can see by the new construction going on. Westdell began here in Windsor and has now expanded into southwestern Ontario, but we remain committed to this community. We have attracted global investors and businesses to this city. A long-term plan to protect the border that does not impact local businesses and residents needs to be instituted immediately along with compensation for these businesses that have born an immense burden and have put many jobs at risk,” stated Jim Shaban, representative of the Westdell corporation that owns several commercial plazas along Huron Church Road and are building new ones.
“The measures taken to secure roadway has prevented many of my clients from bringing their pets in for needed treatment and care. The access is very limited and confusing to follow. The number of patients I see has dropped by 90 percent. People are deciding to avoid the whole area. There must be a solution that works for everyone. I have three employees. This impacts all the workers of these businesses,” stated Dr. Khahra, a veterinarian who owns Huron Church Animal Hospital.
For more information contact Darlene Dunn Mahler 519-992-9994 or 519-255-1472