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As truckers protesting vaccine mandates at the border rolled into Calgary on Monday, Premier Jason Kenney signalled he was working with U.S. governors on a letter to pressure President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to kill the order.
“We are working on a joint letter to the President and the Prime Minister urging them to use common sense, end the policy that has taken thousands of trucks off the road,” he said.
The Twitter post was part of a thread that included pictures of empty shelves sent to the premier from grocery stores across Alberta stating, “This is turning into a crisis.”

Store locations or dates of the photographs were not provided. An email from the premier’s office said they were from Medicine Hat and Edmonton but provided no further information regarding whether they had verified the photos, who submitted them or the exact location. The premier’s office also declined to say which governors Kenney was working with.

This followed a Sunday tweet by Brock Harrison, the executive director of communications and planning for the premier, that showed empty shelves at the Walmart in Wetaskiwin, though without any verification from the company.

Adam Grachnik, director of corporate affairs for Walmart Canada, said in an emailed statement that issues in stocking shelves are wide ranging.
“Global and domestic supply chains continue being disrupted even as we’re into the new year,” he said. “There are a number of reasons, including higher consumer demand, shortages of containers and vessels to move goods around the world, weather, COVID-19 lockdowns in some countries and general labour shortages throughout the supply chain.”
On Jan. 15, the Canadian government implemented a policy requiring all American truck drivers to be fully vaccinated and non-vaccinated Canadian drivers to have a negative COVID test and to quarantine upon arrival in Canada. The U.S. brought in similar rules this past weekend requiring Canadian truckers to be vaccinated.

Experts have said this will take 16,000 Canadian truckers out of circulation, adding to a nation-wide shortage of up to 25,000 trucks. The Alberta Motor Transport Association said last week there was a shortage of about 4,000 truck drivers in Alberta before the mandate.

Gary Sands, senior vice-president for the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, said while the vaccine mandate for truckers is impacting the supply chain, it is disingenuous to imply it is the sole reason for shortages in grocery stores. He said many issues have been building prior to the mandate, including labour shortages.
“The overall issue, though, is we’ve had a number of different issues that have had a cumulative impact on the supply chain,” he said. “Omicron has ripped through the supply chain”.
The most shortages have been in produce and cereals. Sands said while there is potential for meat to be impacted by the trucking mandate, it is a small factor since meat is mainly raised and produced in Canada. Despite this, many of the pictures on social media show empty meat sections.
However, Sands said he supports bumping back the vaccine mandate by a couple of weeks to take some of the pressure off the supply chain, still under strain from recent flooding in B.C.
He said communities in rural and northern Alberta which rely on a single, often independent grocery store with deliveries from one truck a week are most impacted by shortages. Customers in bigger centres like Calgary and Edmonton should still be able to find necessities. They may just need to be flexible on what they purchase by switching brands or shift on they type of meat they are looking for. He implored people to avoid panic buying.
Sands also said people can expect to pay more for products as most independent grocery stores are operating on thin margins. If it costs an extra 35 per cent to ship food in, that will be passed on to the customer, to some degree.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Trucking Alliance said on Sunday that they “strongly disapprove” of the cross-Canada trucker protest and that the vast majority of Canadian truck drivers are vaccinated with estimates upwards of 90 per cent. Last week, the AMTA said more than 70 per cent of their drivers are inoculated, though they are seeking an extension to the vaccine exemption for truck drivers.

Trudeau, on Monday, called the protests and the pressure from the likes of Kenney “fear mongering” by Conservatives.

Lori Williams, an associate professor of policy studies at Mount Royal University, said she is unsure how much of a difference the protest or a letter from Kenney to Trudeau and Biden will make. She said these actions do little to address the issues at play beyond stoking up the political base.
“All of these issues have to balance against managing the health-care crisis and there are those that are already opposed to either the federal Liberal government or opposed to the policies that will be reached by this,” she said. “But I don’t know that this is going to reach folks that are generally in support of measures that will protect the health-care system.”
Williams said politicians need to focus on long-term solutions to the supply chain issues, in particular when it comes to staffing and safety of the workforce.
— With files from Stephanie Babych and The Canadian Press

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Dorothy Gorska-Tyas
Dorothy Gorska-Tyas
2 years ago

HURRAH FOR THE HER♡IC TRUCKERS vs. WEF’n NWØ LIB do-re-me-FA curs! However, you may wish to view this to see what foe may have in store for humanity. And, rest assured, it will NØT be pretty. Pffft! ⚡☝⚡