Protesters block N.S./N.B. border as Atlantic Bubble bursts

by Today's Trucking

Protesters today are blocking trucks and other vehicles from crossing the Nova Scotia/New Brunswick border along the Trans-Canada Highway in both directions, seemingly targeting those transporting Covid-19 vaccines into the province.

The protest is in opposition to Nova Scotia’s reaction to New Brunswick’s reopening plans, which will see isolation requirements removed for domestic travelers who’ve had received one dose of a Covid vaccine. Nova Scotia responded by indicating it will require visitors from New Brunswick to isolate, while removing those restrictions for visitors from other Atlantic provinces.

Local media reports painted a chaotic scene June 23, as protesters blocked trucks from crossing the Nova Scotia border at Amherst. One recording showed a protester yelling “No vax trucks past this point!”

Another showed a Skelton Truck Lines truck being denied entry, as protesters believed it was carrying Covid-19 vaccinations. The driver was allowed through when he said he was transporting blood.

While some protesters said they were trying to prevent vaccine deliveries to Nova Scotia, others, ironically, said they were protesting the limitations on movements between the two provinces.

Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin held a media availability June 23, acknowledging “The Atlantic Region needs to cooperate more and more. I’ve asked for a meeting today with all my counterparts in Atlantic Canada and I expect to have that meeting later this afternoon.”

As for New Brunswick’s decision to remove some restrictions on visitors from outside the Atlantic Bubble, he said “We respect their decision to go faster and ask for their respect for us to take it more cautiously.”

New Brunswick has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country. As of June 22, 76.4% of eligible residents had received their first dose, while 20.1% were fully vaccinated. It entered Phase 2 of its recovery plan June 16, allowing domestic travelers with one dose to enter the province without isolation requirements.

Nova Scotia MLA for Cumberland North, supported the blockade.

“If you do not change your mind and allow the people of Cumberland and New Brunswick to see one another without self-isolating, the Trans-Canada Highway will be shut down, and it will be shut down until you open that border for the families of Cumberland,” she said in a Facebook video directed toward Premier Rankin.

Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association president Jean-Marc Picard took a different view. He took to Twitter to declare the: “N.B./N.S. border situation is critical for goods to start moving again. Massive impacts to the supply chain and especially trucking. Communities need their food. Shame on the people blocking the road and time for leaders in N.S. to interfere.”

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