Windsor-Essex, Ont., cross-border workers weigh in on U.S. election

Windsor-Essex, Ont., cross-border workers weigh in on U.S. election
The route to the Ambassador Bridge, linking Windsor, Ont. and Detroit, MI., is seen on March 24, 2020. (Ricardo Veneza / CTV Windsor)


Among them is Allison Tonkin, who has been teaching special education in Grosse Pointe, Michigan for 16 years. She says shes never seen her colleagues and friends who live in Michigan sopolitically polarized during a U.S. election.

Its frustrating because as much as it will impact me, what goes on impacts me, I have no say, says Tonkin. Because Im not an American citizen and I dont get to vote.

Tonkin is an essential worker who crosses the border each day for work even during the pandemic.

She isnt concerned that the election result will affect employment status but she worries about what it will do to American society in general.

The country is so divided. No matter who wins, I think there is going to be a lot of anger and a lot of stress and it impacts everyone around me when I go to work, Tonkin says.

Im actually worried about the citizens reaction to whoever wins. Whichever way it goes, weve seen on the news that cities are being boarded up because everybodys afraid of what the reactions going to be, Tonkin adds.

Joseph Marchand has similar concerns.

I noticed today in Detroit once I crossed over that theyre boarding up buildings in downtown Detroit. Which to me, Ive never seen it. Twenty-three years Ive never seen it, Marchand says.

He drives a short-trip commercial motor vehicle back and forth across the Windsor-Detroit border every day. He says people he talks to are split on who should be the next leader, and worries that division will play out in the streets when initial results come down.

People have a lot of fear and nobody knows what to expect and to me, if it gets out of hand tonight, I might be calling in tomorrow and not coming across because Im not going to risk my life for anybody, he says.

Marchand says the supply chain for goods crossing the border is intact today but isnt sure what the future could hold for his industry depending on the election outcome.

For once Im actually worried, Marchand says. I dont want to speculate but if it doesnt go the (way) people want it, there could be an issue with commercial goods getting across the border at the end of the day.

He believes the Canada-U.S. relationship is fractured and needs to be repaired.

Its in turmoil right now. And I have a feeling if it goes one way, it will be repaired, he says. If it doesnt, it could be a long road, a long road ahead for all of us.
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