WINDSOR, ONTARIO, MAY 24 -- Independent Canadian truckers ended their three-day strike this afternoon after transportation officials in Canada promised to address their complaints about taxes, authorities said.
Windsor, adjacent to Detroit, was one of a number of border cities where blockades had choked off U.S.-Canadian commerce.
''There were about 200 people and another 100 to 150 trucks there. But the truckers were happy, got into their trucks and drove away,'' said Staff Sgt. R. Nichols of the Windsor police department.
Transport Minister Doug Lewis said after meeting with truckers that he would take up with the Cabinet their complaints about taxes and the free-trade agreement with the United States.
The protest was sparked by proposed increases in Canada's goods and services tax that will affect everything from the goods that truckers haul to the tires, insurance and diesel fuel they buy.
The U.S.-Canadian trade agreement, which will remove almost all tariffs by 1999, will further handicap Canadian truckers, protesters said.
The truckers contended that taxes and the free-trade agreement are crippling their ability to compete with U.S. drivers.
The blockade dried up the flow of U.S.-made auto parts to Canada, forcing the shutdown of three General Motors of Canada Ltd. plants in Ontario and production cutbacks at one in Quebec. Some 13,000 auto workers were affected. Production also was disrupted at Chrysler Canada and Ford of Canada.
Ford plants also closed in Dearborn, Mich.; Wayne, Mich.; Lorain, Ohio; Avon, Ohio; Louisville, Ky.; and Minneapolis, said company spokesman Peter Olsen.
''How and when things will be back to normal really depends on the flow of auto parts,'' he said. Spokesman for the other automakers didn't return calls to their homes this evening.
At Mazda Motor Corp.'s plant in Flat Rock, Mich., 20 miles south of Detroit, afternoon-shift workers were sent home four hours early Wednesday afternoon.
Day-shift employees were sent home two hours early today, and the entire plant was expected to close Friday, spokesman Tom McDonald said. The plant gets windshields, brakes and other components from Canadian suppliers.
No violence was reported at any of the blockaded border points.