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CTA: Canadians need to find fellow marchers

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. - David Bradley, chief executive officer of the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) says Canadians are negotiators and Americans are deal-makers.During the fifth annual Trade Co...

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. – David Bradley, chief executive officer of the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) says Canadians are negotiators and Americans are deal-makers.

During the fifth annual Trade Corridors conference, entitled Beyond Borders, held in Niagara On The Lake last month, Bradley presented an overview of how Canada and the U.S. operate differently but at the same time, work together to discuss issues that affect both nations.

“Seventy per cent of trade moves by truck between Canada and the U.S. and we have to be able to identify and understand the differences but yet speak the same language,” says Bradley.

He says that although we are cousins, we are two sovereign nations and we have to accentuate that sovereignty, but we also have to do our homework, he says, and know what we have in common.

Truckers are very matter-of-fact, says Bradley.

“I prefer getting things out in the open – it generally works best for truckers too,” he says.

When it comes to lobbying, Canada and the U.S. have two very unique perspectives, says Bradley.

“In Canada, there is always a buffer, everything is much more quiet and subdued, while in the U.S. lobbying is more widely accepted and every bill is like a Private Members’ bill,” says Bradley.

The role of the speaker is very different between the two nations, he says. Private Members’ bills are a rarity in Canada but everything seems to be considered this way in the U.S., he says.

Chuck Perricone, chief executive officer of New Era Consulting, LLC and former Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, says what Canada does publicly the U.S. does privately.

“In the U.S., the Speaker of the House is all powerful, and what I saw on your (Canadian) floor is what we would say behind closed doors. Canadians are very blunt and open with the media, whereas we do everything in secret but I think the Canadian way is a much healthier way to do it,” Perricone says.

Perricone says running for office will change one’s life on a molecular level.

“Your life changes, and your way of thinking changes which means priorities change and the way you make decisions changes. Decisions are made with a balance of scientific and human principles and it is rare that someone knows this unless experiences it, however, a few individuals have crossed that bridge on a human level by listening and experiencing, and Bradley is one of them,” says Perricone.

Bradley says we are affected by what happens at all levels of government and we have to know when to cross that bridge and we have to know what we want. Perricone adds that we have to bring the two nations together and realize it isn’t about Ottawa and Washington anymore, it is more personal, he says, it’s about Cornwall and Maseena, or Gananoque and Alexandria Bay, or Sarnia and Port Huron.

For Bradley, lobbying requires finding partners and champions. He says it’s difficult to lobby if you don’t have the support.

“You have to get people to march with you, and you have to start by getting the support of your own government – the closer to the ground the better,” he says.

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