CALGARY, Alta. – There’s no question that former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien didn’t have a lot of fans in Washington.
Some of his well-publicized controversial comments have irked U.S. president George Bush, as has his decision not to support the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Many truckers who frequent the U.S. have seen first-hand the deteriorating relationship between Canada and the States.
However, is the relationship salvageable now that Paul Martin has replaced Chretien as Prime Minister of Canada? Or has the damage already been done?
Truck West visited the Road King truck stop in Calgary to ask truckers if they feel relations with our largest trading partner will improve under Martin’s leadership.
“Yes, definitely, it has to,” says Rod Bearinger, a driver with Sharp Transportation.
“At least now they can pronounce (the Prime Minister’s) name,” he jokes.
The Cambridge, Ont.-based driver generally hauls furniture.
Penner International owner/operator, George Wiens, says it’s probably too late for Martin to fix the damage done by Chretien.
“Liberals are Liberals,” says the Steinbach, Man.-based O/O. “It’s not just Chretien’s fault, it’s the entire Liberal party. As long as we have the Liberals in, it’s not going to get any better.”
Wiens frequently hauls throughout the U.S. and would prefer a new government on Parliament Hill.
Dennis Chabot, a company driver based in Edmonton, Alta. says “I sure hope that it does and I do think that it will.”
Chabot hauls manufactured goods. He adds any improvement in relations with the U.S. will be much welcomed.
Herb Dalkeitc of Pannu Brothers Trucking in Abbottsford doubts Martin will be any better than his predecessor.
“I wish that when they think things (that would upset the U.S.) they just think them and not say it,” says Dalkeitc, who also runs into the U.S. quite often.
“I’m always in the U.S. and the only things you hear down there about Canada are negative. The negatives are always exposed but never the positives.”
Nathan Burbank of Portland, Ore. says he is a U.S. resident and he hasn’t seen any negativity towards Canadians as a result of Chretien’s comments.
The company driver for Werner Transport was preparing to haul a load to Idaho. He says he hadn’t heard Chretien was replaced and he doesn’t feel he has damaged relations with the U.S. at all.