One part of my job is to be a spokesman on behalf of the trucking industry in Canada. This means I do a lot of public speaking to industry, government and public groups. And after a while, I tend to g...
One part of my job is to be a spokesman on behalf of the trucking industry in Canada. This means I do a lot of public speaking to industry, government and public groups. And after a while, I tend to get bored with the sound of my own voice, so I can appreciate how the audience must feel.
Recently, I had the opportunity to address a group of senior officials from the offices of about 40 U.S. state governors. The speech took place at the U.S. embassy in Ottawa, when the political staffers were in town to learn about Canada and the importance of Canada-US trade. As part of their indoctrination into all things Canadian, the U.S. folks were shown a clip of Molson’s now famous “I am Canadian” rant. Embassy staff suggested that I should be a little provocative in my remarks. (I don’t know why they would think I might be provocative. In addition, I was scheduled to speak the following day in Windsor at the Mayor’s breakfast opening National Transportation Week festivities. I was to follow the Ontario transportation minister, David Turnbull. Again, it was suggested that I “wake ’em up.”)
Anyway, against my own better judgement and in a move guaranteed to set the industry’s image back a few years, I decided to have some fun, while still trying to make a few points. My apologies to anyone in the industry who may think I am taking a few liberties, but here goes. The following is an amalgam of the two rants I forced my captive audiences to listen to:
My name is Dave, and I am a Canadian trucker
I can take my truck from Toronto to Miami and pass through 15 stop lights. Fourteen of them are in Windsor.
I provide an essential service. People depend on trucks for everything they make or use, but they still view freight service as a bother, not a service.
I comply with the National Safety Code but it is neither national, nor is it a code.
And the speed limits are just a suggestion.
I travel on U.S. highways as much as I can. It doesn’t save me time or money, but it saves my kidneys.
I am not Mexican, even though the Canadian loonie is only worth about as much as the eso, so why are so many states giving me such a hard time? I thought free trade was supposed to make it easier for me to cross the border, not tougher. (Why does that Lamar guy from Texas dislike me so much?)
When I cross the world’s longest undefended border, I am considered to be an alien. It’s not like I’m from another planet, is it?
I have to follow U.S. drug testing rules, even though the positive test rate is less than 1-1/2 per cent and there is no law for testing in Canada. Come to think of it, though, when I look in the sample bottle, it sort of looks like U.S. beer. Probably tastes like it, too.
I may get to drive 13 hours in Canada compared to 10 in the U.S., but I get the same amount of sleep as American drivers. That’s supposed to be what counts.
My truck and trailer are allowed to make certain point-to-point moves in the U.S. to reposition for the load home. Only problem is, I can’t drive the truck. Sort of defeats the purpose.
American drivers say they have trouble with the language when they come to Quebec. Can anyone tell me what language that state trooper in Arkansas was speaking?
I get Memorial Day, July 4 and the American Thanksgiving off. But I have to work when my family is celebrating Victoria Day, Canada Day and our Thanksgiving.
I like to visit LA. The weather’s nice and if you add up all the Canadians that live there, it’d be the second largest city in Canada.
I always wonder why Americans think they won the War of 1812 when everyone else knows that Canada did. If the U.S. won, why am I not being paid in US dollars? Hey, look. We’re best friends and neighbors, eh. Canada was pleased to help the Americans out in the Gulf War. Our one naval destroyer ought to be getting over there just about now. It ran out of coal half way across the Atlantic and there was a hole in the sail.
I like coming home to Canada, though. It’s easy to save money. It’s too cold to go out anywhere in the winter and in summer the back flies will kill ‘ya. Summer is one killer week.
I especially like watching Hockey Night in Canada. Did you see the last Dallas/Colorado game? If you missed the score you’ll find it in USA Today, right after the Grade 1 to 3 Intermural Badmin-ton scores.
And what about those Blue Jays? Back-to-back World Series a few years ago. I guess our Americans were better than their Americans back then. n
– David Bradley is president of the Ontario Trucking Association, CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance … and he is Canadian.