U.S. ambassador leaving Canada (February 01, 2005)

by Ingrid Phaneuf

OTTAWA, Ont. – U.S. ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci has announced plans to leave his post in March.

Cellucci recently re-assured industry insiders about the future of transborder trucking at the Ontario Trucking Association’s annual convention this past fall.

He is famous for criticizing Canada for its plans to decriminalize marijuana and for its refusal to participate in the war in Iraq, as well as his “security trumps trade” comments. But there was more to the U.S. ambassador than strong words, said David Bradley, CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance and president of the Ontario Trucking Association.

“From my perspective and from my dealings with him, Paul Cellucci has been a very effective ambassador. He was also rather outspoken for a diplomat. Some people had their feathers ruffled by this I’m sure. But, at least you knew where he stood,” said Bradley upon learning of the public announcement.

“I have worked most closely with him on border security and trade issues, and while he is famous for the ‘security trumps trade’ comment, he has also worked tirelessly to try and ensure that border facilitation is a priority. He made a concerted effort to consult with Canadian business leaders and made introductions for us to many key officials in the Department of Homeland Security, the White House, etc. He clearly sees the trucking industry as an important player in creating a secure, yet efficient border. This is something that I really appreciated.”

Bradley added he wouldn’t be surprised to see Cellucci take a run at the U.S. Senate some day. In the meantime, the trucking association will have to work at developing a productive relationship with Cellucci’s replacement.

“In this business, key people change all the time and you’ve simply got no choice but to adapt, to re-educate and sell yourself and your organization all over again,” Bradley pointed out.

Cellucci, 56, has let it be known that he is leaving his post for a career in the private sector.

The former Massachusetts governor will return home after a four-year stint as the top U.S. bureaucrat in Canada.

Canadian embassy spokeswoman Beth Poisson told reporters Cellucci “would like to go out and do something a little more lucrative.”

A long time Republican, he had been touted for a post in the Bush administration.

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