Canadian drivers face harassment in U.S.

MONTREAL, (April 10, 2003) — The Quebec Trucking Association is reporting that some Canadian truckers from Quebec have faced obscene gestures and vandalism in the United States because of the Canadian government’s stance on the Iraq conflict.

Marc Brouillette, board chairman of the truckers’ group, said he’ll demand the U.S. openly state Canada’s importance as a trading partner in the wake of the alleged incidents. He said that in the last few weeks, at least 20 drivers reported being harassed and have had their trucks vandalized, including a driver who had some of his tires punctured.

Joe Ryder, owner of Wilride Transport, a 30-truck LTL fleet in Guelph, Ont., says his drivers have been experiencing similar troubles. In response, Ryder has been outfitting his trucks with stickers that read “My Canada Supports the U.S. Troops.”

“It’s sad that we have to go to these lengths, but our government created this, and we’re left to try to fix it,” he says. Ryder says his drivers have rode past billboard signs that read: “No food, no fuel, no accommodations for Canadians,” Other drivers claim they are frequently given the middle finger salute by passing motorists, and another said a forklift operator had to be forced by the dock manager to unload his trailer in Florida.

“It was initially done to save our drivers some hardships while in the U.S. But my main reason for doing it was that I wanted to stand up as a business man and as a proud Canadian to show that I won’t let these clowns in Ottawa make fools of all Canadians,” he said.

Ken Brooks of Fleet Image Inc., which produces the stickers in Ayr, Ont., says he has since designed thousands of similar stickers for several other fleets experiencing the same problems.

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