Long hours on the road, with public radio to keep them company... Occasionally, we'll hear from truckers who call in to offer their insights. And in Tuesday's first hour, which focused on trade, some truckers — who've crossed back and forth between Canada and the U.S. — gave their two cents about the countries' relations, trade, and more. Here's what they had to say:
Scott, a Canadian long-haul truck driver, calling from Virginia:
"I have seen it from both sides, and quite frankly the U.S. has knocked on Canada's door several times over the past hundred years to work out a free trade agreement. We said no. Finally, we said yes, the EU created their own block — we had to create free trade. There's no choice. It is a global marketplace now. I'm a long-haul truck driver, I know this for a fact.
"It's going to hurt everything. You can't compete that way in the world. Look at the way the EU's reacted to it, and how Canada's reacted to it."
You start imposing knee-jerk reaction tariffs — and I do mean that seriously because that's the way your president is. He's done this out of his policies from his election campaign. It's insane to think it's going to help. It's going to hurt everything. You can't compete that way in the world. Look at the way the EU's reacted to it, and how Canada's reacted to it. You can't work that way anymore, it's very, very old school and outdated."
John, a trucker from London, Ontario:
"I spent years hauling steel and aluminum from Canada — both Ontario and Quebec into the U.S. and I can tell you that we're not trans-shipping Chinese steel. It's a matter of geography and geology. We have the ore in Ontario to make the steel. Our steel mills are running full tilt. And we have the box sites in Quebec making the aluminum. And it's not Chinese products we're bringing across the border, it's Canadian products. So I think Trump's team is highly misinformed about where the source of metals coming across the border are from, regarding Canada.
"Targeting Canadians is the wrong thing to do. It's an American made problem."
His target seems to be China, but he's missing the target. I spent years in the U.S. as a heavy-haul trucker with a U.S. work visa training American guys to haul the really big super loads, taking things out of American and Canadian factories to port to the U.S. to be shipped to China. And almost without exception, every plant manager, or foreman, or factory owner that I spoke to was saying that American companies like Walmart and other large retailers were forcing them to move their factories to China to take advantage of the cheap labor market. As far as I'm concerned, targeting Canadians is the wrong thing to do. It's an American made problem."