Sept. 23 – South Dakota’s tactic of stopping Canadian trucks to protest what it sees as unfair trade practices with Canada is spreading to other states.
A week ago, South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow ordered state troopers to stop and inspect shipments of Canadian grain and livestock coming into the state. The action was intended to send a message urging U.S. officials to ensure fair trade between the two countries. Several trucks were turned away at the state’s borders for not having paperwork required by the state.
Neighboring North Dakota did not turn any truckers away, but did pull them over and give them a questionnaire about their cargos, as well as warn them what to expect in South Dakota.
Monday, farmers and ranchers blocked Canadian truckers from coming into Montana. Several hundred people began the blockade at the border crossing near Sweetgrass, MT, shortly after noon, according to the Associated Press. Blockage organizers met with customs officials, who agreed as a matter of safety not to allow trucks hauling Canadian farm products to enter through the border checkpoint. At the rally, speakers addressed low prices for grain and livestock and the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Last week, Montana’s governor said state officials would beef up their checks of Canadian trucks for compliance with regulations dealing with issues such as truck weight and livestock health.
Idaho Gov. Phil Patt has also said he is looking into stepped-up efforts to check Canadian trucks arriving in his state to make sure they meet state food safety, highway safety, weight, licensing, plant and animal health and other requirements.