If you’re reading this on Tuesday morning, see if you can find a TV station with a national news channel and flip it on.
You’ll likely see coverage of the truck convoy rally on Parliament Hill. I’m writing this on Monday night from the town of Arinpour, just outside of Ottawa, where Suits and Boots supporter Brad Schell and I both are staying. Tuesday morning at 5:00 am EST we’re heading out to a truck stop nearby to join a convoy of other truckers who have come here from Alberta and possibly one from Newfoundland – and we’ll all be heading to Parliament Hill for a pro-resource rally that is scheduled to start at 11:00 am EST. It should get good news coverage.
As you know, Brad left his home in High River, AB on February 13th with his Kenworth truck and trailer proudly decked out in a Suits and Boots logo. He arrived here on Sunday afternoon – I flew to Ottawa from Edmonton and we met for the first time. I’ve spent the past 24 hours or so with this man. He is an absolutely amazing individual, a proud Albertan, and even prouder Canadian, and I cannot think of a better ambassador for Suits and Boots than Brad.
We are so tremendously lucky to have him representing Suits and Boots on this national stage on Tuesday. Here are Ten Things You Should Know about Brad Schnell that will tell you why:
- Brad’s a 67-year-old retired truck driver and fleet owner/operator. He lives on a farm outside of High River. His son-in-law became a Suits and Boots supporter last fall, and when Brad learned about us, he immediately liked what he saw. “You guys are doing exactly what Canada needs. And when I heard there was going to be a truck convoy to Ottawa, I knew I had to go, that’s why I called you.”
- Brad called me in early November. He asked us for permission to put our logo on his 53 ft trailer. At no cost to us. And then he asked us to suggest what other wording should go on his trailer. And he then thanked us for allowing him to put our Suits and Boots logo on his trailer. He then asked Foothills Signs in High River to check with us before the applied the final decals on this trailer to make sure all was well. He paid for the whole thing himself. He wanted nothing from us to carry our logo all the way to Ottawa and back.
- A number of different groups at different times have been involved in organizing this convoy. Some “Yellow Vest” supporters have been involved. The convoy in Ottawa tomorrow is organized by a loose coalition of people and there are Yellow Vest supporters in the convoy. Brad, like me, believes that the convoy’s focus should be focussed on energy issues and our campaign to #KillBillC69. Any other issues that are brought up by Yellow Vest supporters or others involved in the convoy are really not ones we’re focused on with this trip.
- Brad left Calgary on Feb 13th, a day before the larger convoy, now called “United We Roll”, started on the 14th. The wiring on Brad’s heater gave out an hour after he left home. He drove the next five days in a row, through snow storms in Manitoba and Ontario, with limited heat in the cab of his truck. He put in 12-14 hour days on his own. He’s not on social media. His cell phone is a flip phone that dates, I think, from 1993. He called me once a day to give us progress. I always asked what we could do to help. The answer was always the same. “Nothing – I’m fine.”
- I have learned that Brad’s Kenworth is not just any old truck. It’s a vintage 1982 W900 Kenworth. Truck lovers have been drooling on it on our social media account. That truck is Brad’s baby. He cares for it, nurtures it, cleans it, polishes it, and take great pride in it. One of the first things we did on Sunday was get it steam washed, and then put into a truck hangar overnight to dry. Today we spent 90 minutes cleaning it, polishing it, making it look absolutely stunning. As Brad said, “This truck has to look sharp for everyone in Ottawa. We don’t want them thinking we don’t know how to look after our equipment.” It’s an honour to be invited into the cab of this truck with him on Tuesday for the convoy. I’ll send you pics from the interior – it’s amazing.Here are three short YouTube clips showing the Kenworth in the garage earlier today and yesterday, and one side of the trailer:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdc1Rh4bHCc&feature=youtu.be
Brad’s a total charmer and an absolute natural with people. Everywhere we stop – gas stations, restaurants, garages, hotels, truck stops – he patiently answers questions about his truck, has a joke and smile ready for anyone, and when someone keeps asking questions for too long, he sends them my way. “I do the thinking around here, Rick does the talking” he says. People fall in love with him when they meet him. And he always points out the Suits and Boots logo on his truck and says he’s here on our behalf. Everybody we’ve met in Ontario seems to know someone in Alberta who Brad knows or has heard of. He could be elected Premier of Ontario if he wanted to.
Brad says people have been absolutely supportive and friendly all the way out to Ottawa. In the past day and a half, I’ve seen absolutely nothing but the same. People are happy to see us, give us the thumbs up, and everyone knows that Ottawa will be locked down by gridlock on Tuesday and are totally unconcerned. The convoy coming behind Brad is reporting the same thing on their social media account.
This is Brad’s first visit to Ottawa. We walked around Parliament Hill on Monday morning, and had some fun with Brad knocking on doors at the Senate and Prime Minister’s Office. It might be a coincidence, but news of the resignation of the Prime Minister’s principal secretary came less than 20 minutes after Brad knocked on the door of the Prime Minister’s Office. (Note: we still have had no formal response from the PMO to our letter of invitation to the Prime Minister sent on November 27th to come and visit the townspeople of Drayton Valley.)
This trip will cost Brad, I think, about $15,000 of his own money. He won’t tell me the total cost, but given that the decal work on the trailer was around $5K and diesel is $500/day for 10 days, $15K should be close. He hasn’t asked for any help, but we’ve asked you to support Brad’s trip in any way we can because of what he’s doing for our group, and – more importantly – what he’s doing for Canada. You’ve been generous and supportive, and he knows it. So we’ve been able to cover off some expenses here in the past two days – car rental, one night (only) of a hotel, a few meals and incidentals. We’ll see if we can help more tomorrow and even on Wednesday.
Brad fiercely believes he needs to be here in Ottawa. “I have to do this, Rick. Canada is the best country in the world. We have everything. If we don’t screw it up, we can offer a future to our kids and your kids and everyone’s kids. But it’s a mess – we can’t get a pipeline through. I’m lucky I have the time to come out here and show Ottawa who we are, and why this has to change. I’m here because I love Canada, and I love what we’re doing in Alberta to help everyone in Canada. And you guys at Suits and Boots are really doing a great job. I’m glad we can work together on this.”
This is why we started a social media hashtag #WeRollWithBrad.
We are so lucky and thankful to have Brad Schell as our Suits and Boots ambassador – YOUR ambassador – to Ottawa. This pipeline convoy on Tuesday will mark a seminal moment in Canada’s resource history. You have a voice there – Suits and Boots has a voice there – because of Brad Schell. We cannot thank him enough.
And, thank you for your support. I’ll be back to you after the rally with an update on how it went. Watch for live updates on our Facebook page and on Twitter @SuitsAndBootsCA.
Thanks for all your support.
Rick Peterson, Founder