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Judy Kucharuk: Pickup trucks the latest target in Canada's culture war

When did owning a pickup truck become a politically polarizing partisan position?
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Judy Kucharuk: "Pickup trucks do serve a purpose and here, especially in Northeastern British Columbia, are more often purchased out of necessity than an ego boost. We use them for work AND play."

judyWhen did owning a pickup truck become a politically polarizing partisan position?

In response to a July 25 Globe and Mail column titled 'Pickup trucks are a plague on Canadian streets', Alberta Premier Jason Kenney tweeted, “The Toronto Globe & Mail is having a temper tantrum about pickup trucks. I am happy to say that ~40% of the vehicles on Alberta roads are pickups. Maybe Toronto columnists should try getting around this province during a prairie blizzard in a Smart Car.”

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe also weighed in with his tweet, “Ridiculous. Come to Saskatchewan where we use our pickup trucks to build and grow our province…and pull the odd car of the snow-bank”.

Then the comment section lit up with commentary with everything from soup to nuts and devolved quickly.

That little voice in my head said, “Want to join in on the dialogue Judy?”

While I didn’t comment on the political repartee, I did comment on another post regarding pickup trucks as I felt the need to clarify that pickup trucks do serve a purpose and here, especially in Northeastern British Columbia, are more often purchased out of necessity than an ego boost.

We use them for work AND play.

When I brought up the use of pickups to pull RV trailers, I was met with a twitter response that read, in part, “…let me just get my spare few hundred thousand out of my coffee tin and go get a pickup truck and a holiday trailer. Could you be more out of touch with the state of this Province? Must be nice to be so wealthy.”

The comments continued back and forth, and this morning continue to come through on my timeline. It’s cool, I have no problem with the discussion and have found it quite enlightening. But don’t forget, the debate regarding the use of pickup trucks was initiated by the Toronto Globe & Mail – as far out of our hemisphere and way of life as you can get.

Do I think the Premier of Alberta and Saskatchewan should have taken time out of their day to respond? No, because then it becomes a discussion about who drives the pickup trucks and less about pickup trucks.

I don’t even know where to take the discussion from here. Is this simply the topic du jour? Should I feel guilty that I own a pickup? Should I feel guilty that I worked hard so that I could afford a holiday trailer (now 10 years old) that I pull behind a pickup? What about my 15-year-old quad that we pull on a utility trailer behind the truck – should I feel badly about that too?

Have I missed the point of the entire conversation? Probably.

I just get frustrated when I see conversations devolve into Us vs. Them when I don’t know who ‘us’ or ‘them’ are.


Judy Kucharuk lives and writes in Dawson Creek.