James and I really do get along – but not when it comes to the issue of speed limiters. If you’ve been following our blogs over the past while you know James doesn’t think they’re such a good idea while I think they are.
Speed limiters are now the law in Ontario and James takes one last shot, writing that the way the law came to be has left him “with a sour taste.” He feels the one-day public hearing was a farce, with practically no advanced notice provided to stakeholders. “It was clear from the get-go that this government was simply going through the motions, with no real intent of making any changes to the proposed legislation,” he writes in his blog and believes the Ontario government got too chummy with the Ontario Trucking Association during the process.
I think we’re making mountains out of mole hills.
Much has been made about the shortness of the public hearings. But let’s put this in perspective. Speed limiters were not an issue that just suddenly surfaced. It has been debated for two and a half years now. Both the Ontario Trucking Association and those opposed to speed limiter legislation, namely OOIDA and OBAC, have had plenty of time to make their opinions known to legislators. Also during this time the trade media have provided extensive coverage of the issue, again providing plenty of opportunity for both sides to present their views. (And I bet if we were to take a count of all the articles written in all the trade media about speed limiters we would find the majority voiced the concerns of those opposed).
Any politician wanting to make an informed decision on how to vote had no shortage of material to read and no shortage of time to make up his or her mind. What would longer public hearings have provided? What evidence would have been presented that had not already been documented over the past two and a half years?
I can’t argue that there should not have been more advanced notice provided about the hearings. But again let’s put this in perspective. Each presenter at the public hearings were asked to speak for just 10 minutes. Now to someone not used to speaking in public that may seem a daunting task, particularly when they’ve been given little advanced notice. But for professional lobbyists, such as OTA, OOIDA and OBAC, being asked to speak for 10 minutes on an issue they’ve known intimately and written extensively for more than two years is not exactly a tough assignment.
And what about the belief that the OTA basically wrote the speed limiter law for the government? For the last time, let’s place things in perspective. Motor carriers, through the OTA, approached the government and asked to be legislated. They actually asked the government to make life tougher for them by giving them one more regulation to follow. So why shouldn’t they have attempted to draft the legislation in a fashion they found to be workable? The OTA certainly made no secret of what it wanted with the legislation and anyone opposed to it had plenty of time to voice their concerns.
Let’s drop the conspiracy theories and stop making mountains out of mole hills. Speed limiters became law in Ontario because when legislators were presented with both sides of the issue over the course of more than two years, they found the pro side made the most sense. It’s as simple as that.
With more than 25 years of experience reporting on transportation issues, Lou is one of the more recognizable personalities in the industry. An award-winning writer well known for his insightful writing and meticulous market analysis, he is a leading authority on industry trends and statistics. All posts by Lou Smyrlis