Towns should think about how much they depend on trucks

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Lots of folks have been asking what sort of reaction I got to my recent column in which I ranted about the misguided siege of Ottawa by disgruntled protesters, some of them truckers, demanding what they called “freedom”. I still don’t really understand what they were on about, but I do know they failed to do anything but tarnish our already iffy image. As you might expect, I got lots of angry emails, though just as many from people who agreed with me.

Honestly, I appreciate them all, though obviously I do like the friendly ones rather more.

welcome sign
(Illustration: istock)

I had a very good email message toward the end of April from a woman in Deep River, Ont., about midway between Ottawa and North Bay. Tina Leclerc wrote about one of the worst issues that drivers face — towns and cities that do not exactly put out the welcome mat for truckers passing through. It’s one that could justifiably have been raised if the truckers among those Ottawa protesters had taken advantage of the moment to bitch about things that matter. She gets it.

Tina is concerned about what she called “over-zealous police officers”. Here’s some of what she wrote:

“We live in Deep River, Ont. Our little town sits right along the major cross-Canada Highway 17. Along our highway we have businesses that include Canadian Tire, Esso, Tim Horton’s, and Subway, just to name a few. On a daily basis we observe our local police department giving tickets to truck drivers traveling through who have decided to stop for a bathroom or food break. Now, while there are posted signs dictating that it is a no-stopping zone, I am disgusted. I’m not sure if our small town realizes how much we depend on these drivers to supply all of our goods. Drivers deliver our food, medical supplies, mail, alcohol, cigarettes, and whatever it is we decide to shop for every day.  

“These drivers spend countless days away from home, away from their families, in all types of weather to ensure that we have what we require, only to be met by an officer diligently patrolling the highway in order to ‘nab the bad guys’ who are only stopping to get a bite to eat when they can’t enjoy a homecooked meal at their table.They are only stopping to use the washroom facilities, perhaps to freshen up when they can’t enjoy a nice hot shower in the comfort of their own bathroom. They may be stopping to take a brief stroll or stretch because they aren’t able to enjoy a walk around the block with their children, and have been stuck in a truck for countless hours to deliver products to our stores so that we can have what we enjoy.

“A little further west of Deep River you come to a town called Mattawa. [There], truck drivers are stopped, facing both directions, on the side of the highway. Here, they can go to Tim Horton’s and not worry about overzealous officers handing out tickets. None of the trucks interfere with traffic as it is a 50 km/h zone and no one is traveling too quickly.

“My thoughts are that perhaps the drivers should boycott the town of Deep River, even for a week. Perhaps then, when people have been without food or supplies that are delivered by these trucks, they may just offer to buy a driver a coffee or a meal and thank them for their service. Thank them for doing a great job in some not-so-great circumstances! These people are part of the reason that our little world keeps turning and they don’t receive enough thanks for what they do!

“I needed the industry to know that there are people who appreciate all that they do and sacrifice!”

Bravo, Tina.

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Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to

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  • Some of the protests were there because of no safe parking and lack of overtime hourly pay. I and other disabled homeless truck drivers and vets don’t get proper food or medication in ont.

  • Thank You to Tina for seeing it how it is! I once got a $45.00 parking ticket at 1am in the little town of Minden, 4 lane stretch with ample shoulder to safely park! Not a soul in sight at that hour, yet a bored OPP with nothing better to do then harass a trucker needing the facilities and a coffee to stay alert! It really is a crying shame that in this so called G7 nation( one of the elite, financially) but no, trucker food and facility options are not an option! I wonder if Mr Ford ever tried one of them Northern porto johns when temps are on the + or – side!? Only serviced once a month, with human facies piled to the lid! Absolutely disgusting is my rant!