Truck News


Collenette can’t pick favorites in his position

When exactly did it become acceptable for Transport Minister David Collenette to choose who the government will help and who it will leave to twist in the wind?As I put pen to paper and script this ed...

When exactly did it become acceptable for Transport Minister David Collenette to choose who the government will help and who it will leave to twist in the wind?

As I put pen to paper and script this editorial, almost 5,000 former Canada 3000 workers are being forced to look for work due to Transport Canada’s unwillingness to get involved in the airline’s financial woes.

If this were a blanket policy, and the Canadian public wasn’t already asked to shoulder the financial support for Air Canada, I could understand the decision.

However, Collenette has on more than one occasion now, come to the rescue of Canada’s dominant domestic air carrier. Most recently in the wake of Sept. 11, like Batman swooping in to once again rescue the people of Gotham, he doled out millions to help Robert Milton’s troubled team.

This time when folks in competition with Milton flicked the switch, sending the Bat signal high into the Canadian sky it was greeted with… absolutely nothing.

So let’s see; based on Statistics Canada numbers, a rough estimate indicates there will be about 10,000 children who may not get much of a visit from Santa Claus this year all because Collenette didn’t want to wade into a potentially costly bailout effort.

As a Canadian, I must admit, I’m somewhat torn here between the idea of free enterprise and the need for government intervention to ensure competition.

This debate often rattles back and forth the Truck News office, splitting the staff almost in two equal groups.

Ironically, I’m usually the one arguing against any form of government involvement.

But in this case, there is no doubt. Collenette can’t help one company and then ignore similar pleas from its competitors.

The entire thing reeks of discrimination. I’d hate to think former civil servants – who now happen to work in the private sector with Air Canada – are given preferential treatment by our government.

Is this what moderation is in the eyes of the Liberal government? Does Collenette think the middle of the Canadian political spectrum demands he maintain a healthy balance of social safety nets with holes big enough to ensure they only snag fat-cat, political cronies who frequent the same old boys club as him?

As a voter who lives and works in his riding, I’m disappointed his performance. In this land of equality, one would hope we could expect more from our political leaders.

Mind you, I shouldn’t be so surprised. For years he has used the same double standard whenever it was time to deal with ground transport. The railways enjoy all the benefits of being government run even though they are now private ventures. All regulatory debate concerning their operation is held in near secrecy. “Federal financial support? No problem how much can we knock off your tax bill CN?”

Meanwhile trucking companies, and the professional drivers they employ, are left to fight for the scraps. Routinely the industry’s most personal of underthings are hung out to dry in public through the consultation Transport Canada requires before doing anything truck related.

Hours-of-Service comes to mind.

On the rail side, any meetings seem to start with a secret handshake. Truck hours of work, on the other hand, are paraded around the country like some travelling freak show where you never know what curiosities you’ll find until you pay your nickle and take the tour. One thing’s for sure, you’ll always meet a lot of anti-truck special interest groups like Citizens for Responsible And Safe Highways, or CRASH as it is more commonly known, in the gallery.

Maybe it’s time for us to join together and raise funds for CROTCHITI: Canadians Rigorously Opposed To Collenette and His Indifference to Transport-related Industries.

– John Curran can be reached by phone at 416-442-2091 or by email at

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