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CRASH dodges censure

OTTAWA, Ont. - Canadians for Responsible and Safe Highways (CRASH), has survived a bid to censure its involvement in the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) - the group that hel...


OTTAWA, Ont. – Canadians for Responsible and Safe Highways (CRASH), has survived a bid to censure its involvement in the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) – the group that helps set rules for everything from hours of service to load security.

The CCMTA’s powerful Standing Committee on Compliance and Regulatory Affairs had proposed the move to the overall board of directors, following concerns that CRASH was misinforming the public about discussions designed to update hours of service rules.

The lobby group – which has the Railway Association of Canada as its largest financial benefactor – insists that proposed changes will mean more work time for drivers. Those involved in the discussions, however, have been quick to stress that on-duty time is expected to drop from 15 to 14 hours per day, and minimum rest time under the proposed rules would increase from eight hours to 10 hours within every 24-hour period. And while it claims it has been shut out of discussions, the group has been allowed to sit at all of the working group meetings.

The CCMTA’s board of directors, however, turned down the proposed gag order during a December meeting in Ottawa.

Said one senior member of the group, “That’s just not the way things work in a free and democratic society.”

“The board did not agree with the recommendation as provided by the standing committee,” says the CCMTA’s Audrey Henderson. “They don’t want any action to be taken … the board suggested and wishes that CRASH remain a member.

“They have a right to offer their opinions.”

David Bradley, chief executive officer of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, isn’t surprised that the lobby group will continue to have a presence.

“It likely would have fed into CRASH’s hands had they done so,” he adds.

That’s not to say that the group has escaped unscathed.

“It’s not often you see a government body – and let’s face it, that’s what the CCMTA is (with industry involvement) – take the tone they did with the minutes … it’s a kiss of death for anyone who wants to be a lobbyist.”

Specifically, concern was expressed about how the group complained about proposals, but never brought alternatives to the table.

CRASH, meanwhile, might have worries of a different sort. A CN spokesman confirms that railway president Paul Tellier will be asking the Railway Association of Canada, during an early February meeting, to review its financing of the group.

Tellier pledged the review during the annual convention of the Ontario Trucking Association, where he called for closer ties between trucking and Canada’s railways.

And CRASH may be aware of a need to boost its voice in other ways. Sources indicate that it’s looking to form an alliance with other railway and consumer groups in the Ottawa area.n


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