Do you think blocking highways is a good way to protest?
November 1, 2005
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Rising fuel costs have pushed both drivers' pocketbooks and their frustration to the limit, causing many to take action. One way drivers have been fighting back is by setting up ph...
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Rising fuel costs have pushed both drivers’ pocketbooks and their frustration to the limit, causing many to take action. One way drivers have been fighting back is by setting up physical blockades on highways, borders and ports to protest these rising fees, like a group of independent drivers did in New Brunswick in September before they were booted of the Trans-Canada by court injunction. Most trucking associations are vocal about their aversion of this kind of protesting, but Truck News stopped by the Husky Truck Stop on Shawson Drive in Mississauga, Ont. to find out what the average driver thinks of this kind of protesting and if there’s a better alternative.
Brian Embree, a driver out of Kitchener, Ont., doesn’t think that setting up blockades is an appropriate way to protest.
“It disrupts a lot of things,” he said. “It’s not going to help, it’s just going to tick off a lot of people. I think that’s the wrong way to go.”
Embree suggested going through parliament might be a better way to handle the situation.
Danny Magnus, an O/O with Highland Transport out of Vancouver, B.C., is fed up with the industry, especially with the inability of getting O/Os to stick together.
“As far as I’m concerned, the trucking industry sucks,” said the 25-year veteran. “The only way that they’re ever going to get anywhere (with protests) is if everybody goes on a holiday for a week or two. If everybody takes a holiday starting the same day, we’d shut the industry right down. See what happens. I bet we’d get a raise.”
Chad Paris, an O/O with Sullivan Trucking in New Brunswick, agrees with Magnus’ idea, saying if people kept their trucks at home it would have a much greater affect than people blocking roads.
“Blocking roads ain’t going to do it,” he said. “It just means more negative publicity. The trucking industry has enough bad publicity right now. Unfortunately, the only thing that we can do right now (to deal with rising costs) is pass it on to the consumers by fuel surcharges.”
John Hill, a driver out of Port of Miramichi, N.B., decided to put the stay-at-home idea into practice.
“I stayed home for the week. I didn’t go and block roads,” Hill said.
“They shouldn’t have blocked the road. They should’ve just took their trucks home and parked them. If everybody just stayed home, everybody would feel the pinch.”
James Magarian, a company driver for Climan Transport in South Carolina, again agreed that a universal shutdown would be a far better alternative than setting up a blockade, which he feels is dangerous.
“If everybody would band together and shut down for two days, it would have a great impact in the industry in both the U.S. and Canada.
“Park the truck and say the Hell with it,” he said.
“Blocking is too dangerous. You start doing that stuff and next thing you know you’ve got someone shooting somebody.”