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Editorial Comment: Getting the message out to the masses

Throughout the calendar year many days and weeks get allocated to honouring special people and professions, as well as an eclectic mix of time periods dedicated to raising awareness among the general ...


Throughout the calendar year many days and weeks get allocated to honouring special people and professions, as well as an eclectic mix of time periods dedicated to raising awareness among the general public for various causes.

Valentine’s Day provides an occasion to show how much you care about a special person in your life, while both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day give a chance to honour the people who had a hand in moulding your life.

Associations dedicated to various ailments will use up to a whole month to raise awareness for their cause, including Stroke Awareness month in June and November being Alzheimer’s Awareness month. Canada’s Earth Day has since transformed into Earth Week and Earth Month, in an effort to raise awareness for a cleaner environment. July has been anointed International Ice Cream Month, with July 15 marked as the official International Ice Cream Day for 2007.

Certain professions also command their own timeframe of honour. Administrative Professionals Week is scheduled for the last full week of April; and the 2007 edition of National Trucking Week is set to run from Sept. 9-15. Manitoba recently proclaimed June 5-11 as the province’s Transportation Week, to salute the efforts of the workers in Manitoba’s transportation industry.

While taking the time to recognize the contributions of the trucking industry is a worthwhile exercise, one week or one day is hardly enough to raise the profile of trucking in the eyes of the general public.

Personally, when I tell people I write for a trucking magazine the most common response is the question, “is there even enough going on to make it a full-time job, what can you possibly write about?”

Thankfully, the industry is chalked full of advancements and interesting stories to keep me busy, but by perusing the mainstream media it’s easy to see the misconception.

Environmental issues are constantly at the forefront of news on television and in daily newspapers. Out in Western Canada, a lot of focus has circled around the oil and gas industry, and efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their operations.

While the trucking industry has instituted strict new legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a new breed of engines, the news generally speeds past an unknowing general public.

Most reports to the general public regarding the trucking industry focus on horrific vehicle accidents, not the number of safety innovations and programs developed by the industry to reduce the number of incidents on the road.

As most people pack their grocery carts full of food, or line up overnight outside an electronics store for the latest video game console release, they give little thought to how the products arrive and all the work of the trucking industry to provide a valuable service.

Within the industry itself, there is great pride and dedication from many individuals, companies and associations in the work being done, and justly so. But celebrating achievements only within the industry itself, is almost like celebrating your birthday by yourself; and when the candles are blown out, you’re still sitting in the dark with nobody to share the cake with.

If the trucking industry is going to achieve the recognition it actually deserves, compete in a tight labour market and secure adequate government funding for special programs and infrastructure, understanding and awareness from the general public will be a key factor.

– Steven Macleod can be reached by phone at (403) 275-3160 or by e-mail at stmacleod@shaw.ca.


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