Governments should offer fuel assistance

Dear Editor

Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Ontario Premier Mike Harris better open their eyes before it’s too late.

Do these “political leaders” not know how to operate a calculator? I they did, they would quickly realize the severity of our financial crisis.

The rapid increase in the cost of gasoline and diesel fuel is creating tremendous hardships for drivers and truckers and consumers. The governments have the power to provide immediate relief through fuel tax reductions, but choose not to.

Their answer to this problem is to suggest that truckers should charge more to haul goods.

This trucker doesn’t need a Business 101 lesson from Harris and Chretien to figure out that such an approach will cost all of us. If the cost of shipping goes up, the cost of clothing, milk, automobiles and the everyday stuff we buy will cost more. And then we’ll be paying even more sales taxes. (That seems to work for them.)

For too many years the governments have viewed the diesel and gas tax as a cash cow.

Here are some facts:

The Harris government could easily cut gas taxes and increase spending on highway infrastructure until gas revenues and expenditures match. Gas taxes presently exceed road investments by $1 billion per year – the equivalent of seven cents per litre on Ontario’s consumption of 13 billion litres a year. It seems to me like there’s a start right there.

In 1991, when he was trying to get elected, Harris issued a business report in which he referred to fuel taxes as “sin taxes” and argued that they are a barrier to doing business. In his 1991 Blueprint for Economic Renewal, he stated that “gasoline and fuel taxes should be immediately cut by 10 per cent.

Now the tax fighter is defending high taxes.

The federal government doesn’t spend a dime on this country’s highways, but collects $4 billion a year in fuel taxes, and has the nerve to say that no cuts can be done here.

I think our governments need to be reminded that they work for us.

We “the people” have struggled long enough and have worked very hard for what we have. Who are they to take all of this away from us?

Maurice R. Corriveau

Noelville, Ont.

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.

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