Truck News


Looking for political leadership

If you listen to the most recent reports from economists, speculators and forecasters, Canada is leading the G20 with a swift, positive recovery from the worst economic recession since the Great Depre...

If you listen to the most recent reports from economists, speculators and forecasters, Canada is leading the G20 with a swift, positive recovery from the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.

Now the banks, mortgage companies, finance companies and loan sharks are lining up to make it harder for you to get financing and jacking up the interest rates.

The oil companies are anxious to raise fuel prices to cushion the blow to their profits over the past year. The politicians have their hands out, topping up their salaries, expense accounts, pensions -and doing whatever it takes to get elected.

Out governments and political parties (at all levels) are out of touch with taxpayers and their concerns. They all need a shake-up and a complete overhaul so we can get back on track.

Our legislators have been misled and do not understand how their legislation changes are not working in the real world to make a positive impact on safety.

Their pursuit of deregulation, hours-of-service, speed limiters, EOBRs, restricted truck routes and anti-truck legislation has not improved safety, has weakened our economy and has destabilized the health of the trucking industry, literally driving some of the best people out of the industry without enough suitable replacements.

Non-trucking special interest groups have way too much input into legislation and regulations. They are clueless on how their recommendations will work where the rubber meets the road, and who will compensate our industry for all the productivity losses?

Enforcement personnel will be very actively pursuing your wallet in the coming months. Roadside inspections and enforcement will be their primary objectives.

In Alberta, we don’t have to just worry about non-local or out-of-province trucks working on our oversupplied industry, we now have to worry about our governments encouraging out-of-country contractors to come and flood the market with cheap rates and poor-quality work. These contractors are now coming from the US. They bring their own workforces, equipment, trucks, trailers, asphalt plants, etc. They don’t use the local restaurants, hotels or mom-and-pop businesses or truck and trailer dealers, as our local contractors and truckers do.

When they’re done, they take their money back to where they come from to spend it in their local US communities, denying our local communities of the positive financial impacts. How’s that for an Alberta Advantage?

If we were to try to do the same in the US, we wouldn’t ever get a chance to see the tenders, it just wouldn’t happen. Their government would protect its own contractors and truckers.

We have advised our government of these concerns. They respond by boasting of the Alberta Advantage, the free market enterprise system and the benefit to Alberta taxpayers. I don’t think so. They have in fact contributed to a serious oversupply of infrastructure contractors and truckers, creating a negative effect on the industry’s ethics and standards.

Our government is not listening and they just don’t get it. The most recent environmental disaster in the US should be a wake-up call to all of us.

I just completed a two-month tour of public meetings with our directors, members and invited guests in six regions of Alberta. I travelled through flood zones, snow storms and power blackouts to get to Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Edmonton, Red Deer, Lethbridge and Calgary. These meetings were not held to fix rates or to plot against resource producers, processors or infrastructure contractors.

These meetings were held to consult with the participants and request they fill out and return our annual survey so we can be informed of their priorities and concerns. They will be included in our 2010 Strategic Action Plan.

There are 13,000-plus trucking companies operating in Alberta. At least two-thirds of them earn their living from the construction industry. It never ceases to amaze me of the sheer number of truckers who bitch, complain and whine about the people and problems in our industry, but when it comes time to ante up for membership dues for a professional association, they just don’t get it.

The suppliers to our industry have an equal responsibility to show their support for those that are trying to make this a better industry.

Finally, I get a chance to talk about the positive and that is most important. Ice Road Truckers -Driving the Dalton Highway in Alaska is a series that should be a mandatory watch for everyone who drives a motor vehicle of any kind on a public road. Why?

The people who put this series together should be rewarded for creating the best educational tool for anyone driving a motor vehicle. To develop their level of respect for the road, conditions, common sense and the people that drive them safely.

Even the Canadian ice road trucking veterans like Hugh and Alex learn a thing or two from the veteran Alaskan drivers as they are groomed for the Dalton Highway in their jump seats.

Finally, ACTA secretary treasurer Jennifer Singer and I took the opportunity to attend Truck World in Toronto in April. If you want to be in touch with what’s happening in the Canadian trucking industry, that was the place to be. This show is a ‘must do’ for everyone who owns and operates a trucking business.

Well, it’s time to batten down the hatches for the rest of 2010. It will be a challenge indeed. Keep your head up and your stick on the ice and drive safe. We’ll catch you later!

-Ron Singer is owner of Ron Singer Truck Lines and president of the Alberta Construction Trucking Association. He can be reached at 403-244-4487 or by e-mail at’s Web site is

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