Truck News


Nothing like a victory to buoy spirits

Opening weekend of bass season and I did what I've always done - headed to Buck Lake to compete in the Birch Island Bass Derby.Running since 1975, the event was actually founded by my late-grandfather...

Opening weekend of bass season and I did what I’ve always done – headed to Buck Lake to compete in the Birch Island Bass Derby.

Running since 1975, the event was actually founded by my late-grandfather, Arthur Graves. Although attendance certainly wasn’t at its peak this year with several noticeable absences, those who did come out thoroughly enjoyed the great weather and the closing festivities, which included the fish-fry to end all fish-fries.

(Orrie Michea officially moved to the rank of first spatula and, together with the help of sous-chef George Graves, the two lifted Ritz crackers and bass fillets to new heights.)

George’s son Peter finished the tournament in second place with a nice largemouth caught during the heat of the day, but the top honors were reserved for yours truly.

I got out early on Saturday morning and ran into a beautiful smallmouth and – thanks in large part to the wicked heat wave that rolled through Eastern Ontario – the three-pound bronze-back proved to be enough.

I’d won the derby before, but it had been 16 years since then and that was before the passing of my grandfather. Thus the victory was especially sweet.

Last season, I lost what was likely a seven-lb-plus smallie – a linebacker of a fish – after a chilling 10-minute fight over 50 feet of water. In fact my entire 2001 fishing season seemed to be a collection of stories about the ones that were getting away, so it felt really good to start this year off on a completely different footing.

It must be the same way the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is feeling since the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport recently approved the changes to the federal Hours-of-Service (H-o-S) regulations for truckers. The proposed rules could go to the Council of Ministers on Transportation and Highway Safety for final ratification as early as this fall.

It has been a long fight for these new rules. The existing regime was designed based on studies looking at coal miners in the 1930s. Hum, do you think that’s one of the reasons fatigue has plagued this industry over the years?

I know not everyone is happy with the proposed new H-o-S rules – the rail-funded Citizens for Responsible And Safe Highways, or simply CRASH, instantly comes to mind.

There are also a few truckers concerned with the possibility of an 84-hour week. But let’s not ignore the miracle of cycle-switching allowed by the present system, which legally permits truckers to churn out 104 hours on the road over a seven-day stretch.

These loopholes are so big they should literally carry a giant “D” beside them right in the regulatory statutes.

The battle to reform the H-o-S has been a long and arduous one. After setbacks in the U.S. derailed the process a couple of years ago, the industry was left to wonder whether anything would ever be done. But even the Land of the Free says it is close to taking another run at the political hot potato, good news indeed.

So congratulations to the CTA for getting the Canadian changes this far, and to the provincial ministers – don’t try to reinvent the wheel. This proposal is sound and will result in safer highways for everyone. Oh, and to our buddies over at CRASH, give the fear mongering a rest.

Nobody cares what the rail industry is paying you to say these days, and that suits the Canadian trucking community and I just fine. n

John Curran can be reached by phone at 416-442-2091 or by email at


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