The following letter was sent to Bill Wellman of the National Truckers Association:
Dear Mr. Wellman,
I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with you and the members of the new executive of the National Truckers Association on May 15.
Please be assured that I want to work with you in your role as the new president of the National Truckers Association, to ensure that the concerns of independent owner/operators are heard. Truckers are small businesspeople who are facing tremendous personal and financial pressures. I appreciate that you were candid with me in setting out the human dimensions of the issues, and the toll being taken on people.
Our recent budget outlined a number of initiatives that will benefit small businesspeople and continue to stimulate the economy. We reduced personal income taxes and will cut the small business tax rate by four per cent by 2005, making it the lowest in Canada. We will also phase out the Retail Sales Tax on motor vehicle insurance premiums. I have heard your concerns that more needs to be done.
The issues you brought to the table are national in scope and require a national perspective. I have ensured that the truckers’ situation was put on the agenda of the federal-provincial industry ministers meeting on April 27. I believe that federal Industry Minister John Manley and my colleagues in other provinces now have a better understanding of the importance of these issues and your industry.
I agree with the proposal that you made on Monday night, that the federal and provincial governments undertake a national study of the competitiveness of the independent trucking industry. I will personally discuss this with my federal counterpart, John Manley. It is vital to obtain an even better understanding of what is taking place in the trucking industry in order to help improve the competitiveness of the industry with concrete actions.
My ministry will continue working to facilitate a meeting for the association with representatives of the truck financing and leasing industry.
Thank you for taking the time to outline the concerns of your membership. Your industry is important and we need to work together. n
Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Trade
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