What should the top priority be for the winner of the federal election?
November 1, 2008
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. - Canadians headed to the polls Oct. 14. and while politicians have been talking tough on issues ranging from economic uncertainty to youth crime to funding for the arts, truckers in...
November 1, 2008
Jason Sahlani Special To Truck News
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – Canadians headed to the polls Oct. 14. and while politicians have been talking tough on issues ranging from economic uncertainty to youth crime to funding for the arts, truckers in Canada have been discussing a few issues of their own. This past year saw the transportation industry debating how to deal with the high price of diesel and wondering exactly how a proposed carbon tax will effect them. Truck News went to the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Bowmanville, Ont. to find out what drivers think our next Prime Minister should make a top priority.
Kyle Harris, a driver with Equipment Express in Ayr, Ont. said the top priority should be fuel prices.
“I mean something’s wrong, if you do a comparison to when the price of a drum was at its highest to what we were paying at the pump. It doesn’t equal to what we’re paying now. Something’s just not right.”
Harris also noted that unless steps are taken to normalize the price of fuel, the additional costs associated with high fuel prices will just be passed along to the consumer, making almost every product bought in Canada more expensive.
Wayne Diotte, who drives for DMD Transportation in Gananoque, Ont. also focused on the high price of fuel. “It controls the whole country, the whole car industry and everything else,” he said.
Diotte also thought that the government should step in to regulate the cost of fuel to help stabilize the rising prices Canadians are seeing coast-to-coast, and offered a solution to the problem himself. “Why don’t we build more refineries here? All of our crude oil goes to the states, there are even pipelines going down to refineries, and then they sell it back to us. What the heck is that?”
Dan Blankenship, a driver with Celadon Canada in Kitchener, Ont., was quick to note that the regulations are hurting the industry just as much as high fuel costs. “Now I’m a rookie but it is unbelievable how many fines there are and how much those fines cost,” Blankenship said. “These days, a fine could end up as the good part of a month, sometimes two months worth of salary.”
Jason Fleming agrees that government regulations should be a top priority for the next Prime Minister, but he also thinks the government should be more involved.
“A driver’s pay needs to be regulated to make sure we get paid for what we do,” said the driver for Hamilton-based Douma. “They scream in regards to our Hours-of-Service but what about loading times, off-loading times, waiting for others before getting loaded? We don’t get paid for that.”
Fleming said that considering all the other tasks involved in getting product from point A to B it doesn’t make sense for truckers to continue to be paid by the mile.
After 25 years of driving truck Dave Bradbury thinks the next Prime Minister should straighten out the industry so that regulations actually address the problems.
“There are too many amateurs behind the wheel in this industry. They drive (trucks) like cars, they’re tailgating, and it’s not the way it used to be. It’s dangerous, very dangerous,” said the driver for Burlington-based Cupido. “The OTA stuck their nose in where it doesn’t belong and cut truck (speed) back to 105 km/h, but they don’t want to regulate pay and start paying an hourly wage.”
– Jason Sahlani is enrolled in Humber College’s Accelerated Journalism program and will be working this fall as an intern at Business Information Group. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.