Truck News


Where we stand on OBAC

As a news magazine dedicated to serving the information needs of owner/operators in Canada, are we truly keeping their best interests at heart when we report on the continued troubles faced by the fle...

Lou Smyrlis
Lou Smyrlis

As a news magazine dedicated to serving the information needs of owner/operators in Canada, are we truly keeping their best interests at heart when we report on the continued troubles faced by the fledgling organization trying to provide them with a unified and national voice?

In a nutshell, that’s the question that has been posed to us by members of the Owner-operators’ Business Association of Canada (OBAC), who are clearly unhappy with the coverage we have been providing of their association’s affairs. We value and encourage feedback and dialogue – negative or positive – from all of our readers, and so I would like to set the record straight on where we stand on OBAC and our coverage of its affairs.

First I would like to state the three items that are NOT up for debate:

A) That owner/operators make a valuable contribution to the viability of the Canadian trucking industry. Our dedication to covering owner/operator issues in the more than 20 years of our existence, our commitment to circulating extra copies of our news magazine at truck stops across Canada where it can be picked up by owner/operators on the road, and our investment in the annual Owner/Operator of the Year Award, I believe provide a strong testament to how much we value the Canadian owner/operator.

B) That owner/operators would benefit from belonging to a well-organized and well-run association representing their concerns on a national basis.

C) That there are hard-working and well-intentioned members on the OBAC board of directors.

What is up for debate is why we, in the words of one OBAC director, “do not do more to publicly support OBAC instead of apparently trying to undermine the sincere efforts of this group.” In fact, we regularly carry a column written by an OBAC director. But as a news organization it is our mandate to provide unbiased reporting of industry events and issues for our readership – and that requires a commitment to report the good news with the bad. We strongly believe that our support of the Canadian owner/operator is best measured by the quality of the editorial product we are able to provide every month rather than unquestioning support for any associations seeking to represent him.

It’s also necessary to make an important distinction about our coverage: the comments made about OBAC in our stories, including this issue’s exclusive interview with Dave Marson about the factors behind his decision to resign as OBAC president, reflect the opinions of sources contacted in the process of putting together those stories. They do not reflect our own personal opinions. It is not the policy of Truck News and Truck West (or any respectable news source for that matter) to inject the personal opinions of its staff into its news coverage. Opinion is something reserved for this page only.

I think it’s also fair to say that OBAC, which has received public money, has had a disturbing amount of troubles since its beginnings last September. The disappearance of its accountant after he allegedly wrote more than 17 checks to himself totaling over $70,000, the resignation of half its board members, including its president Marson, who chastised OBAC for “not serving the interests of Canadian owner/operators and/or drivers,” and the acknowledgement by interim executive director Leo Van Tuyl that OBAC’s membership drive has stalled are impossible to ignore.

While we sympathize with the frustration the well-meaning people on the OBAC board must feel about the rash of “bad” news, as long as OBAC is recruiting our readers we consider it our responsibility to keep them informed about OBAC developments – good or bad – in a professional and unbiased fashion.

– Lou Smyrlis can be reached at 416-442-2922 or

Truck News

Truck News

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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