OTTAWA, On. — OBAC chief Joanne Ritchie yesterday laced into NDP leader Jack Layton’s for his recent remarks regarding the trucking industry.
During a Canada AM broadcast on May 26, Layton said the NDP would like to “get those big rigs and trucks off the road that are destroying the roads by investing in rail again.”
OBAC’s executive director, Joanne Ritchie, responded to Mr. Layton’s remarks by fax, saying, “Trucks are here to stay because trucking is the shipper’s mode of choice. Get over it.”
Ritchie said she was offended when she heard Layton’s remark on the CTV news program.
“I hope his comments are not in keeping with NDP transportation policy. If they are, they demonstrate an appalling lack of understanding of trucking’s role in Canada’s economy,” she said.
In her letter to Layton, Ritchie explained that trucking is the dominant mode of transport in Canada for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the efficiency it offers in a just-in-time economy.
“Shippers want and need reliable, time-sensitive and cost-effective transportation and trucking delivers,” she wrote to Layton. “Trucking is a service industry: we do not create demand, we accommodate it. Canada is producing and shipping more than ever before; more trucks are required to meet record demand. The only way to get trucks off the highway is to slow down the economy.”
Ritchie also suggested that if the NDP is committed to a prosperous Canada, a more positive approach would be to make the highways more truck-friendly.
“We need better, safer highways with more places to rest. We need better border crossing facilities, and we need more cooperation on security and cross-border trade issues with the U.S. We don’t need more truck vs. rail rhetoric,” Ritchie said.
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