Female trucker looks to join provincial Tory race

CANNINGTON, Ont. — Dorothy Sanderson is revved up and ready to race.

The longtime driver, who owns a trucking company in Cannington, Ont., is throwing her name in the hat of candidates to represent the Conservatives in the next provincial election for the Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes- Brock region.

Sanderson, who is also the health and safety representative for Highland Transport, already has a full plate with her work in the Women in Trucking Association (WTA), the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and her role as a Steelworker—but that isn’t stopping her from trying to make a difference in her community.

Her primary platform should come as no surprise: trucking issues of course.

Sanderson says the reason she thought of running was her frustration at the speed limiter amendment that was added to the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario after plenty of debate and officially went into affect back in January 2009 with hard enforcement beginning six months later.

“I just know the rules (say) once (trucks) cross that border, they are supposed to have them,” says Sanderson. “This is not happening. Trucks aren’t getting checked at the border like they’re supposed to be.”

Even if the border patrol were enforcing the amendment at the border, the fact that it even exists is what has her fired up as it singles out truckers for speeding, even though they only make up a small percentage of vehicles on the road, she says.

Another trucking issue she is hoping to tackle is the truth and leasing law in the U.S., because she knows truckers in Ontario can benefit from a company’s disclosure.

“When an owner-operator leases onto any trucking company, there has to be a truth, where the owner- operator knows how his deductions are sourced,” says Sanderson of the U.S. law. “How much is the real cost of fuel?”

She hopes to get a similar law passed in Ontario so owner-operators can be more aware of how much they might be subsidizing a company’s costs.

Insurance coverage is another issue she is hoping to address as she’s been with the same company for 26 years and has yet to get a copy of her insurance paperwork. “Under truth and leasing, they would have to give it to us,” she says.

Traffic issues during the months of May to September are also a problem in the area, Sanderson says, one which she hoped the Ministry of Transportation was going to address when she suggested they convert Highway 12 from two lanes to four.

“(The ministry says) because we don’t have a transit system out here, we can’t get a four lane highway,” she says. “Yet all those buses that are going back and forth from the city to the casino in Port Perry or Orillia…if that’s not a transit system, I don’t know what is.”

Don’t think Sanderson is only interested in trucking affairs affecting her community. She plans on addressing key issues such as the relationship between farmers and the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of the Environment.

“(Farmers) know what makes stuff grow and what doesn’t,” says Sanderson. “They know what’s safe and what isn’t. They’ve been doing it for years.

“They don’t need that person from natural resources visiting them, questioning why they’re doing (repairs on fences or cutting down brush).”

She is familiar with the way farms function as she grew up on a farm herself, and feels there are too many people who don’t know the farming industry limiting farmer’s actions.

“Looking after the environment is good,” she says, “but coming and telling the farmers how they can plant, what they can plant, how much they can plant, that’s not good.”

The allocation of tax dollars within the province is another issue Sanderson says needs to be addressed. She says she pays the higher property tax of Durham, but neither she nor her community seems to benefit from those tax dollars.

“We don’t get a lot of the goodies,” she says in reference to needed road repairs and the highway expansion. “But we sure do get the taxes.”

Sanderson says she plans to address trucking issues, farming and rural Ontario issues in that order if she gets a chance to run.

— by Farrah Cole

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