New CTA chairman Stollery calls for unified political action

OTTAWA (Oct. 21, 1999) — John Stollery called on trucking industry leaders to define a political agenda to help stave off “drastic” regulatory measures by governments influenced by the industry’s critics.

Stollery, president of TST Solutions in Mississauga, Ont., made the pronouncement in his first speech as chairman of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, the industry’s national lobby group. Stollery was elected yesterday.

He said the industry must continue working toward greater highway safety and to develop “clearly stated objectives” and benchmarks for progress.

Stollery predicted that the business and political conditions faced by trucking companies, as well as the attitude of thegeneral motoring public towards trucking, will likely worsen rather than improve with time.

“There simply are more and more trucks on the road in an ever increasing level of total vehicles, that continue to clog the current inadequate highway infrastructure,” he said. “This fact will not change in the near future, and for many motorists, not just little old ladies, big tractor trailers are intimidating.”

Stollery is calling for a more proactive and self-disciplined approach from the industry with respect to those aspects of the industry’s performance over which it still has some degree of control.

“We must establish clearly stated objectives for ourselves and begin to make changes now,” he said. “Then, and only then, can we also become more demanding on all governments, to become more involved and support us more.”

While touting the industry’s improving safety record, Stollery noted that trucking isn’t the only lobby group vying for the government’s attention.

“It is possible, however, that given enough public outcry and misrepresented lobbying such as comes from CRASH and others, that governments could take drastic measures that would hurt us all.”

CRASH — Canadians for Responsible and Safe Highways — is an Ottawa-based group with ties to the rail industry that has been harshly critical of the trucking business.

Stollery has asked the CTA to convene a conference early in the new year to outline what goals and objectives the industry should establish in order to enhance its public image, and to establish what actions need to be taken to reduce all incidences that impact that image. He wants to look specifically at the incidences of speeding trucks, but will also focus on the broader issue of driver performance.

In wrapping up his speech, Stollery outlined what he believes will be the most significant issue facing the industry in the years to come.

“If we do a good job, it wonÕt be governments and it certainly won’t be the demand for our services, he said. “I believe the most critical factor that will affect our industry is a shortage of people to drive the trucks that will be required to meet that demand.” With that, Stollery proposed making the proposed winter conference, Winnipeg being his preferred site, a two-part conference: image goals, objectives and implementation, as well as future truck driver availability.

No dates or locations for the conference were announced.

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