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Owner/operator blockades in Maritimes slow to start

FORT LAWRENCE, N.S. -- Three years ago over 400 truckers blockaded the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border over rising...

FORT LAWRENCE, N.S. — Three years ago over 400 truckers blockaded the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border over rising fuel prices. Many were hoping for those numbers yesterday, but it didn’t happen.

Trucker Barry Cohoon, who orchestrated the protest three years ago, was sitting in a friend’s rig this time because fuel prices are so high, he couldn’t bring his own truck.

“After eight years, I’ve decided it’s not worth my whiles to continue,” says Cohoon. “I’ve parked my truck, pulled the plates, took the registration off it, and I even think I have it sold. That’s not something I wanted to do because I like trucking.”

Cohoon says he isn’t discouraged that only two truckers showed up for the four hour protest because the blockade is just the first step in sending the message to the government.

Brian Currie, protest organizer, agrees with Cohoon in that the trucking system has to be regulated, and the industry has to organize to get the message across.

“The cost of fuel is burying us…and it’s just getting worse, they just informed me five minutes ago that the price has jumped to 99.9 cents a litre. That’s a hike of nine cents today,” says Currie.”We are willing to talk with the government.Something needs to happen right away.”

Meanwhile in New Brunswick, the numbers were also less than expected or desired, but organizers plan to continue this one around the clock until the provincial government gives some indication it will take action against the rising fuel prices.

This blockade is taking place on the Trans-Canada Highway at the Nevers Road turnoff half-way between Fredericton and Oromocto.

“Too many truckers can’t make a living because they can’t pay the fuel and the insurance,” says Doras Stennick, president of the Southern New Brunswick Truckers Association and organizer of this protest. “The big companies get subsidies but the little guys can’t cope any longer.”

Even though both protests prove to be slow off the blocks, both organizers are confident they will make a point.

“Even though the number of trucks were outnumbered 10 to one by police cars and media vehicles, it was a success,” says Currie. “The whole goal was to get the media out, to let people know that we are organizing and that we are going to take this issue all the way.”

The truck drivers are calling on all truckers and private vehicle owners who are concerned with fuel prices, insurance premiums, haulage rates or the soon to increase cost of goods, to attend the protest with anything on wheels they can park on the side of the road.

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