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Peaceful protest in the planning

TRURO, N.S. -- Nova Scotia truck drivers don't think they can handle any more fee increases and will unite to send...


TRURO, N.S. — Nova Scotia truck drivers don’t think they can handle any more fee increases and will unite to send a message to the Hamm government.

Approximately 200 drivers who attended the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia’s (TANS) 2002 annual general meeting and convention took a stand and plan to continue with that same momentum later this week in Halifax.

A peaceful protest (a.k.a. information session) is being looked at to get the message across to the government in power that continued fee increases will cripple an already struggling industry.

“We figure if we don’t so something, getting a united voice and showing how bad the industry is going to get, before May 1, there will be absolutely no chance of the minister revisiting this,” says TANS executive director Dave Roberts, who will be acting independently for the protest.

“I’m hoping to see a turn out from every corner of the Province,” says Roberts. A date has not yet been confirmed. The group of businessmen are putting a lot of emphasis on organization and want to be sure to have all their “I’s dotted and T’s crossed” before hitting the streets with their message.

David Clarke of Clarke Trucking in Amherst Nova Scotia says he is all for a protest.

“We are getting the short end of the stick. They (government) can only take so much away before we retaliate,” he says.

The grand total of increases imposed is $17.8 million with approximately $8.5 million of that largely affecting the commercial driving population.

Clarke who has a tandem and a tractor-trailer says his fees for registration on both vehicles will increase by approximately $1,300. This teamed with high insurance rates, fuel prices and low pay rates has backed many drivers into a corner.

“If we could pass it (costs) on, fine and dandy,” says Clarke. “But we can’t.” Aggregate haulers rates are set by the government and have been on the decrease since 1991.

Those interested in taking part in the information session can contact Roberts at dave.roberts@ns.sympatico.ca.


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