Teamsters want national fuel rebates for truckers

LAVAL, Que. — The livelihood of thousands of truckers’ is at risk if the government doesn’t step in and give them a break on fuel prices, says Teamsters Canada.

The union is urging the Ottawa to establish a national rebate program to mitigate the effects of high gas and fuel prices. The program is based on effective provincial models.

The price of diesel — which is well over 41.50 in many parts of the country — "imposes a perilous cost on trucking companies, brokers and owner-operators," says the union.

"In my 40 years in this business, I have never witnessed such a critical situation. It is only a matter of weeks before companies will begin to disappear," says Robert McAulay assistant director of Teamsters Canada’s Freight and Tank Haul Division.

Trucker protests aren’t as common here as
they are in Europe. But that could change.

In a press release, the Teamsters referred to massive strikes by truckers in Europe, where two drivers have been killed during clashes with picket-crossers.

"These demonstrations reflect the same feelings of anger and exasperation that have prompted protests in Europe, obstructing traffic on several major roadways."

The federal government, however, has the power to mitigate the "crisis by using the budget surpluses it has accumulated in recent years to assist the trucking industry."

The Quebec government affords independent drivers in that province protection against rising gas and fuel costs, which is evidence that a national rebate program could be successful, says the union.

"One thing is sure: current gas and fuel prices will have dire consequences for the health of Canada’s economy," predict Robert Bouvier, President of Teamsters Canada which represents thousands of truckers in the country. 

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