Today's Trucking
opinions Elizabeth Bate

They want our votes, but do they hear our voices?

Posted: May 29, 2018 by Elizabeth Bate

It’s that time of year again – campaign season. Whether it’s provincial, federal, municipal, U.S. or various by-elections it seems that one way or another there’s always an election on somewhere, and as the weather heats up, so does the canvassing and the phone calls.

The Ontario general election will be held June 7, followed by one in New Brunswick, and then municipal elections across the country. Once those are done we’re into the year-long ramp up to the 2019 federal elections. Meanwhile south of the border they’re into contests of their own with the U.S. midterm elections in full swing.

While you may have long given up hope of trusting a politician – any politician – ever again, there are very real reasons those in the trucking industry should be concerned with election outcomes.

The introduction of ELDs, for example, have laid bare a problem truckers have been shouting about for decades – the lack of safe, available parking. It’s no longer just a matter of pushing through until you find a spot and fudging a line on the paperwork. Now a lack of spots means lost time, lost income, and in the worst cases, lost lives when drivers are either too tired to operate safely or left stopped in an unsafe area.

Roads are getting worse, too, with damaging potholes turning to all-out closures, and construction making getting through a seemingly impossible task.

But as we hear promises of daycare spaces and dollar beers, where is the commitment to new roads and safe rest areas? More transit is a fine idea, but when congestion costs the country $6.5 billion a year, as one recent report suggests, we should be hearing more about how we’re going to keep the economic engine driving – literally.

As any good journalist would do, I posed questions about such things to all four major parties running in Ontario (whether you consider the Green Party a “major” party is relative) – along with questions about training programs and driver shortages, subsidies and fuel prices, and investments in electric vehicles and new technologies, and ELD implementation timelines.

Crickets are in my inbox where their responses should be.

To be fair, as of press time, the NDP responded on issues surrounding cannabis legislation, and the federal government by way of the Liberal Party of Canada spoke to me on that specific issue as well. But promises of parking and parkways are nowhere to be found. A couple of parties said they were “too busy” to address the issues.

I’m annoyed, but such is the life of a reporter. What’s more startling is the lack of listening governments and potential governments seem to be doing to an industry that supports the rest of their planned projects.

Truckers are the seismologists of the economy, waving our arms and letting everyone know the threat is coming. So why does it feel like no one is listening?

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