FLORA Community WEB
440 Wiggins Private, Suite 609M
Ottawa, ONm K1N 1A7
February 21, 2000
Dear Government Representatives,
As more and more media reports come in about truckers protesting High Fuel Prices and Toll Highways, I want to make sure that my voice as a taxpayer and Canadian citizen is heard. I believe it is about time that we started to be a little more consistent in government policies. In a time of reduced government spending, and work to get people off government assistance, this should equally apply to the trucking industry.
The Trucking industry is already one of the most highly government subsidized industries. We have governments (primary provincial and municipal) paying for more and more highways with the vast majority of the wear-and-tear the responsibility of the trucking industry. We have many aspects of the full costs of fossil fuels hidden from consumers and not at all reflected at the pumps, hidden by various subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. Those who claim (Such as the Ontario Trucking Association) that fuel taxes are too high are wanting us to ignore these real costs.
I feel for the drivers who feel that they can not make a living in the current climate, but the actions they are taking so far are not valid ones. Rather than lobbying the government for increased subsidies they should be lobbying the trucking industry itself to increase their wages and negotiate agreements that include more of their costs in what they are paid. CRASH (Canadians for Responsible and Safe Highways) even indicates an improvement in "the pay for truck drivers and independent truckers would also improve road safety by reducing the pressure on truckers to speed and work too many hours."
There is a call for trying to put a cap on gas prices. I for one would
rather see the government remove their subsidization of this industry, and
instead put energies into trying to convert people to more efficient forms
of transporting goods such as rail, and to otherwise reduce their energy
wastage. Global trade seems to assume nonsense when it comes to the actual
cost of transporting goods : the cost is not zero both in terms of public
health and safety as well as in terms of financial costs, and governments
should not be subsidizing the transportation industries in order to hide
this fact. Governments have already signed on to International agreements
such as Kyoto which demand this reduction, and it seems irresponsible to
continue to subsidize parts of the economy which governments have a
responsibility to reduce.
Note: This and other letters can be found at: http://russell.flora.org/papers/