Pubdate: Tue, 13 Feb 2018
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: John G. Stirling
Page: 31


Comment: Feds should pump the brakes and rethink its token gesture on safety

We're only seven weeks into the new year and already there are three
major hurdles on the trucking industry's plate. The legalization of
marijuana, the electronic logging devices (ELD) and either the total
cancellation or just a fine-tuning of the North American Free Trade

That's more than enough for the trucking industry to swallow, so let
me try to shed a little light on each of the three.

Justin Trudeau and his crowd made the decision to legalize weed. Those
who have never toked up will soon be calling the shots. This is not
the '60s. There are a lot more vehicles and people on the nation's
highways in 2018, so how does the government propose to keep those
under the influence out of the driver's seat? They have no idea. Nor
do employers. There is no test equipment yet on the market.

The whole idea of allowing the public to toke up was rushed through
and to me, a kid who was a teenager in the '60s, I think the
legalization of Mary Jane hasn't been thought out. Granted, there are
those for whom their doctor has recommended they use marijuana for a
variety of ailments, but should they also be allowed to drive a
commercial rig? Or, for that matter, drive any vehicle if they are

Ottawa has not said one way or the other. In my way of thinking, maybe
a testing procedure should be enacted first to determine if one is
within the same levels as it is with alcohol. Then, when those in
authority are up to speed, then and only then should they let the
public toke up. If somebody needs medical marijuana, you don't need to
drive a rig. Marijuana is a drug, it affects thinking. Those seven
words say it all.

Now on to ELDs, which are in use down south. They went into effect
about three months ago and that includes Canadian drivers who venture
across the 49th parallel to do business.

An ELD is a computer-type piece of equipment that electronically
records every split second that commercial rig is turned on, moving,
etc. It is an Orwellian approach to trucking. A watchful eye
everywhere a commercial driver goes. It does not creating a happy or a
healthy work environment for drivers, employers or shippers anywhere
in the continental United States.

Here in the frozen north, our politicians are still talking about
bringing in legislation to make it law here, too. For once, I am in
agreement with politicians. I like our wait-and-see approach as to how
screwed up it is down there first, then after the American politicians
have ironed out the wrinkles in their big brother approach to
commercial driving their Canadian counterparts can take another kick
at the ELD can.

Finally, there's NAFTA. There's nothing "free" about it in any stretch
of the imagination. Here we have politicians doing their thing again,
affecting every single citizen of North America.

You see, Canada is the United States' largest trading partner. The
U.S. is ours. Rigs are going both ways, north, south, east and west
day and night, bringing and taking products to both countries. You
remember that every single thing that you own came to you somewhere
along the line by a truck.

Now the latest breed of politicians, this time down there, wants to
rewrite the deal that has been re-written so many times I've lost
count. At the end of the day, some politician will stand before a
stack of microphones and say how they just saved their country
millions of dollars in trade sanctions. What he won't admit to are the
billions of dollars of trade those tactics have now sent to
third-world countries.

We can't drive a rig across the Pacific Ocean, but we rig drivers sure
can bring a loaded container to the dock and have a ship take it over
there. The local ports are doing a land office business these days.

It seems that most of our trucking industry problems lead back to bad
decisions made by ill-informed former business types now wearing the
hat of a politician. But then again, bad decisions always make good
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