Violence escalates in Canadian truckers strike

| Monday, July 25, 2005

Company authorities believe an attack on their trucks during the weekend may be related to the ongoing truck strike at Vancouver’s ports.

According to news reports, sometime after midnight on July 23, a group of “South Asian men” drove a red car onto property owned by Pro-West Transport and opened fire, heavily damaging eight trucks, one of which contained a sleeping driver. The driver was uninjured in the attack.

Mike Bowman, president of Pro-West, told the Canadian Press that he believes the attack was a warning from striking truckers. Pro-West has continued to deliver goods to Vancouver ports in spite of a strike by independent truckers that has been going since June 27.

The striking truckers have all but shut down Vancouver’s ports and are demanding higher rates and a fuel surcharge to cope with their soaring costs.

The shootings are the latest in a string of violence in the area. Early on July 23, a driver for another company reported slashed suspension air-bags and tires on two trucks parked at his home.

Other drivers have received phone calls threatening harm to their families. Still other trucking companies have reported broken windshields, bricks thrown through windows at the homes of drivers, and security personnel being held at gunpoint while trucks were vandalized.

Meanwhile, both the Canadian federal government and the British Columbia government have thus far refrained from intervening in the dispute.

However, a government-appointed facilitator is expected to meet with both sides later this week.

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