New Ontario transport minister inherits speed limiter issue

| 5/26/2006

The Ontario provincial government is doing a dance called the shuffle – the cabinet shuffle – and several top officials have gotten bumped, including the transportation minister.

Premier Dalton McGuinty bumped Ontario Transportation Minister Harinder Takhar to another position, and naming former Energy Minister Donna Cansfield to the transportation post.

Cansfield inherits the speed limiter issue in the Canadian province, where the Ontario Trucking Association is pushing for a mandated maximum of 105 kilometers per hour, or 65 mph, on all trucks doing business in the province. That proposal would include American trucks doing business in Ontario.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance is pushing for a joint speed limiter policy among its eight provincial motor carrier associations.

The speed limiter issue has not seen much action in Canada since January, when the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario took the OTA proposal under advisement.

Mandatory speed limiters have drawn opposition from the Owner-Operators’ Business Association of Canada, and the U.S.-based Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association on issues of safety and the point that authorities should enforce the existing road laws.

Cansfield is a former Toronto School Board member.

Takhar, one of the ministers that opposition members liked to criticize, will move to the Ministry of Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Premier McGuinty told a press conference that the reason for the shuffle had nothing to do with performance, and that part of it was to give former Finance Minister Greg Sorbara his old job back.

Sorbara had been under investigation involving his private business, but his name was cleared by authorities.

By David Tanner, staff writer