Ontario lawmakers want your comments on speed limiters

| Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Some lawmakers in the province of Ontario, Canada, have vowed to keep an open mind about the effects that government-mandated speed limiters would have on small-business truckers.

Provincial lawmakers are preparing for a round of public hearings on Bill 41, introduced by Ontario Transportation Minister Jim Bradley to make speed limiters mandatory on all heavy trucks operating in the province. That means truckers have an opportunity to be heard before the lawmakers vote.

On Tuesday, May 13, the Ontario Legislature assigned Bill 41 to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy. It is that committee’s job to set public hearing dates and times. Visit the committee’s Web site by clicking here.

Frank Klees, a Progressive Conservative member of provincial parliament from the Newmarket-Aurora region, said he is keeping an open mind on the plight of small-business truckers.

“We have said we will listen very carefully to the various sectors of the industry and be prepared to propose amendments to the legislation based on what we hear, and conduct ourselves accordingly when it comes to how we vote on this legislation,” Klees told Land Line on Thursday, May 8.

Klees said a government mandate on technology does little to solve problems associated with speeding.

“The fact is that our problem, in my opinion, is not one of technology. It’s enforcing the speed limits and the laws that we have in place. And I think that’s where it should be left,” he said.

During an April 14 debate on Bill 41, Klees told Bradley and other lawmakers that a mandate will only expose failures in the area of enforcement.

“That is, we already have speed limiters in Ontario. They’re called speed limits,” Klees told lawmakers. “The very fact that we have to entertain this legislation in this House is an indication that we have failed along the way in a very big way.”

Klees said he knows that getting an amendment attached to a government-sponsored bill is a tough undertaking because the Liberal Party controls the majority.

Bradley introduced Bill 41 on March 19 based on a 2007 Liberal campaign promise. The proposed mandate mirrors what the Ontario Trucking Association has been pushing since November 2005.

During the April 14 debate, the transportation minister said slowing down trucks would cut greenhouse gas emissions and make highways safer.

Klees said government leaders are really playing up safety and the environment.

“The challenge we have with this legislation is that by voting against it, you are perceived to be voting against safety and the environment,” he told Land Line.

“We want to do the right thing for safety, and we want to do the right thing for the environment.”

Klees said he welcomes input from truckers, and encourages them to e-mail comments to fklees@frank-klees.on.ca or mail him at the following address:

            Frank Klees
            Member of Provincial Parliament
            Room 447, Legislative Bldg.
            Queen’s Park
            Toronto, Ontario
            M7A 1A8

Truckers are also encouraged to share their views with Transportation Minister Bradley and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Bradley can be reached at (416) 327-9200 or in writing at:
            Jim Bradley
            Ontario Minister of Transportation
            77 Wellesley Street West
            Ferguson Block, 3rd Floor
            Toronto, Ontario
            Canada M7A 1Z8

Premier McGuinty can be reached by phone at (416) 325-1941 or in writing at:

            Dalton McGuinty
            Premier of Ontario
            Ferguson Block, 12th Floor
            77 Wellesley St. W.
            Toronto, Ontario
            Canada M7A 1N3

– By David Tanner, staff writer
david_tanner@landlinemag.com

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