OOIDA delegation meets with Canadian lawmakers about safety, trade

| 4/8/2009

OOIDA government affairs staff and a delegation of truckers from a variety of backgrounds met face to face with Canadian lawmakers this week on issues of trade, highway safety, and an Ontario law that requires speed limiters on heavy trucks.

Director of Government Affairs Rod Nofziger and Government Affairs Counsel Laura O’Neill of the U.S.-based Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association spent Monday and Tuesday, April 6 and 7, discussing the speed-limiter law and other important issues, including longer-combination vehicles, with representatives of Ontario’s three major political parties.

Trucker and OOIDA member Scott Mooney of Cambridge, Ontario, was part of the delegation. Back in early March, Mooney and others rallied against the speed-limiter law during a peaceful protest on the steps of the provincial capital in Toronto.

Being part of this week’s delegation was a great experience, he said.

“I left feeling positive. There were a lot of people asking questions, inquiring about what the concerns were,” Mooney told Land Line on Wednesday, April 8.

Mooney said members of the Progressive Conservative and New Democratic parties are sympathetic to the cause involving small-business truckers on the issue of speed limiters mandated in the Liberal Party government’s law, which took effect Jan. 1.

“One of the MPPs (members of provincial parliament) said that if he would have known a lot of this information beforehand, he would have spoken out louder against it,” Mooney said.

“We also had a meeting with a gentleman who works under Transportation Minister Jim Bradley,” Mooney said. “He drafted the bill. It was his baby, and he doesn’t want to see his bill get squashed.”

Mooney maintains a Web site dedicated to the speed limiter issue on the social networking site Facebook. He used the site to organize the March 2 protest at Queen’s Park.

“I’ve been receiving a lot of e-mails from people who wanted to attend that last protest, and they said that some of their employers were threatening to let them go if they were caught attending,” Mooney said.

The owner-operator said he was grateful for the opportunity to meet face to face with lawmakers on some of the issues facing Canadian and U.S. drivers.

The topic of longer-combination vehicles surfaced during the discussions, and OOIDA members and staffers were able to share the Association position that bigger, heavier trucks tear up highways and cause unsafe vehicle interactions.

“They asked us about it, so that was progress,” Mooney said.

– By David Tanner, staff writer