With a video camera in one gloved hand and a fresh
Tim Horton’s coffee in the other, I strolled around the truck stop
observing the rigs and waiting to meet the man who organized a
grassroots protest against the Ontario speed-limiter law.
police escort was queuing up nearby, and mainstream media reporters
from television and radio were abuzz near a white Volvo VN. Affixed to
the Volvo were placards stating that the government should enforce
current speed limits and not infringe on truckers by making electronic
speed limiters mandatory.
With a wind chill
down to 25 degrees Celsius below freezing, or about minus-13
Fahrenheit, there was nothing “southern” about Southern Ontario on that
frigid Monday morning of March 2.
The owner of
the white Volvo, professional trucker Scott Mooney of Cambridge,
Ontario, seemed oblivious to the cold as he graciously granted one
media interview after the other. I waited nearby because I had an
inside scoop. I was to ride shotgun with Scott as he led the protestors
to Queen’s Park, the provincial government headquarters in nearby
My first impression of Scott was that
he is respectful, hard-working, and really cares about what goes on out
there on the highways.
Reporters dream of these
assignments, especially ones that involve familiar territory, as I grew
up in Ontario not overly far from Cambridge.
regulations Scott and a dedicated delegation of professional truckers
were protesting came from the Liberal Party's calls to slow trucks down
to below 105 kilometers per hour, or 65 mph.
hopped in the truck and Scott introduced me to his two stepsons,
Trenton, 9, and Laughlin, 10, and then gave the order over the CB for
the small convoy to move out.
Scott made it a
point to tell me that the average flow of traffic on the 400-series
provincial highways is between 115 and 130 km/h, or 70-80 mph.
In my first video interview with Scott, I asked him to explain what the truckers were doing that day and why. Click here to view the first of a number of entries in the Land Line Magazine Video Blog.
arrived at Queen’s Park just behind another delegation of drivers from
Bowmanville, Ontario, led by trucker Jack Logan. Click here
to see our arrival at the provincial headquarters. You’ll notice that
the police are taking good care throughout to make protestors welcome
and to manage traffic.
I interviewed Joanne
Ritchie, executive director of the Owner-Operators Business Association
of Canada, on hand to give speeches at the rally. See my interview with
up, I interviewed Jack Logan, who is a company driver for Thorndyke
Transport, which is based in Oshawa, Ontario. Jack does not pull any
punches when discussing the speed-limiter issue. Click here to view the interview in front of his Peterbilt.
to see more of Jack during the podium speeches as he symbolically
tosses white gloves at the feet of reporters to say the “gloves are
I ran into Laura O’Neill at the event.
She’s the government affairs counsel for the Owner-Operator Independent
OOIDA has been against
government-mandated speed limiters since the large motor-carrier
associations led by the Ontario Trucking Association began lobbying the
government for a law in November 2005.
Truckers with satellite radio hear Laura sometimes on Land Line Now talking about speed limiters and other important issues. She was kind enough to give us a few minutes on camera. Click here to hear what she has to say.
was time for the speeches at the podium, so Scott Mooney did the
introductions and stated why the delegation was there. He called on
Gilles Bisson, Member of Provincial Parliament and transportation
critic for the New Democratic Party. He is also running for party
Bisson stands with truckers on the issue. Click here to view Scott’s introduction of Bisson and the speech that follows.
A whole host of people spoke including Joanne Ritchie, her OBAC counterpart and regulatory specialist Jim Park, MPP John O'Toole of the Progressive Conservative Party who read Scott’s petition out loud, and Teamsters representative Bud McCaulay. Click on their names to see their speeches.
I also snagged a few minutes with owner-operator Diana Niedzwiedzki and her dog Hollywood. Diana wore an OBAC T-shirt over her coat that stated: “My speed governor is in the driver’s seat.”
the event, Scott Mooney declared the day a success despite the cold and
the relatively low numbers who turned out. He was grateful to those who
did, and said he was not discouraged in his effort to keep fighting the
law. Monday was about the message, not about numbers, he said.
On the way back to Cambridge, I switched on the camera one last time to get a wrap-up interview with Scott. Click here to view the last of the chronological videos – our anatomy of a trucker protest from the shotgun seat.
Back at the Cedar Creek Truck Stop, it was time to say goodbye and find a place to write my story.
When it was all said and done, I spoke with another lawmaker, MPP Frank Klees by telephone.
He has sided with small-business truckers throughout the proceedings on the speed-limiter law.
told me he found it disappointing that more truckers weren’t at the
protest. Still, he commended Scott Mooney and others for speaking their
piece and said it’s a fight worth fighting.
Courtesy of LandLine Magazine