A Trucker’s Perspective
Shawn Poirier - Northern Ontario Party, Timiskaming Cochrane Nominee
As a Truck Driver, my office has a view that keeps changing, however when I see something awful I can't shut my eyes or the curtains. Since my view from my office is ever changing and far from stable. Every day, I say goodbye and kiss my wife because it could be the last time I get the chance. Now going on 18 years on the road I'm still scared to go to work.
Every snow storm is a challenge. I recognize that this is a challenge for the snowplow operators and I salute them for risking their lives to keep the roads open and safe for everyone. With that said, I firmly believe the Government has made a big mistake in contracting out our road maintenance. In the business world, contractors are in it to make money. It's as simple as that. A company would bid on it and hope to get it and then faces the challenge of making a profit. It's time to have MTO back on the highways and provincial roads. It's time to make northern road standards higher to improve the safety on our highways.
In my opinion, Highway 11 is a death trap. I also believe, four lanes, multi-lanes, and more passing lanes should be implemented on all the major highways in Northern Ontario. We already have these sections on some stretches of highway 69 and on highway 17 around the major cities of Sudbury, North Bay and Thunder Bay. So why doesn’t the Trans Canada Highways 11 and 17 adopt this system across the North? Doesn’t Canada need truck drivers shipping products to Western or Eastern Canada to keep our economy strong? Both the federal and provincial government need to realize that Northern Ontario is the gateway, and when Northern Highways are closed the economy slows. Look what happened when the Nipigon Bridge let go, Ontario had to shut down the link across Canada. We had to detour through the United States. This is an excellent opportunity for us to learn from, let’s not have a repeat performance.
This would also be an excellent time to improve the education of winter driving for all motorists. The most crucial task is to prevent more death on our highways. How do we do that? My friend, Remi Breault, who was a dedicated safe Truck Driver lost his life here on our Northern Highways, let’s take the time and honor him by demanding that our government gives us safer roads and better mandatory winter training for all motorists so we can prevent further tragedies from occurring.
I believe it is time to train all drivers how to drive in winter, from cars to commercial vehicles. When it's freezing outside, all drivers must learn salt or sand does not work. So we need to adapt. It is becoming sadly evident that Southern Ontario drivers need proper training to drive in the North, as they are used to winter maintenance that leaves their highways bare, unlike the snow-covered ones we have in the North. In the winter our Northern highways become ice roads, and our citizens need to learn how to drive on them.
Here at the Northern Ontario Party, we demand that Queens Park ends contracting out road maintenance, reinstate the passenger train, enhanced public transit system to encourage fewer cars on our roads. These are some of the ways the NOP would work to improve our current dangerous Northern Highways. An excellent way to avoid losing more people on our roads is to vote for the NOP. We care for your safe travel. To find out more, please visit our website at www.northernontarioparty.com