MP Column: Standing up for Truckers
Updated: Jan 25, 2022
When I was in school, a teacher told a friend of mine to get to work, that he would never make a living looking out the window. He laughs today as he is a truck driver and says, “She should see me now, making a living looking out a window.”
Truckers have been some of the unsung heroes of the pandemic, continuing to haul the food and goods we need to survive. Wave after wave, storm after storm, these men and women kept food on grocery store shelves.
Now, with inflation at an all-time high, Justin Trudeau has extended his ‘vaccine vendetta’ (a term coined by my colleague MP Pierre Poilievre) to one of the most integral parts of our supply chains. Products are already limited and empty shelves have become the norm. The vaccine mandate will make this worse. The Liberal federal government seems intent on making life more frustrating and more expensive for you at every turn.
On average, the cost of food is up 5.2%, but for many products it’s much higher. A head of cauliflower in January 2021 was $2.97 – this month the same cauliflower costs $3.99. Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, a professor at Dalhousie University who specializes in food security and supply chains, says we could see even higher prices. He writes, “Canada imports about $21 billion worth of agri-food products from the United States every year, and about 60 to 70% of the food imported arrives on wheels. That’s almost 20% of the food Canadians buy in food service and retail.... Stopping some of that business could exacerbate the driver shortage the industry is already experiencing and could drive up retail prices even further in the weeks to come.”
And that’s food. Never mind the compounding costs of hardware, auto parts, fertilizer and other agriculture inputs. Just this week the owner of Vanderwell Mills, based in Slave Lake, told me, "It used to cost about $2000 to ship a super-b truckload of lumber to the coast; now it's between $5500 & $6000." That’s triple the cost in just two years.
Canada has one of the most vaccinated populations in the world. The question I and many others have is: What is the goal of the Liberals with their vaccine mandates? Research has shown that threatening people to get vaccinated doesn’t work well. I have heard from many people who for a variety of reasons have not been vaccinated and were willing to lose their jobs. The belief that the remaining unvaccinated truck drivers will suddenly get a vaccine is ridiculous.
I have also written about how similar mandates with the RCMP caused reductions in service and threatened public safety. When it comes to Canada Post, anyone living in La Crete knows how the holiday deliveries were delayed due to mandates; many kids missed getting their Christmas gifts.
This week, inflation hit a 30-year high. The trucker vaccine mandate will only increase inflation and supply chain problems. We don’t need mandates. They don’t work and they undermine our economy. I am calling on the Liberals to abandon their vaccine mandates and focus on reducing the cost of living for Canadian families.