|First-Time Readers||March 2000|
On Monday, February 21, at approximately 2:00 p.m., independent truckers all across Newfoundland and the Atlantic Provinces demonstrated against high diesel fuel prices by setting up roadblocks stopping traffic. Truckers were definitely justified in conducting this responsible and mannerly protest because the high cost of fuel will affect the truckers, their families, the public, and various businesses.
The public certainly will suffer from the effects of the recent increase in the high cost of diesel fuel. Rising prices of diesel fuel will result in high prices for food, other fuels, medical supplies, clothing, and other consumer goods. For example, most of the food that Newfoundlanders eat is trucked in from the mainland. As well, heating and jet fuels are transported by tankers which operate on diesel fuel. Even businesses will be affected. An increase in the cost of products will be passed on to the consumer. The consumer will react by not buying the products. Therefore, the businesses stand to lose considerable profit. No doubt, employees will be laid off which will affect the whole economy.
In addition, the high price of diesel fuel will certainly affect the welfare of the independent truckers, their families, and those whose service they require. If diesel prices remain high, most truckers will eventually go out of business because it will not be profitable for them to stay in business. Leaving the province to bring back supplies will be costly. Truckers' monthly household bills may go unattended and, as a result, their families may suffer. Truckers may have to look for other employment and, if not successful, may have to take their families and move out of the province. Even those I people who provide services to I the trucking industry will be affected. For instance, mechanics who service trucks will have less work.
After meeting with Lloyd Matthews, the truckers agreed to end the blockade and give the government fourteen days to come up with a solution. They also formed an Independent Truckers' Association which gives them greater bargaining power with the oil distributors to better stabilize diesel prices during times of fluctuation. If there is no solution, truckers are threatening to blockade the roads again. If this happens, the public should support the truckers. The cost of diesel fuel affects everyone, not only the truckers and their families. Do you really want to see your family being jeopardized in the near future? Why not join us and take a stand and support the truckers?