Two things happened recently and almost simultaneously that have a profound affect on our lives as truckers. Now maybe you won’t see the immediate significance of either of these events or even conclude they are not related in any way but they are inextricably related and as small business owner operators and drivers you will see how.
One event was the election in Wisconsin where a governor was being challenged by powerful lobby groups who wanted to have total control over the State and its financing and they wanted their candidate elected to give them that power. The governor in office was doing the necessary things that weren’t popular with the lobby groups but the citizens saw through the self-interest and self-importance of the lobby groups and voted for sanity and a balanced budget.
The other event was in a small city in the Niagara Region of Ontario, Welland to be precise, where a judge threw out the need for all commercial trucks in Ontario to be equipped with speed limiters. Now, naturally, this ruling will be appealed and may even make it to the Supreme Court of Canada before the law is stricken from the books but the long process has begun to bring sanity and the ability of the commercial driver to think for himself and react to conditions rather than have a computer do it for him or her.
What this shows me is that people do count in politics. Voters’ count and every vote counts so don’t ever feel that you as a small individual don’t have the ability to bring sanity to the world and actually make a difference. That is what makes our system of government sound.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and give kudos to our politicians because they do at least try to react to the needs of those who elect them. They should be proactive but they can't know everything about everything so they must rely on those within the various trades, functions, and groups to advise them properly. Unfortunately, in this “squeaky wheel getting the grease” world in which we live, lobby groups, be they unions, business associations, special interest groups, or even big single businesses seem to have more say than that small individual who has something to say but whose voice gets lost in the shouting. Fortunately, our democratic system of government in which every voice no matter how small has a vote and the big lobby groups don’t - both of these events prove that point.
In Wisconsin, the sanity of the electorate prevailed. In Ontario, one small person stood up (well many stood up) to fight a law that wasn’t in the best interest of anyone, in fact it continues to do much more harm than good. When the politicians wouldn’t listen to the little people who elected them, there was the option of a court. In this case the court agreed with the little people and rightly so. In spite of this, the lobby groups (and government) continue to be undaunted and will continue to fight for the status quo as they have created it, but courts being impartial listen to all sides of the argument then decide right and wrong or in this case is there more benefit one way or the other.
Politicians are mere people who choose to help make the important decisions to make society run smoothly. They can’t, nor should they do it alone. But often, they are forced to make decisions that are not in the best interest of the majority and often the minority needs accommodation. It’s a tough life being a politician trying to please everyone and pleasing no one.
We have to remember that we all, each and everyone of us, must have our say whether that “say” is voicing our concerns freely and openly without fear of reprisal or voting for the candidate that best reflects our feelings without interference. Once we elect the person that best reflects our feelings, we must ensure his or her feet are held to the fire to live up to those words that got him or her elected – as they did in Wisconsin and yes, as they did in Welland. It’s a good day.