Teamsters Canada calls on the federal government to implement a national fuel-rebate program



    LAVAL, QC, June 12 /CNW Telbec/ - With thousands of jobs in the
ground-transportation industry at stake, Teamsters Canada is urging the
federal government to establish a national rebate program to mitigate the
effects of high gas and fuel prices. The program is based on effective
provincial models.
    According to transportation experts across the country, the prices of gas
and fuel-which has surpassed the $1.50 per litre mark in several regions of
the country-imposes a perilous cost on trucking companies, brokers and
owner-operators.
    "In my 40 years in this business, I have never witnessed such a critical
situation. It is only a matter of weeks before companies will begin to
disappear," says Robert McAulay assistant director of Teamsters Canada's
Freight and Tank Haul Division (Central Region).
    Jean Chartrand, assistant director of Teamsters Canada's Freight and Tank
Haul Division (Eastern Region), agrees. "Dozens of companies will have no
choice but to close down."
    Recently, frustrated workers in Spain have formed roadblocks to protest
the high price of fuel. These demonstrations reflect the same feelings of
anger and exasperation that have prompted protests in Europe, obstructing
traffic on several major roadways.
    While most keenly felt by the transportation industry, high gas and fuel
prices have an impact on every sector of the Canadian economy. The vast
majority of goods arrive at Canadian stores by truck.
    "Even a minor rise in gas and fuel costs impacts the price of produce,
goods and services. In the long term, customers will suffer the consequences,"
explains Richard Van Grol Assistant director of Teamsters Canada's Freight and
Tank Haul Division (Western Region).
    There is a solution, however. The federal government has the power to
mitigate the crisis by using the budget surpluses it has accumulated in recent
years to assist the trucking industry. The Quebec government affords
independent drivers in that province protection against rising gas and fuel
costs, which is evidence that a national rebate program could be successful.
    "One thing is sure: current gas and fuel prices will have dire
consequences for the health of Canada's economy," predict Robert Bouvier,
President of Teamsters Canada which represents thousands of truckers in the
country. "The federal government must take action to protect the future of
transportation-industry workers and all Canadians.




For further information:

For further information: Robert (Bud) McAulay, Assistant Director of
Teamsters Canada's Freight and Tank Haul Division (Ontario), (905) 502-0062;
Richard Van Grol, Assistant Director of Teamsters Canada's Freight and Tank
Haul Division (British Columbia), (604) 540-6009; Stéphane Lacroix, Director
of Communications, Teamsters Canada (Quebec), (514) 609-5101


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