Quebec truckers hit the road to protest the rising cost of fuel and to call on the provincial government to intervene to help their bottom line.
The problem goes beyond gasoline topping $2 per litre while diesel sits above $2.40 at the pumps in Montreal, though. There is also the high price of other expenses associated with the job.
“The insurance of vehicles went up. The (licence) plates went up,” said truck driver Miguel Biurrarena on Monday morning, before ultimately concluding “practically everything has gone up.”
The Association nationale des camionneurs artisans (ANCAI), which represents truckers who work in bulk transportation, said in a statement the province’s current transport rates are “completely disconnected from reality.”
The association claims that its members lost $0.60 per liter of fuel during the month of March and that every hour worked is a loss.
The situation is “untenable” and puts small transportation companies’ survival at risk, according to ANCAI. That is why truckers are taking to protesting outside the Transport Ministry and provincial politicians’ offices across Quebec.
In downtown Montreal, protesters peacefully blocked one lane of traffic. A letter was handed to Transport Minister François Bonnardel’s office.
“Truckers calling for the Transport Ministry bulk rates to be increased to reflect actual 2022 costs as a matter of urgency,” the association said.
Biurrarena, who has been in the business for about 40 years and owns his own truck, said drivers cannot continue to work at the current rates.
“You cannot make a living,” Biurrarena said. “You will survive a month or two or three and then it will catch up to you.”
Quebec’s Transport Ministry said in a statement it is “aware of the issues facing this sector and is in constant communication with its partners to remain proactive in finding solutions.”
“The ministry is currently analyzing short- and medium-term avenues to support truckers in this exceptional context of rising fuel prices,” the department said.
— with files from The Canadian Press