October 13, 1983 (32nd Parliament, 1st Session)


Gordon Edward Taylor

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Taylor:

The man from the Island says "No". He says there is never a time when you can use a truck in the best interests of the producer. Such nonsense. Truckers contribute to the economy of the country just as much as the railways do. Truckers are able to step in and fill the gap when the railways cannot deliver.
I can go along with the arguments the NDP make about abandonment of lines, but there is nothing in this subclause about that. I have gone through abandonment. I have sat in homes and have seen the farmer and his wife cry because the line was being abandoned. I have gone to the Board of Transport Commissioners and pleaded with them to leave the railway lines, so I know what I am talking about. This clause has nothing to do with abandonment. Its purpose is to get the grain to market so that the producer can put the money in his pocket.
The NDP talk about trucks ruining the highways, but I wonder if they know what they are talking about. The hopper trailers used by trucks today carry 110,000 pounds or about 900 to 1,000 bushels. They have sufficient axles that the actual toll on the road is less than that of a small truck with one axle and a small tire.
Highway construction is not immature in this country; it is mature. Highways are built for the type of axle that is used on them. A proper subgrade is built and a proper base course, so the only thing that wears out after years and years is the surface and that is a very small part of the costs. The surface can be renewed and the axle load can be regulated. The Member from B.C. who knows so much about trucking should put that in his hat. Highways will not be ruined. A lot of this happens in wintertime when the highways are frozen, but even the inadequate roads constructed by some municipalities because they do not have sufficient money are able to carry heavy loads. They are gravel and they are frozen. Every road in Alberta in winter is hard surfaced, not with asphalt. Jack Frost does the job for them. Those roads carry the traffic.
When one talks about wearing out roads, what better way to wear out roads, if they have to wear out, than by hauling the grain of the producer so we can put some money into the pocket of the producer? Every one of those five speakers of the NDP was completely haywire. They are talking about the wrong clause altogether. We are talking about the interests of the producers and the economy of this country.

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