As truckers from Western Canada get ready to convoy east in February to protest the federal government, one local man who has been down the same road, said the path to the Parliament may not be an easy one. In 1991, Wayne Whitney, a truck driver from Kindersley, was apart of the truck convoy that made it’s way to Ottawa protesting fuel taxes and regulations that they felt, gave American haulers an unfair advantage.
Whitney said the 1991 convoy had hundreds of truckers, some of who made their way all the way to the Parliament buildings in downtown Ottawa to have their voices heard. He shared that during the protest, highways were shut down, law enforcement was present and Whitney himself was arrested even though the arresting officer stated he didn't disagree with what they were doing, it was just the law.
“If Ottawa knows they are coming, there are a few factors that could prevent them from getting through Ontario,” said Whitney. He outlined that the Trans Canada Highway that the convoy is planning to travel on, drops down from a four-lane highway to a two-lane highway providing only one eastbound lane for traffic as they enter Ontario. Whitney said dependant on the number of trucks, they may get shut down by law enforcement soon after crossing due to the disruption in traffic the convoy would cause.
Whitney also said that roughly 50 kilometres into Ontario, the Kenora weigh scales could also provide an opportunity for delays if they convoy is not welcomed into the eastern province.
Social media posts made from the official convoy group, has members reiterating their intent for a peaceful protest, but also want to make their grievances known to the federal government. Two of the topics that have also spawned local protests in recent weeks include fighting against carbon tax and fighting for pipelines.
Whitney, who still operates a trucking company from Kindersley, SK., said he hopes he is wrong and that all those who are going get through to have their voice heard, as his and many others’ efforts in the 1991 convoy saw eventual success.
West Central Online contacted the Ontario Ministry of Transportation for clarification on the ramifications, if any, of a convoy travelling through the province. The communication department stated there are different regulations for different areas of Ontario and would not be able to provide further information without specifics of the convoy.