Quebec truckers protest government tariffs on soaring gas prices

Truckers visited MNAs across Quebec Monday, demanding the provincial government help them deal with the soaring cost of fuel.

The truckers, who are members of the National association of craft truckers (ANCAI), claim that the transportation rates granted by the Quebec government are based on an outdated fuel price. The Association nationale des camionneurs artisans says its members lost $0.60 per litre of fuel during the month of March and that every hour worked is a loss.

As of Monday, the price of a litre of regular gasoline is up to $2.07 at many locations in the Montreal area, while the price of diesel, the fuel used by large trucks, is even more expensive.

The association says that several approaches from the Ministry of Transportation to address the explosion in fuel prices have so far been unproductive.

The truckers say the current financial situation demonstrates that the current formula of monthly rate adjustments based on the price of fuel at the loading ramp does not come close to making up for the losses caused by the real price increase.

The truckers set out to visit each constituency office of the elected members of the National Assembly, as well as the service centres and territorial directorates of the Ministry of Transportation.

Transport Minister Francois Bonnardel said he's working on the issue.

"We have started discussions with them a couple of days ago and we will continue to discuss with them today and the next days and we will resolve the problem rapidly," he said.

The truckers say that if their demonstration does not achieve its objectives, other actions will be considered, including interventions during political activities or public announcements.

HIGH PRICE DOESN'T JUST AFFECT TRUCKERS

The high price of diesel isn't just affecting truckers. Both the provincial and federal governments need an action plan, said Dan McTeague, president of the group Canadians for Affordable Energy.

"Like it or not, if you mess around with diesel -- it's used for agriculture, it's used for heating, it's used for fertilizer, it’s used for jet fuel, railways -- you are going to cripple the Canadian economy if you allow diesel prices to go through the roof," he said.

McTeague has long supported increasing Canadian oil production as a way to lower fuel prices for businesses and for the average driver

The federal government is against that, believing Canada should transition to cleaner energy sources. 

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 9, 2022. With files from Rob Lurie of CTV News Montreal.

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