July 24, 2005
Vancouver is closed
For a month now, since June 27, the ports of Vancouver have been held hostage by the VCTA - the Vancouver Truckers Association. A group of truckers, although not a recognized union, that have decided to walk away from their jobs.

My company, like many others, have goods in port that we are unable to get without fear of violence. We talk tough about terrorism in the world today, but when it hits our own backyard, the government turns a blind eye. And if you think this doesn't affect you, trust me...it does. Every Canadian has been affected in some way.

Now when this started, I felt some empathy for the truckers. It's an expensive, thankless business and with the rising gasoline prices, no doubt getting more painful every day. However, when I heard their demands included a $75 rate, yeah, that changed. And given that I'm only newly dealing with ocean freight, it came as news to me that these same truckers that are causing the strike are the ones that undercut everyone else years ago and have now realized it's impossible to conduct business at that level.

It's not all truckers. There are some that do continue to attempt to work, but they've been hit with open violence. Rock throwing, clear threats of 'we know where you live', and even gunfire. It's the Wild West out there.

Now the violence, which we've heard varying rumours of, is now hitting the MSM. A trucker's home was targeted the other night, and a window above a child's head shattered by a rock. I'm not even going into the gang of thugs that shot up a bunch of trucks (with one man sleeping inside the cab). This is mafia, mob-based violence. And it feels like we are powerless to make it stop.

Small Dead Animals has a good post on the subject here.

However, given the actions over the last month, patience has dwindled. Companies are in real danger of losing their businesses for good and jobs have already been lost. The Port is technically still open, and therefore, storage fees apply. Each and every day those storage and demurrage costs add up and how can a small business ever recoup? I know my company is already in the tens of thousands of dollars, and we only have a couple dozen containers waiting.

Sure, Best Buy, Sears, and the big dudes can do something. They have deep pockets. But they are such a select few. Many companies are beyond their means, and with the government turning a blind eye, what are the options?

The Chamber of Shipping has implored the government to get involved. K Line has already now diverted to Tacoma. The news has even hit the Asian newspapers.

Would it be different if this was Halifax or Ottawa? You can be sure of it.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer, who looks forward to a better Canada. I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.

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