Quebec truckers protest against corruption at construction sites
Published Sunday, May 13, 2018 10:57AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 14, 2018 6:19PM EDT
Thousands of dump truck drivers took part in a protest on Monday against non-accredited truckers on work sites across Quebec.
Sixty trucks left Carrefour Angrignon in Montreal on Monday morning and were blocking Notre Dame St. at 7:15 a.m.
Soon afterwards they reached the Turcot Interchange worksite and tried to block the entrance with their vehicles but were thwarted by workers from KPH, so instead they abandoned their trucks and lay down on the roadway.
The protest at the Turcot site lasted about four hours before the convoy of drivers broke up and moved on.
Dozens more rallied in Quebec City around down near the officers of the Ministry of Transportation with a plan to drive to the National Assembly at 9:30 a.m.
Once they arrived, they blasted their horns, creating a loud raucous.
Similar protests took place at about 60 construction sites across the province.
The drivers say using uncertified truckers could make it easier for corruption to breed, and for companies to launder money through fake invoices.
Charles Fournier, the president of Transvrac Montreal, said the corruption inquiry demonstrated that all construction-related companies were subject to criminal pressure unless closely monitored.
"There is a problem and we know about it. The Charbonneau Inquiry demonstrated that there is a large problem, even when it comes to transportation. There's collusion, there's false billing, there's a whole pack of problems," said Fournier.
They are calling on the government to require public construction sites to only allow truck drivers who have been approved by a government body.
Convoy of dump trucks arrive at Turcot construction site. Slowing things down on 20 eastbound. They’re protesting the use of non-registered truckers on public works sites. @CTVMontreal pic.twitter.com/kqbnssf8Wh— Angela MacKenzie (@AMacKenzieCTV) May 14, 2018
About half of all truck drivers working on government construction sites are not registered with the Ministry of Transportation, and so work for less money.
ANCAI is calling on all truck drivers working on public projects to be accredited by the provincial government.
Speaking in Gatineau, Transport Minister Andre Fortin said it’s a question of balance, and ensure truckers who are part of the association have work, while also ensuring major projects progress quickly.
MTQ whistleblower Annie Trudel said accreditation isn’t the only answer.
“I believe that the position should be reviewed and the accreditation is always a good prevention action, but it does not mean that all the truckers, companies that would be accredited would not be able to make collusion or corruption,” she said.
The truckers say if the minister doesn’t change regulations, there will be more protest action in the future.