The Toronto Sun reported two days ago that an Oshawa-based group going by the name stop100.ca is pushing to have the posted speed limit changed from 100kph to 120kph on Ontario’s 400-series highways. The effort would appear to be a grass-roots response to Freedom Party’s 2011 election plank calling for that change. Freedom Party’s 120 kph speed limit plank was promoted not only through social media, but also in television commercials aired during election 2011 (see commercial below).
Ontario NDP leader said changing the posted limit is not, for her party, a priority. Progressive Conservative (PC) MPP Frank Klees explained that he generally drives at the speed of the flow of traffic, but his party is not backing the call for a change to the posted limit.
Yesterday, in response to that call, Ontario Transportation Minister Bob Chiarelli shot down the idea (see here, here, and here). He didn’t explain why, other than to claim that there “is not a groundswell” of support for the change. Instead, he claimed that he sticks his car in cruise control at the posted 100kph when he is on Ontario’s 400-series highways. The flow of traffic on those highways normally moves at 120 kph to 130 kph. He called such blocking “courteous” driving.
Chiarelli did not respond to a number of invitations extended to him to speak about the issue on NewsTalk 1010 (CFRB AM – Toronto), with Friendly Fire hosts Ryan Doyle and John Downs. However, Freedom Party leader Paul McKeever did call in to the show to speak to the issue briefly (you can listen to Friendly Fire’s June 13, 2011 extended discussion with Paul McKeever, about Freedom Party’s speed limits idea, here). However, over the course of the show’s one hour discussion of the proposal, Doyle commented on the sheer volume of calls and text messages the show was receiving, which belied Chiarelli’s claim about there being no groundswell of support.
You can listen to the full April 18, 2012, one-hour Friendly Fire segment (commercials removed) by clicking here.