Saturday, January 2, 2010

Battle of the Experts vs Buddy at the Tire Store: Bathurst Mothers Identify "Buddies at the Tire Store"

Buddy at the Tire StoreWe see that Valerie Kilfoil, the Director of Communications for the New Brunswick Department of Education, is comparing the tire experts we consulted with over the last two months to "Buddy at the tire store".

We'd laugh, if her attempt at diminishing the qualifications of our experts wasn't so pathetic and the issues so serious.

Instead, it just makes a person want to cry that someone with so little knowledge of tires and the automotive industry is allowed to spout such Pablum for public consumption with no scientific research data to back her up and it actually gets printed in the papers as the god's truth.

We're not experts, and we'll be the first to admit it. That's why we went to the experts and they all told us that the 21 passenger MFAVs need winter tires all around. Seems like a no-brainer, doesn't it?

Meantime, Ms. Kilfoil is relying on the "opinion" of a government paid consultant David Hoar of Motion Design Associates in Fredericton, as well as the "opinion" of two tire companies who were given the wrong information about the vehicles, which were misidentified as "buses". (Click here to read Department of Education Misleads Public by Calling MFAV a Bus)

Buddy at the Tire StoreOne would think this would be a no brainer, but apparently not. To Valerie Kilfoil, the opinion of our 14 "experts" is as reliable as "Buddy from the tire store." To quote from an article which appeared in the Canadian Press on December 31, 2009 and the Fredericton Daily Gleaner on January 1, 2009, Kilfoil said:

... while many drivers know the benefits of having four winter tires over two, the government decided it was best to consult with experts in the tire industry.

"You can't talk to buddy at the tire store because most people know that four winter tires are the safest," she said.

(Click here to read full story: N.B. government says it's using expert advice on tires for student vans)

Buddy at the Tire StoreThe insinuation is, of course, that the "experts" we talked to at Transport Canada, to name just one of the experts we have spoken to, are equivalent to "Buddy at the tire store". The arrogance of Ms. Kilfoil and her colleagues at the Department of Education who, at this very moment, are in discussions with the very same people at Transport Canada to come to a full resolution of this issue. It's amateur hour all over again at the New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Education.

It makes you wonder how the bureacrats in the government of New Brunswick can sleep at night knowing that the information they are feeding the public is incorrect and misleading.

And we wonder what the experts we consulted with since October think of being compared to "Buddy at the tire store"? We have a feeling that our "Buddies" would be insulted to be spoken of in such a condescending manner by a bureaucrat in the Department of Education.

Buddy at the Tire StoreWe have more confidence in the ordinary "Buddies at the tire store" - blue collar workers and business owners who have the intimate knowledge of tires on a day to day basis than we do in spin doctors who don't know anything about the industry. It's the "Buddies at the tire store" who have more knowledge about tires in their little finger than anyone over at the Communications Branch of the Department of Education could ever learn in a lifetime of writing press releases.

Here are just some of the experts whom we have spoken with since October. Only one of them would even consider himself "Buddy at the tire store" and proudly so, because he has more than 30 years experience in the industry - which should give him some authority when talking about winter tires on MFAVs.

In talking with these people over the last two months, all of them - and even "Buddy at the tire store" - agree that the 21 passenger Multi Function Activity Vehicle used by Bathurst High School should have winter tires all around.

Ron Campbell of Girardin Minibus QC,

Alex Schoettner Service of Girardin Minibus QC,

Moncton Coast Tire and Auto Services

Sofia Volpov President, CEO, 1010

Mr. Connor, Atlantic Tire Dealers Association

Jacques Vienot, CTR Tire, Bathurst, NB

Ralph McBride, CUPE National Representative, Saint John, NB

George Iny, Automotive Protection Association, Montreal, Quebec

Nigel Mortimer, Head of Recalls, Transport Canada

John Mahler, Veteran Automotive Journalist and tire expert, Toronto Star's

Click here to read article on Wheels.caSpeaking of John Mahler, in November, he wrote a feature article on this issue for the Toronto Star's

(Click here to read John Mahler's article Winter Tire Lesson Lost Already?)

In the course of doing his research Mahler interviewed several leading industry representatives who all agreed that the 21 passenger MFAV needs winter tires all around.

The experts John Mahler interviewed for his article include:

- Michelin North America's Ron Margadonna
- Toyo Tire's Canadian public relations manager, James de Chavez
- Bridgestone North America's Guy Walenga, director of engineering, commercial product technology
- Joerg Burfien, Continental Tire's director of R&D
- Malcom Elston, Certified Ontario Driving Instructor