A Madelinot obliged to spend the night in his car

Un Madelinot obligé de passer la nuit dans sa voiture

Because of a great confusion in the application of the rules, the Madelinot Benoit Painchaud has had to spend a whole night in his car, in very cold, before you can take the ferry to the Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

Last Friday, when leaving Montreal at the wheel of his Ford Mustang (1988), the truck driver, 48-year-old is eager to find his family after three weeks of hard labour on the roads of northern Quebec.

Benoit thinks you should have on hand all the necessary papers such as the form that allows Islanders to cross the New Brunswick and Île-du-Prince-Édouard (Î.-P.-É.), proof of residency in the Islands and a reservation on the ferry on Saturday.

Come to the “frontiers” of Quebec and New Brunswick, Benoit is informed by the RCMP that the only activity permitted is that of fuel. Under penalty of a fine of more than $ 1000, it is forbidden to spend a night in a hotel, or even stop to eat (including the steering wheel). Surprised, he will reserve a night in a hotel in Charlottetown, capital of Pei.-P.-É., and continues his long road.


In the evening, after having crossed the Confederation bridge which links the two maritime provinces, it is again stopped at another dam of the RCMP. The agents inform him that he would have had to arrive only the next day, and forbid him to sleep in a hotel Pei.-P.-É.

“It was nowhere written that we could not sleep in the Pei.-P.-É., but there was no negotiation possible. They ordered me to go directly on the dock. They were playing the cowboys and treated me as if I was a criminal”, ” he says.

At the end of arguments and stuck in a no man’s land inhospitable, Benoit has no choice but to go directly to the crossmember. At this late hour of the night, the administrative offices of the CTMA (Cooperative of maritime and air transport) are closed. The mercury, which had 27 degrees in the morning in Montreal, which has dropped to -1 degree.

The truck driver had to fold down the rear seat of his vehicle to be able to spend the night.

“I was frozen, even if I had put all the blankets and clothes that I had in the car. The next day, at 14 h, I still had the nose, the legs and thighs red, does he know. I don’t have the desire to spend for a victim, but what they have done to me is not human. ”

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