Keeping an eye on Communist, Totalitarian China, and its influence both globally, and we as Canadians. I have come to the opinion that we are rarely privy to truth regarding the real goal, the agenda of Red China, and it's implications for Canada [and North America as a whole]. No more can we rely on our media as more and more information on China is actively being swept under the carpet - not for consumption.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Airlines, airports rally against privatization push [selling to China perhaps?]
An Air Canada flight makes its final approach as it lands at Pearson International Airport. THe federal government is considering selling off Canadian airports. (ADRIAN WYLD / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Airlines, airports rally against privatization push
Airports and airlines are pushing back against Ottawa's quiet deliberations to sell off Canadian airports, saying such a move would drive up passenger fees.
The National Airlines Council of Canada, representing airlines such as Air Canada and Westjet, says that airport privatization “would fail the most elementary test of stewardship of the public interest.”
And three major airports — Vancouver, Ottawa and Calgary — have banded together to launch a public information campaign to argue against selling off airport assets to the highest bidder.
“We’re not just to accept a policy decision that has a tremendous impact on airports in Canada without saying a word,” said Mark Laroche, president and chief executive officer of the Ottawa International Airport Authority.
“We want to make sure that if there are policy decisions in that way, that everyone knows what the consequences are,” he said in an interview Thursday.
Canada’s major airports, including Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, are currently operated by not-for-profit airport authorities.
But officials in the transport and finance departments — guided by analysis done by Credit Suisse — have been weighing the potential windfall to the federal coffers if these airports were sold off to for-profit investors, such as pension funds.
Annie Donolo, a spokesperson for Finance Minister Bill Morneau, confirmed Thursday that the issue remains under consideration. She said the department is following up on the review of the Canada Transportation Act tabled earlier this year that recommended privatizing the country’s large airports, including the option of letting them be run by for-profit entities.
“The government is currently conducting preliminary analytical work concerning the recommendations on airport governance and has taken no decision,” she said in an email.
She said that Credit Suisse is providing financial advice on the issue of airport ownership to the Canada Development Investment Corporation, a federal Crown corporation under Morneau’s responsibility, “to inform the government’s consideration of these recommendations.”
With the possibility of privatization looming, parts of Canada’s aviation sector have been organizing to oppose any such move.
In a letter to Morneau and Transport Minister Marc Garneau, the airlines’ council suggests that achieving the “best possible” air transport system “is at best a secondary objective” of the government.
“Exacerbating the situation, this review appears to be conducted in isolation of any formal consideration of the cascading impact of government policies . . . on the cost and operating environment of Canadian carriers and by extension on the pocketbook of Canadian air travelers,” the Dec. 21 letter states.
With no “meaningful” consultations, “clearly articulated” policy objectives or “comprehensive” assessment of the impact, “airport privatization would fail the most elementary test of stewardship of the public interest,” the letter states.
In an interview, Massimo Bergamini, president and chief executive officer of the airlines’ council, said that for too long successive federal governments have viewed the air transportation sector as an easy source of revenue, a situation he says will worsen under privatization.
“Whoever invests in these newly privatized institutions will want to get the best possible return on the investment . . . which means the potential for increases in fees is tremendous,” Bergamini said.
In their own campaign, which includes a website — noairportselloff.ca — launched this week, the three airports make the case for the existing airport authority model.
“We are recognized for having the best aviation infrastructure and most efficiently run airports in the world. And we do it without receiving any government funding,” the website states.
“Every penny we earn is re-invested in the airport, helping to ensure we continue to have some of the best airports in the world,” it says. “BUT...all of this could be at risk.”
Laroche said the Canadian aviation sector already faces a “huge” cost gap with U.S. carriers because of higher fees and taxes north of the border.
“This is just going to increase that gap,” he said of privatization.