Las Vegas, Nevada – What is the Trudeau government really up to regarding airport privatization? The mere thought of it has both many airlines and members of the IAM concerned.
“The government is looking at the cash they could get from the sale of Canada’s major airports,” said Rick Smith, Executive Director of the left-wing think tank, The Broadbent Institute.
“This idea came out of nowhere, it wasn’t part of their election platform in 2015, and in fact it was a dormant idea from former Harper Conservatives. But Parliament Hill was swarming with lobbyists for airport privatization on budget day last month.”
The sale of Canada’s airports to private owners is worth billions of dollars, yet three of Canada’s major airports, Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa, are opposed to the idea, only the Greater Toronto Airport Authority is championing the cause. Speaking to delegates at the 2017 IAM Transportation conference here, Smith said it might just be a trial balloon by the Trudeau Liberals. “They could very well fishing, looking to see how much push back they’ll get from this idea,” he explained. “There’s so many other things they should be doing so this doesn’t make any sense, but it could generate money to pay for infrastructure or lower the national debt, it’s a one shot deal that would be a horrible mistake.”
“Look the country’s largest airline doesn’t like it,” said Smith. “Air Canada said it would only increase their costs and they would have to pass it along to the consumer. You increase their costs and they have to cut somewhere else and that means your members. Once private ownership takes over, they will pursue lower costs to make more money and that will come at the expense of workers, your IAM members.”
Smith told delegates this idea has created unusual allies. “If you want to stop this, seek out the airlines and airport authorities, the conservative MP’s and senators who oppose it and push back together.” The four-day conference wraps up Wednesday.