Monday, March 6, 2017

Another Pending Betrayal

As we become increasingly disillusioned about the growing disparity between the Trudeau promise and its reality, another betrayal of that promise is pending. Like his neoliberal soul sister in Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, who insists that selling off 60% of the provincial crown jewel known as Hydro One is a no-brainer, Mr. Trudeau apparently thinks it is a keen idea to consider delivering our national airports over to profiteers, a.k.a. the private sector, to raise money for his 'national vision.' The upcoming federal budget looks to begin the process:
The budget is expected to signal the government’s interest in finding a way to tap the value of airports with a process, perhaps led by Transport Minister Marc Garneau, to more formally explore selling them off, the Star has learned.

The potential benefit for Ottawa is huge. One study done by the Vancouver airport authority estimated that the federal government could reap between $8.7 billion and $40.1 billion by selling off the country’s eight largest airports, including Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
That may be good news for a government with a burgeoning deficit, but bad news for the rest of us:
Yet the privatization scheme is ringing alarm bells among airlines, airport operators and some municipalities who warn that handing over Canada’s airports to owners with a profit motive sets the stage for rising fees that will force travellers to pay more.

Vancouver airport has teamed with those in Ottawa and Calgary on a public information campaign to oppose privatization.

“We think it’s a bad idea,” Craig Richmond, the chief executive officer of the Vancouver Airport Authority, told the Star.

“This idea of a one-time payment, that’s like selling the family jewels and then regretting it forever,” he said in an interview.
The consequences of such a sale will be far-reaching and costly for those who fly:
... the authority concludes that privatization would add “hundreds of millions of extra costs” that would have to be recovered through cost-cutting, increased fees and reduced investment in airport infrastructure.

“It would be too costly for a for-profit buyer to acquire an airport such as YVR without reducing services and passing these costs on to airport users through higher fees and charges,” the report states.
So while the private sector may salivate over the prospect of windfall profits, as is the norm in the neoloiberal vision embraced by people like Trudeau and his fellow travellers, the rest of us, the mere peons in this 'grand' vision, will be left to pay the price.

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