OTTAWA – “These cuts are creating havoc for communities and regions across the country and leaving Canadians with seriously diminished travel options,” said Green Party Leader Annamie Paul. “In the case of Air Canada, it has cut routes to Sydney, N.S., Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Rupert and Kamloops in B.C., Fredericton and Saint John, N.B. and Yellowknife, N.W.T. among others.”
The airline sector is now negotiating a multi-billion-dollar bailout with the government of Canada. The Green Party wants to see this bailout come with conditions attached.
“We know that it is important to protect air transportation routes, especially for rural and remote communities,” said Ms. Paul “At the same time, the government needs to make sure that the airline bailout is focused on the workers and not the corporations. As the government negotiates with the airline sector, this is the time for it to use its leverage to protect workers. Any public funds used to bail out an airline must be justified and conditioned on that.”
The Green Party does not want to see impending airline bailout funds go to funding corporate dividends or bonus payments for airline executives. Rather, bailout support should be used to secure the future of airline workers and of routes to rural and remote communities. The bailout must also be pre-conditioned on a full reimbursement of travellers. Greens were the first to say that there should be no airline bailout without reimbursing customers first for cancelled flights.
“Major airlines have already benefited from the interest-free loans that they took by refusing to refund the money of passengers whose flights were cancelled during the pandemic,” said Green MP Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands)
It is essential that a bailout to the airline industry be Green. “The airline industry is a carbon-intensive sector,” said Ms. Paul. “The government needs to make sure that airline bailouts are conditioned on those companies agreeing to do their fair share to help Canada to meet a target of cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and on publishing a detailed implementation plan in the next few months.”