MP talks airports during House of Commons speech

Gord Johns expresses concerns about any plans the federal Liberals have to privatize airports

MP Gord Johns (Courtenay-Alberni), NDP spokesperson for Small Business and Tourism, stood up Friday during Question Period in the House of Commons, pointing out that Canadians will end up paying higher travel costs if the government privatizes airports.

“Why would the Liberals try to get private investment in this area?” asked Johns. “Is it because they want their friends in big business to reap the profits, or simply because they don’t care about middle class Canadians paying more for air travel?”

According to the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism competitiveness report for 2015, Canada ranks No.1 among 141 countries for airport infrastructure. This indicator measures the extent countries offer sufficient air connectivity for travellers’ access to and from countries, as well as movement within their region.

However, in the category of price competitiveness of tourism, Canada has a ranking of 124th.

“Canadians already pay among the highest travel fees in the world, and provincial tourism ministers agree they don’t want Canada’s airports privatized,” said Johns.

A news release from Johns’ office said this follows a November trip to Nunavut, in which Johns and the Minister for Small Business and Tourism attended the Canadian Council of Tourism Ministers meeting.

In his Fall Economic Statement, the Finance Minister announced the creation of an infrastructure bank aimed at attracting private investment in major projects such as public transit, highways and airports.

— NEWS Staff/MP news release

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