Privatizing Canada’s airports is a bad ideaPublished on 16 March 2017 News & Photos by Senator Dennis Dawson
Drummondville, March 16, 2017 – “The federal transport minister should oppose the privatization of Canada’s major airports,” Senator Dennis Dawson told the Association québécoise du transport aérien (AQTA) in a speech Thursday.
Senator Dawson — who is chair of the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications that concluded a comprehensive study of air travel in 2012 — emphasized that there was no evidence that travellers and taxpayers would benefits if the non-profit corporations that oversee Canada’s major airports were to become for-profit entities charged with providing a good return for private investors.
Privatization appears to be the federal government’s preferred short-term solution to funding it’s major, costly infrastructure projects — but it comes at a cost of its own.
“The huge appetite of finance ministers to sell off assets to replenish their coffers has significantly reduced publicly-owned transportation infrastructure,” Senator Dawson said. “Ministers of transport who have served over the last 30 years no longer have the influence needed to withstand the greed of successive finance ministers, to the point that transport ministers no longer carry the significant weight they used to around the cabinet table.”
The Canadian airport governance model is internationally recognized as a success; users and taxpayers are well served by it.
“Of course costs have gone up,” Senator Dawson said, “but they do to ensure that improvements are made to airport facilities for the sole benefit of users, and not for yielding returns on investment for private investors.”
“We will see next week what the Minister of Finance has in store for us in his budget but privatization of our main airports remains a bad idea. Let’s hope he will take this opportunity to make the right decision, and let’s hope that the full weight of the government will be there to promote and defend the real interests of air travellers and Canadian taxpayers.”
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Parliamentary Research Assistant
The Office of the Hon., Senator Dennis Dawson
Senate of Canada