Sure, more lattes
Re Travellers will pay the price if our airports are sold (Oct. 24): The CEOs of the Ottawa and Vancouver airport authorities have said the cost of air travel in Canada would increase if the current not-for-profit model was abandoned. They dismissed any productivity benefits of a new structure, arguing there is no way the for-profit model can “increase revenues by, for example, ‘selling more lattes’ to travellers.”
As fanciful as they make this claim sound, it does have merit. The current structure of Canada’s airport rent formula has created a disincentive for airports to add services that generate more revenue. Instead, they opt simply to charge the airlines higher landing fees that get passed on to Canadian travellers.
A government sale of airports offers an opportunity to change the perverse airport rent formula while also raising capital to fund infrastructure upgrades elsewhere in the economy. Canadians who need to travel by any mode of transportation should hope this idea takes flight.
– Ben Cherniavsky, Raymond James Ltd., Vancouver
Re The devil’s in CETA’s details, specifically on dispute settlement (Oct. 25) and CETA could put Canada between a rock and constitutional hard places (Oct. 26): The threat of the proposed CETA dispute resolution mechanism to override our governments’ legislation and indeed our constitution has been outlined in a couple of recent ROB opinion pieces.
Under NAFTA’s dispute resolution process, we have already seen foreign businesses’ gain large settlements resulting from sound provincial government legislation.
Ariel Katz writes that the dispute resolution mechanism’s very design “grants foreign investors a privileged legal status [and] enforceable legal rights that are … superior to the rights and remedies available to everyone else.”
In my view, handing over our sovereignty to an anonymous non-elected body should be a front-page matter so Canadians, not just foreign businesses, can judge whether this is what we want. Why are we rushing to sign it? Where are the opposition parties?
– James Leake, Kingston
Re Is co-op right for everyone? There can be downsides (Oct. 27): The authors equate the term “co-op” with other forms of experiential learning, such as internship, placement and practicum, especially in reference to unpaid experiences.
In Canada, “co-op” has been clearly defined and carefully administered by the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education through decades of academic work and research and cannot be merely interchanged or assumed to be the same as other forms of “new age work-integrated learning.”
Co-op programs accredited through CAFCE require employers to hire students into paid full-time positions. Therefore, as employees, these students are covered under the employment standards for that region.
CAFCE-accredited co-op programs work closely with employers and regularly monitor student progress and activities to confirm meaningful work opportunities. Last year, participation in CAFCE-accredited work terms by postsecondary students was estimated at approximately 80,000 – this is significant!
– Jasminn Berteotti, president, Canadian Association for Co-operative Education, Toronto
Re The intended consequences of new housing policies (Oct. 18): Perhaps Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. president Evan Siddall and Finance Minister Bill Morneau can explain why a new home-buyer who has saved up an 18-per-cent down payment is subject to the same “stress test” underwriting rate as someone who is only putting down 5 per cent.
The risk of default is much greater under the 5-per-cent scenario, given the extra amount put down and the rapid decrease in the mortgage balance under the 18-per-cent scenario.
A sliding underwriting rate scale should have been implemented.
– Bob Wornell, Dartmouth
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