Jump to content

If This Passes Canada Must Follow

Guest longtimer

Recommended Posts

Guest longtimer

If this passes in the US it will give US carriers an advantage over Canadian Carriers when consumers are searching for flights between the two countries, so I imagine our airlines will lobby for the same change in our rules.

U.S. airlines, Republicans move to repeal 'all-in' airfare price rule

Consumers not consulted in development of new bill

The Associated Press Posted: May 08, 2014 5:35 PM ET| Last Updated: May 08, 2014 5:37 PM ET

U.S. airlines are working with Republican lawmakers in an attempt to repeal a 2012 rule requiring airlines to list the full flight price, including taxes and fees, when advertising airfares. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty)

U.S. Republicans and major airlines are teaming up with hopes of repealing the two-year-old federal rule requiring airlines to show customers the full cost of a flight, with taxes and fees included, while they’re shopping.

A new bill working through the U.S. Congress would allow airlines to return to their old way of doing things, which was to emphasize in ads the base airfare — the amount airlines charge passengers to fly — but reveal the full price including taxes and fees separately. The new move is backed by a bipartisan group of 33 lawmakers led by Pennsylvania Republican and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster.

Before the Department of Transportation put its regulation in place, airlines and ticketing services would typically display the lower base fare in large type and show taxes and fees in small print. Consumers shopping online often weren't shown taxes and fees unless they scrolled to the bottom of the web page or clicked through several pages after selecting a flight.

Canada brought in rules in 2012

Canadian airlines have also used the “all-in” ticket price since December of 2012.

“We are protecting Canadian air travellers by helping them see, clearly and up front, the full cost of air tickets, so they can make informed travel choices,” Canadian Transportation Minister Denis Lebel said at the time.

The U.S. bill, supported both by the airline industry and by its pilot and flight-attendant unions, is moving through the House at Mach speed. It was introduced in March and approved by the transportation committee a month later without a hearing and by a voice vote, which means there is no record of who voted for or against it. The committee's entire discussion of the measure lasted just nine minutes.

The bill is "a gift to the airlines," said New York Democrat Jerrold Nadler, a transportation committee member who said he voted against it. "What you're going to see is $200 for the airfare, and then you're going to be shocked when it turns out to really be $250," he said. "It's misleading to the consumer. It's just dishonest."

Airlines say they should be able to able to advertise their fares the same way hotels, car rental agencies and other businesses do -- by advertising the price of their service and adding in taxes and fees before the final purchase.

"Consumers are better served when they can buy airfares like they buy any other product," said Sharon Pinkerton, senior vice-president of Airlines for America, which represents major carriers. "I think what's confusing is to have airfares treated differently."

The measure's supporters also say the industry is overtaxed. They want airlines to be able to break out taxes and fees so that consumers can see how much of their ticket price goes to the government. The industry says taxes are about 21 per cent of a typical $300 round-trip domestic ticket.

The rush left no time for consumer input, advocates say. "We're very concerned a piece of legislation that can have such a broad effect was moved through without any consultation. I was just shocked by this," said Bill McGee, an aviation consultant for Consumers Union.

He said the title of the bill, The Transparent Airfares Act, smacks of Orwellian doublespeak since it would make airfares less transparent by allowing airlines to conceal the full purchase price.

Transportation Department officials say airlines are free under current rules to spell out taxes and fees so long as the full price is more prominent.

The fight over how to present fares is part of an ongoing clash between airlines and the administration over passenger rights. During President Barack Obama's first term, the Transportation Department issued several far-reaching aviation consumer regulations, beginning with a ban on so-called "tarmac strandings" in which passengers were cooped up in planes for hours, sometimes in miserable conditions.

Other recent regulations include allowing passengers to cancel reservations within 24 hours without penalty and tougher requirements for compensating passengers denied boarding because of overbooking and bag fee disclosure requirements.

Against airline resistance, the administration implemented its airfare disclosure rule in 2012. Several airlines, supported by their trade group, had sued in federal court to overturn it, but the court sided with the government, and the Supreme Court refused to hear the airlines' appeal.

Transportation officials may take on ‘hidden fees’ next

The department is at work on another round of rules that would require airlines to disclose some add-on fees when they advertise fares. Since 2008, airlines have been unbundling fares, charging for many services that used to be included in the ticket price. Fees vary by airline, but passengers may now be charged extra for an assigned seat, early boarding, a meal, curbside check-in or carry-on bags, among other services.

"I am fed up with the hidden fees and the misleading advertising of prices, which makes it difficult to compare rates," one frequent flyer wrote the Transportation Department. "I'm tired of being at their mercy."

Airlines for America has stepped up its Washington lobbying since Nick Calio, the top White House lobbyist under former President George W. Bush, took over as its chief in 2011. Sean Kennedy, an Obama White House lobbyist, joined the association last year.

Thirty airlines spent nearly $30 million on lobbying and employed 213 lobbyists last year, according to the political money-tracking website OpenSecrets.org.
With files from CBC News
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just go back to the days when the price of the ticket covered the cost to carry the passenger from A-B with all associated costs included. Get rid of all the add ons and just have people pay the fare that includes the pillow, blanket, meal, drink etc all included in the price then tack on a SINGLE tax (HST). Now that's transparent.

Get rid of the security tax, the AIF, the "The government needs more money" tax, the I'm Greedy Tax and all the rest. If they want to price it like other services then treat it like other services. Price of carriage and associated costs + HST = Price.

But it is never that simple.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


The present situation is partly the result of the "user-pay" mentality that attended the fundamental changes which occurred in both the US and Canadian political economies. We began turning towards a "service" economy and all that entails beginning around 1970. Deregulation was an opportunity for such "add-ons" and of course after 9/11 those that travelled bore costs of the nation's airports' security - I don't know what the percentage breakdown is but CATSA & the TSA as well as both our border services are public services being paid for users. Airport charges like Toronto's are legendary add-ons. Someone can tell us if NavCanada gets a piece of the ticket price as well.

The dis-integration, (hyphenated intentionally to emphasize the origin of the word), of society where each must pay for his/her own way instead of being part of an economic community was originally conceived as a response to support of "public services" by the state, known then as dangerous socialism. The notion of "user-pay" was popular and attended the concepts of de-regulation, privatization (for profit) of public services and price-determination by "the market".

It seemed that making people "responsible" to cover their own costs (a user-pay system) rather than have dangerous ideas like having transportation and security costs borne by the state, would keep prices down due to the invisible finger, sorry, hand of the market. I don't think it has worked quite that way but some individual's profits are sure soaring.

Minister Lebel's characterization of hiding the price of a ticket by wrapping it all with a bow is not "protecting the consumer", it is standard Orwell-speak. Claiming that the consumer is "being protected" is disingenous if not actually dishonest when compared to the claim of "protection". It was a great strategy because what they wanted happened - the airlines and not the services are blamed for "high ticket prices". It is standard bureaucratio behaviour - don't attract attention and push the ugly bits onto someone else's desk or department. And consumer groups were their enablers. Beauty!

For those services that intend and do benefit all of society such as security of the transportation system in-toto, everyone should share. But the policy of "user-pay" is so entrenched in the US that it would take as huge a shift in thinking as occurred in the '70s under Nixon, then Reagan-Thatcher, to remove "user-pay" as a legitimate way of "sharing". Le me take education as one example of "user-pay" thinking; - the education of our young people in preparation for their place in society is increasingly privatized as Charter Schools emerge in favour of poorly-funded public education. Using the above principle of shifting unpopular things to someone else's desk, governments are facilitating the privatization of education because it is so expensive and yields average results, (the measures of which need examining, but, another thread).

So the market is dictating curricullum for our young people and for sure parents are not going to pay for anything that interferes with the utilitarian requirements of "getting a job". Thus physical education, fine arts, music and all the other "soft" subjects like critical thinking were dropped from the curricullum years ago and were brought back as "special electives", their value being reduced as the priorities of functioning in our economy are heightened. Balance, not privileging...another thread.

This may seem entirely disconnected but I firmly believe, (in fact it can't be otherwise - move one thread of the web and it all quivers), that all of these forces and choices are deeply connected but our perceptions of them are limited by the fact that we only see the "mountain peaks", when below the clouds everything is connected in the valleys...

The solution is complaint through as many means as possible, including social media. But don't complain to the private companies - they're not accountable to anyone and reaching them is usually difficult by design. Take the issue up on social media and with government which isn't yet privatized though one would swear it was! Heck, this could be a job for CanadaEH's You-Tube anti-AC rapper as seen on yet another anti-AC thread, to contribute something actually useful with all that talent, attitude and busy brass. I'd love to see her do a rap on all those airline taxes being collected and paid to everyone except the airline!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Don Good post.

Forgive me here, just thinking out loud.

If the government continues to privatize (for Profit) the currently public services then by default the revenue generated by those public sector enterprises decreases. This would then result in Tax increases for the masses. Since the current government is reducing the tax burden on corporations, this means that mom and pop public are bearing the weight of funding the government. To me this seems counter intuitive. I believe that if the government wants to run successfully they should run like a for profit enterprise and continue to provide the service as if it were a private organization.

Am I off base?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest longtimer

Interesting. According to this:


Republicans in Congress are also trying to pass a law forbidding states from requiring labelling of GMO products. It seems they are working to help big business deceive the general public as much as possible.

Seems to be the flavor of the day for "USA Today", here is another article on the subject of GMO foods


Genetically modified foods confuse consumers

Mary Clare Jalonick, AP 9:03 a.m. EDT May 10, 2014

WASHINGTON — Genetically modified foods have been around for years, but most Americans have no idea if they are eating them.

The Food and Drug Administration says they don't need to be labeled. But in the first major victory for consumers who say they have the right to know whether their food contains GMOs, the state of Vermont has moved forward on its own. On Thursday, Gov. Peter Shumlin signed legislation making his state the first to require labeling of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Throughout the country, there's a lot of confusion about genetically modified foods and their safety, and whether labeling matters.

The food industry and companies that genetically engineer seeds have pushed back against the labeling laws, saying GMOs are safe and labels would be misleading.

"It's really polarizing," says New York University's Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition and food studies. "There's no middle ground."

GMOs are not really a "thing," Nestle says, and that's hard for the average consumer to grasp. You can't touch or feel a GMO.

Genetically modified foods are plants or animals that have had genes copied from other plants or animals inserted into their DNA. It's not a new idea — humans have been tinkering with genes for centuries through selective breeding. Think dogs bred to be more docile pets, cattle bred to be beefier or tomatoes bred to be sweeter.

What's different about genetically modified or engineered foods is that the manipulation is done in a lab. Engineers don't need to wait for nature to produce a desired gene; they speed up the process by transferring a gene from one plant or animal to another.

Most of the nation's corn and soybeans are genetically engineered to resist pests and herbicides. A papaya in Hawaii is modified to resist a virus. The FDA is considering an application from a Massachusetts company to approve a genetically engineered salmon that would grow faster than traditional salmon.

Only a small amount of sweet corn, the corn Americans eat, is genetically modified. Most of the genetically modified corn and soybeans are used in cattle feed, or are made into ingredients like corn oil, corn starch, high fructose corn syrup or soybean oil. Even in some of those products, the manufacturing process itself may remove some of the modified genes.

A few fruits and vegetables are engineered — the Hawaiian papaya and some squash and zucchini, for example. But there's no genetically modified meat or fish, like the fast-growing salmon, currently in the market for human consumption; the Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve any.

The vast majority of scientific research has found genetically engineered foods to be generally safe.

An Italian scientist's review of 10 years of research, published in 2013, concluded that the scientific research conducted so far has not detected "any significant hazard directly connected with the use of GM crops."

One French research team raised safety questions, but their much-criticized 2012 study linking genetically modified corn to rat tumors was retracted in 2013 by the scientific publisher, who cited weak evidence supporting the conclusions.

Even the food police say they are safe: The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a well-known critic of food companies and artificial and unhealthy ingredients in foods, has not opposed genetically modified foods, on the basis that there's no evidence they are harmful.

Though what we are eating now appears safe, the main concerns for the future would be new genetically engineered foods — from the United States or abroad — that somehow become allergenic or toxic through the engineering process. The FDA says the foods they have evaluated to this point have not been any more likely to cause an allergic or toxic reaction than foods from traditionally bred plants.

Unlike animals, the FDA is not required to approve genetically engineered crops for consumption. However, most companies will go through a voluntary safety review process before they put them on the market.

There are clear benefits for the agricultural industry — the crops that are resistant to pesticides and herbicides, for example. And companies like Monsanto that produce modified seeds say their technologies will be needed to feed a rising world population as they engineer crops to adapt to certain climates and terrains.

While most modified foods have so far been grown to resist chemicals, pests or disease, advocates envision engineering crops to make them more nutritious as well. Food animals have been engineered to be bred to be free of diseases, be cleaner in their environments or grow more efficiently, though none has yet been approved in the United States.

On the political front, there is an escalating fight between the U.S. labeling advocates and the food industry, which has dug in against labeling. In the absence of a federal labeling standard, GMO opponents have gone to the states to try to get a patchwork of labeling laws approved — a move that could eventually force a national standard.

Ballot measures in California and Washington state failed, but the legislative effort prevailed in Vermont. Maine and Connecticut also have passed laws requiring labels, but they don't take effect unless other states follow suit. The food industry is widely expected to challenge the Vermont law in court.

In Congress, the food industry is pushing a House bill that would head off efforts to enact mandatory labeling of genetically modified ingredients by proposing new voluntary labels nationwide — an attempted end run around the state-by-state laws.

Currently, the FDA says labeling of genetically modified foods isn't needed because the nutritional content is the same as non-GMO varieties.

Safe or not, consumers are increasingly interested in what is in their food, including GMOs.

David Ropeik, the author of the book How Risky Is It, Really? Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts, says he thinks the food industry should endorse labeling so it can move past the debate.

"By supporting labeling, companies would say, 'There's no risk, we have nothing to hide,'" he says.

AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein and AP Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard contributed to this report.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest longtimer

It was genetically modified wheat that gave the prairie provinces the Marquis brand that set Canada as a major wheat producer and opened the west.

Cross breeding should not be confused with GM modification. The Marguis brand was the result of Cross Breeding and not Genetic Modification, that being said I am not sure why GM modifications that might stop part of the work from starving are wrong.......

Re GM vs Cross Breeding, you may find this of interest:


and then a different POV


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Genetic Modification and Cross Breeding are essentially the same thing except that using genetics is faster since one does not wait for the crop to mature to see if it worked.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest longtimer

Fido: you should read more about Genetic Modification, the 2 are not even close to the same.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I make no judgements one way or the other on GM foods. I have no knowledge on the subject. However I do find it a little disturbing that members of the government are actively working to limit public access to (non national security related) information.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Talk to a GMO producing farmer. they will tell you of the strong arm tactics in play. GMO corn for instance does not produce seed. So every year the farmer must purchase new seed for his crops. this increases the bank account of the corporation controlling the seed (Monsanto). The same corporation can identify what corn was grown using their seed by using genetic markers in the corn. If you are under contract and the markers are found missing then the farmer is fined heavily. farmers hate this crap but are now trapped in the web created by the corporation.

The other issue is that the pesticide genetically engineered into the corn has the effect of killing bees. Bees are required for pollination. For the corn crops it is obviously no big deal because they do not seed anyway. BUT if there are no bees then natural corn cannot be pollinated and will not go to seed either and the circle becomes complete and the corporation has 100% control of the food supply (in this case corn). The other side effect is the unknown effects of the GMOs on the human body.

In the end , No Bees means No crops without the corporation selling the only seeds. That my friends is why we should be fighting this crap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Talk to a GMO producing farmer. they will tell you of the strong arm tactics in play. GMO corn for instance does not produce seed. So every year the farmer must purchase new seed for his crops. this increases the bank account of the corporation controlling the seed (Monsanto).

Umm, I thought that kernels of corn are the seed ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...