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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Is Transport Canada Fee Gouging in Newfoundland and Labrador

In Newfoundland and Labrador one of the biggest impediments to business and tourism is the cost of transportation, not to mention its impact on the traveling public in the province. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when flying from one part of the province to another, say from St. John’s to Goose Bay, can cost more than an all inclusive vacation to some resort down south.

Labradorians in particular are the hardest hit by this issue. There are a number of factors that may contribute to this problem but according to recent reports, a part of the reason for the exorbitant fares is the cost of landing fees. It seems that airports run by the government of Canada through Transport Canada have an unsettling range of fees in place. Airports such as those in St. Anthony or Wabush have landing fees that are two or three times those charged in places like Blanc Sablanc Quebec. One has to ask why Blanc Sablanc, which is situated just outside the Labrador border, would have rates so much lower than those inside the province?

Travel between the island of Newfoundland and other parts of Canada is expensive enough as it is, but for those flying in or out of Labrador the cost can be crippling. Imagine having to fly from your community for medical reasons or to attend a business meeting and the ticket alone ended up costing you more than a vacation excursion. Imagine the impact that situation would have on your local economy. Is it any wonder areas like Labrador have such difficulty attracting business and tourism in comparison to other parts of Canada or even to Newfoundland itself.

The fact is that many flights from St. Anthony make their very next stop in Blanc Sablanc Quebec before proceeding to Labrador. The two communities are only about a 10 minute flight from each other. I’d like to know how Transport Canada can justify their fee setting scheme or if they are even willing to try. Is this an oversight on their part, is there a valid reason for the huge difference in cost or is this an attempt by the fed to appease some interest in Quebec while sticking it to this province?

Labrador Liberal MP Todd Russell has promised the people of the province that he would investigate the issue and see what can be done. I for one will be keeping my eyes and ears open to see what comes from that promise. I mean it’s a simple question isn’t it? Why do airlines have to pay more to land at an airport gateway to Labrador than they do in most of Newfoundland and why is there such a massive discrepancy between landing fees in this province and Quebec?

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good question about the fees. However, why do you complain?
At least you have the service and remote areas are always more difficult and expensive to reach.

That's what you get when you decide to live in a remote area. Anywhere.

Patriot said...

Correction Anon, it seems to be what you get in a remote area of NL but not a remote area of Quebec. Blanc Sablanc is just as remote as places in Labrador so why are their fees less?

Anonymous said...

Anon but isn't the two towns in Quebec which are just next door, but yet they are charged three times less for landing fees that the airports in Labrador.

Also I have a child living in the Peace Valley of British Columbia, this area is connected to everywhere in North America. It is just 2 hours from Grand Prairie, Alberta, 4 hours from Edmonton, Alberta 12 hours from Vancouver, B.C. and yet she gets to have a Northern Allowance. While here in NewfoundlandLabrador, we are completely cut off from North America and Ottawa does not allow us such an allowance. There is something the matter with that scenario isn't it?

Oh, I forgot to mention everyone has a job because of the Oil Industry in that area. I mean anyone, who wants one, and the salaries the workers collect there are astronomical.

Why the different treatment by Ottawa?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the feds are trying to tell you guys something like .... "we don't want people living in that remote part of the country".

Why does Goose Bay exist? The cold war is OVER....helloooooo!

And incidentally, most mining sites now have camps for workers. Mine sites in remote areas don't have communities any longer, it is costly and not needed.

Anonymous said...

Anon "The cold war is OVER....helloooooo!"

But Goose Bay is still more strategically located than anyplace where the Military Bases are located in Canada today. So why not have a Military base in Goose Bay?

Anonymous said...

Why is it you mainlanders want everything there? Why can't NewfoundlandLabrador have industry here to compliment its resources. You people are covetous. Why don't
you live and let live?

Anonymous said...

If it's cheaper to land right next door in Quebec (as that person put it) .....then land there. Problem solved.

Or move.

I don't want to pay more taxes so 12 people in a dinky town in Labrador can fly about.

Anonymous said...

harsh!

Anonymous said...

Dealing with people like you who have such opinions on what NewfoundlandLabrador should amount to with the help of our huge resource base, is it any wonder then that we are unable to move ahead in this province of NewfoundlandLabrador?

There are too many demands on our resources that they be shipped off to other locales in Canada and the world . How in the name of Creation are we ever going to be able to build economies here, especially with our resources AND ESPECIALLY with Opinions like yours.

Anonymous said...

Everything's shipped off....everything's shipped off.....waah waah boo boo!!

Man! You guys are nothing but broken records. Poor us. We always get screwed.

Start looking for solutions instead of more and more problems to whine about!

Anonymous said...

What type of alien am I conversing with here anyway? Your writings make you appear that you have the brains of a one celled animal. I think I will stop wasting my precious energy. I have better things to do.

Anonymous said...

Well, has anyone found out why the fees are higher in Labrador?

I don't know how the fees are established, but, I bet it doesn't have anything to do with the "Ottawa hates us" hypothesis.
I guess it has something to do with the distribution of infrastructure and population.

Patriot said...

Where are you WJM? I assumed you would have some input to this commentary since you are the self proclaimed champion for Labrador.

You have intimated in the past that we Newfoundland
"Nationalists" don't seem to care about Labrador which is false. I've posted this piece because it is a problem primarily for Labrador and its wrong. I have also even gone so far as to post one of your own articles on this site (one that had great merit).

So, come on, where is your 2 cents on this issue?

Action Now said...

WJM will not be part of this because it is a Labrador issue being discussed by a Newfoundland Nationalist, and it is against central canada and there favortism of quebec, which does not exist in his little world.

WJM said...

Where are you WJM? I assumed you would have some input to this commentary since you are the self proclaimed champion for Labrador.

I did have input. It seems to have been deleted.

You have intimated in the past that we Newfoundland
"Nationalists" don't seem to care about Labrador which is false.


Oh, Newfoundland nationalists care all about Labrador when they can get something out of Labrador, or when Labradorians suggest that maybe their relationship with their supposed provincial fellow citizens is frayed.

But Newfoundland nationalists do not generally care for the well-being of Labrador, and view any "Labrador first" sentiment as being antithetical to their own Newfoundland nationalism, in which that which is in Newfoundland belongs to Newfoundland, and that which is in Labrador also belongs to Newfoundland.

So, come on, where is your 2 cents on this issue?

I am still waiting on some important facts -- remember those? -- about WHY there are such discrepancies. I'm not going to fly off the handle without knowing the facts behind the numbers. Part of it, for example, seems to be related to fuel costs.

Anonymous said...

WJM: HERE YOU ARE AGAIN ON THE SIDE OF OF OTTAWA.

WJM said...

No, I am on the side of getting the information necessary to make my own judgment on the matter, rather than flying off the handle just because Sue Kraft Dinner and the rest of the Open Line rats are doing so.