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N.L. Liberal MP says Tory airline passenger rights plan toothless

Sept. 8, 2008 - The Newfoundland Liberal MP who launched the debate over a bill of rights for airline passengers is calling the federal government's response a farce.


September 8, 2008
By The Canadian Press

Sept. 8, 2008 – The Newfoundland Liberal MP who launched the
debate over a bill of rights for airline passengers is calling the
federal government's response a farce.

“There's no legal force behind this public relations exercise,''
Gerry Byrne said in a release Monday.

Byrne charged the Conservative plan was not binding on the
airlines to maintain specific, nationwide standards of customer
service.
Byrne said the Tory initiative, called Flight Rights Canada, was
no bill-of-rights at all.
“It is really just a set of suggestions from the government to
the airline industry about adopting a set of voluntary standards of
customer care that would apply in a narrow group of situations.''
Byrne said the pamphlet released by the Tories last week was full
of well-crafted, politically appealing language that lacked teeth
and offered only hollow platitudes.

“After reading the fine print I realized this was going
nowhere,'' he said.
“What trickery to try to suggest that some sort of high flying
action was being taken to protect the interests of passengers when
clearly it was not.''
Last June, MPs gave unanimous support to a motion tabled in the
Commons calling for a flyers' bill of rights.
Byrne anticipated a minimum set of standards for compensating
passengers for bad experiences, including delayed or cancelled
flights, lost luggage, and being bumped because flights were
overbooked.

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He said anyone expecting binding and enforceable consumer
protection, as is the case in the European Union and soon to be in
the United States, was going to be disappointed.
He said it was cynical of the Tories to put out such a shallow
announcement in hopes no one would ask questions until after the
federal election, which was called on Sunday.