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Liberal government ‘missing in action’ over holiday travel chaos, says shadow minister of transport

MP Mark Strahl at emergency committee meeting Thursday to hear from airline, airport officials
Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl. (Black Press file)

Transportation shadow minister Mark Strahl vowed that Conservatives would be “holding the Liberal government, airlines and airports” to account for the travel chaos that stranded thousands over the holidays.

The MP for Chilliwack-Hope was attending the emergency Transport Committee hearings Thursday (Jan. 12) where they were expecting to hear testimony from airline and airport officials.

“While Canadians who chose to travel with Sunwing were stranded, sleeping on airport floors, and in hotel lobbies over Christmas, I’m shocked that Liberal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra did not speak with Sunwing until two weeks after the crisis began, and after the affected passengers were all returned home,” Strahl said in a statement.

“The Minister has also not reached out to the CEO of Vancouver International Airport during or after their shutdown in mid-December.”

RELATED: Pressing for stranded passengers to be compensated

Strahl had put everyone on notice in late December that he would be seeking answers from the minister as to why the second peak travel season in a row turned chaotic in the wake of the summer air travel confusion.

The MP with the shadow minister of transport role has been voicing frustration since before the minister issued a pinned tweet to say that 2022 saw his transport ministry accomplishing “great things” and they were looking forward to seeing what 2023 would bring.

RELATED: Minister at hearing pledges accountability

Minister Alghabra has recently called what happened “unacceptable” and pledged to make legislative changes.

“The transportation system in Canada is broken and they do nothing but pass the buck,” Strahl tweeted Dec. 27 about the federal government’s handling of the travel file.

Conservatives led the charge last week to call an emergency meeting of transport committee to hear from those responsible, after thousands had flights cancelled just before Christmas when winter storms were raging, and were unable to be with loved ones over the holidays.

“Canadians expect airlines and airports to be held accountable for their performance over the chaotic holiday travel season, however accountability requires political leadership, and this Liberal government has been missing in action,” Strahl added.

Minister Alghabra said they will be accountable for it.

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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