Air passenger rights, rail shipping legislation heads for political showdown

OTTAWA _ The Conservative transport critic says she plans to prod the government to fast-track a sweeping Liberal bill to establish an air passenger bill of rights and more easily move products by rail.

The catch in Kelly Block’s proposal is that the Liberals will have to abandon plans to reject a suite of proposed Senate amendments to the legislation _ something they don’t intend to do.

The Tories are hoping the procedural wrangling that ensues will help them push a narrative that the Liberals are holding up passage of the bill.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau wants MPs to reject all but a few of the Senate amendments, including those that touch on rules governing tarmac delays, who is allowed to file complaints about airline service and foreign ownership of Canadian airlines.

The Liberals also don’t agree with the Senate’s proposed changes to the use of data from video recorders in locomotives, and how disputes over shipping costs are settled.

Amendments likely to survive are related to the shipping of agriculture products, which grain farmers are supporting.