OTTAWA — Transport Minister Marc Garneau is closing Canadian skies to the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, effectively grounding the planes over safety concerns arising from the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that killed everyone on board, including 18 Canadians.
The decision to ground the planes is a precautionary move that was made after a review of all the available evidence, Garneau told a news conference Wednesday in Ottawa that was twice delayed by what he called new incoming information.
“There are — and I hasten to say not conclusive — but there are similarities” between the Ethiopian Airlines flight profile and that of a Lion Air flight involving the same aircraft that crashed off the Indonesian coast in October, the minister said.
Those similarities, he said, “exceed a certain threshold in our minds with respect to the possible cause of what happened in Ethiopia. This is not conclusive, but it is something that points possibly in that direction, and at this point we feel that threshold has been crossed.”
The “safety notice” means none of the aircraft — or a new version, the Max 9, which isn’t as widely used — can fly into, out of, or over Canada, he added: “I will not hesitate to take swift action should we discover any additional safety issues.”
Garneau tipped off his American counterparts just before the announcement about the Canadians’ change of heart on the aircraft. Hours later, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would follow suit.
Trump said he had told American airlines about the decision as well as Boeing and all agreed with his administration’s decision. Any planes in the air will be grounded upon landing, and remain on the ground until further notice, Trump said, while Boeing works on a fix to the aircraft’s software.
“The safety of the American people and all people is our paramount concern,” Trump said in announcing his decision.
While aviation experts warn against drawing conclusions until more information emerges from the crash investigation, numerous jurisdictions, including China, Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union, had grounded the Max 8 or banned it from their airspace before Canada and the U.S. did.
Garneau said evidence about multiple Boeing 737 Max 8 flights suggests a worrying correlation between the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the tragedy in Indonesia less than five months ago. In certain circumstances, the planes’ systems try to tilt their noses down, contrary to the efforts of pilots — a pattern that was seen in both flights before they crashed, he said.
“I would repeat once again that this is not the proof that this is the same root problem,” he emphasized. “It could be something else.”
Passenger-rights advocate Gabor Lukacs said Wednesday that it would be prudent for Garneau to suspend use of the aircraft until questions are answered about what caused the Ethiopian crash.
“Generally, one should always be erring on the side of caution when it comes to safety questions,” he said from Halifax. “If there is enough evidence of a potential harm, and in this case I think there is evidence of potential harm, then the prudent thing is to ground those aircraft.”
He said airlines should allow passengers to rebook on other planes or cancel their tickets without penalty if they have apprehensions about flying on a Max 8.
Garneau said affected travellers should contact their airlines to find out what to do, he added.
“There will be some disruption, there’s no question about that,” he said, but safety is more important. He said he hopes the planes will be flying safely within weeks.
In a statement Wednesday, before the order from Transport Canada, Air Canada spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur said the airline has a “flexible rebooking policy” that includes options to change flights to another aircraft if space permits, but wouldn’t indicate if that comes with a fee.
“Based on real information and data, and ongoing consultations with government safety regulators including Transport Canada and the FAA, we have full confidence in the safety of our fleet and operations and we continue to operate the 737,” she said in an email.
Air Canada, along with Southwest and American Airlines, had been the major outliers in resisting a grounding of the planes. Air Canada has 24 Max 8 aircraft (out of 184 in its main fleet), which it uses mainly for domestic and U.S. routes, while Calgary-based WestJet Airlines Ltd. has 13 Max 8s (out of about 150 planes).
Air Canada cancelled London-bound flights from Halifax and St. John’s, N.L., after the United Kingdom banned all Boeing Max 8 jets from its airspace.
The U.S.-based Boeing had said it had no reason to pull the popular aircraft from the skies and did not intend to issue new recommendations about the aircraft to customers.
The Federal Aviation Administration had backed the jet’s airworthiness before reversing course early Wednesday afternoon.
Garneau said the American authority is “an extremely professional organization” and Canada is “very comfortable” with it as a certifying agency for American makers’ airplanes.
Companies in this story: (TSX:AC, TSX:WJA)
— with files from Alison Auld in Halifax and the Associated Press
Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
Minority Government passes Bill C10 on internet freedom. Opponents pleading with Senate to block it.
Bill C 10 which is expected to fundamentally affect how Canadians experience the internet, has been hammered through the House of Commons. At 1:30 AM Ottawa time, the minority Liberal Government with help from the BQ and the NDP were able to pass the bill. In opposition were the federal Conservatives and lone Independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould. The urgency to pass C 10 before an election call expected later this summer resulted in the Liberals actually shutting down debate at the committee level. That’s only happened twice in the history of the country before now! The Liberals also attempted to pass secret amendments which were caught by the Conservatives and ruled “out of order” by the House Speaker.
Why the rush? Opponents are concerned the Liberals, BQ, and NDP are far more concerned with regulating social media use, than they are with boosting individual Canadians creating new content. It appears the urgency has to do with giving themselves the ability to guide internet content, just in time for the federal election campaign.
OpenMedia.org, a group striving to keep the internet “open, affordable, and surveillance-free” calls the government’s bill “outrageously flawed”. The group published an article called “What’s wrong with Bill C 10?” which asks and answers 8 key questions surrounding C 10. The article provides excellent background knowledge for Canadians concerned about the future of the internet.
OpenMedia says the goal of the bill is to expand “Canada’s Broadcasting Act to apply to all streaming audio or video content on the Internet, including Netflix, Spotify, Youtube, and other popular streaming services.” Streaming services will be forced to make higher payments to the Canada Media Fund which would mean higher rates paid for Canadian users. According to OpenMedia streaming services will charge higher Canadian specific fees, and may even avoid Canada altogether.
OpenMedia calls C 10 a “cash-grab for traditional broadcast industries” which actually does nothing to serve the new wave of content creators who could really use a boost on the international stage. As a last ditch attempt to stop the bill, OpenMedia.org is urging Canadians to email the Senate right now to ask for a REAL democratic examination of Bill C-10.
Conservative critic Pierre Poilievre is especially concerned with the federal government giving itself the power to block unapproved ideas from popular content creators like himself, just in time for the next federal election. Surprisingly, and maybe most concerning of all, both OpenMedia and Pierre Poilievre point out the bill ‘DOESN’T ADDRESS WHAT CANADIAN CONTENT IS’. The current definition of “Canadian Content” was last updated in 1984, more than a decade before the internet changed everything.
Loss of Brother to Addiction and Mental Illness Inspires Sister to Raise Money by Selling Face Masks.
Starting June 10th, until midnight Sunday, June 13th customers across Canada can help raise funds for Mental Health Organizations in their own provinces by purchasing much needed luxury cotton face masks.
Jodee Prouse, from Sylvan Lake, Alberta, co-owner of Service Mask Supply (SMS) is the provider of one of Canada’s best-selling luxury 3-layer Cotton Face Masks. She announced today that they will be donating $1.00 from every mask purchase on June 10, 11, 12 and 13th to Mental Illness Programs and Organizations in communities across Canada. “We all look forward to when we no longer need to wear face masks,” says Jodee, “and we are getting really close. I am proud that we can provide a much-needed product and at the same time allow others the opportunity to come together to raise money for Mental Health in their own communities.”
SMS is excited to announce that for 4 days this week, $1.00 from every mask will be donated to different Mental Health Organizations across Canada. Customers can place their order online, each mask is $5.00, and will ship directly to their homes or businesses. Jodee is proud of her team and orders quickly ship the next business day, leaving from their warehouse in Alberta. All monies collected will go back into each province to where the order was shipped. As an example, Alberta portion will go back to Canadian Mental Health Association Alberta Division, Manitoba to Rainbow Resource Centre and so on. This allows every Canadian the opportunity to make a difference and take part.
From the beginning, SMS had an amazingly simple business model, originally supplying schools and oilfield companies: provide comfortable and affordable masks (each is only $5.00) with patterns that make people smile. Smile. It is what Jodee and her business partner son Ryan believes we need more of right now during these unprecedented times. “My son and I, at different times in our lives, have both struggled with anxiety and depression. We lost a much-loved member of our family when our brother/uncle lost his battle with mental illness and alcoholism when he took his own life in March of 2012. He was only 39. This helped solidify our commitment to helping to eliminate the shame and stigma surrounding mental health.”
Now more than ever we want to bring communities together. And remind people they are not alone.
SMS is proud to be celebrating over 17,000 customers across Canada this week. They know that much of their success has been driven by their passionate customers, repeat business and recommendations to family, friends, and co-workers. “It fills my heart to receive not only Facebook messages and emails daily on how much they love our masks,” says Jodee, “but also the heartfelt words where strangers feel comfortable and safe enough to share some of their own mental health or addiction challenges.”
SMS has over 150 unique colors and patterns with such unique designs as sunflowers, flamingo’s, tie dye, dog lover, pretty kitties, fishing lures, butterflies, hearts, breast cancer, yoga, fine wine, pride, cupcakes and many more. Great for work, play, indoors and outdoors too with sizes for the whole family.
Learn more visit: www.servicemasksupply.ca
For more information you can email [email protected]
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