Archive | October, 2018

What Liberal losses in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick mean for Justin Trudeau in 2019

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

Three provincial elections, three disastrous results for the Liberals.

Quebec became the latest province to oust a Liberal government as voters rejected Philippe Couillard’s government earlier this week at the ballot box, joining Ontarioand New Brunswick, which have recently seen major Liberal losses in provincial elections.

A third vote recount has been ordered in New Brunswick where Brian Gallant’s government is on life support following an incredibly tight election race that saw the Tories, led by Blaine Higgs, finish with one more seat than the Liberals.

The recent results follow the 2017 B.C. election, which saw Christy Clark’s Liberals toppled by an NDP-Green coalition, and leaving Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with few allies among first ministers.

With a looming federal election set for the fall of 2019, what do the dwindling number of Grits at the provincial level mean for Trudeau? Is it just a blip on the election radar or are mounting Liberal losses heading toward what some on social media are predicting will be a #LiberalFlush?

“The Liberals have to be more attuned that it’s not going to be a cake walk,” said Tim Powers, a conservative strategist and vice-chairman of Summa Strategies. “If an election were called, they would still be the prohibitive favourites, but there are some messages in those different victories they need to be conscious of.”

Powers said all three elections showed a “rejection of the status quo” as voters cast their ballots against the ruling governments.

There is a bit of anti-elitism at play in Canada,” he said. “If you’re Trudeau, how do you come at that and what impact might that have on you? Or could that be beneficial if the Conservatives and the NDP are wilted down a little by fractions in those parties.”

In both the Quebec and New Brunswick elections, voters bucked the traditional parties in opting instead for something different.

In New Brunswick, two small parties emerged as kingmakers. The People’s Alliance — a conservative populist party — and the Greens each won three seats, enough to give them a lot of sway in a legislature.

On Monday, François Legault’s centre-right Coalition Avenir Québec won a majority government with 37.4 per cent of the vote, marking the first time since 1966 that a party other than the Liberals or the Parti Québécois won an election in the province. Québec Solidaire, a left-wing sovereignist party, also made a breakthrough as Solidaire captured 16.1 per cent of the vote and elected 10 MNAs, pushing the PQ to fourth-party status.

The results could be a sign of things to come in 2019 and continue a pattern of anti-establishment voting. A September poll from Ipsos highlighted that a majority of Canadians, 52 per cent, said they are ready for a leader who would “break the rules” or a type of anti-establishment leader.

Daniel Bernier, a principal with Earnscliffe Strategy Group, called this a “major change” and a devastating loss for Trudeau, who saw Kathleen Wynne and Philippe Couillard — two of his closest allies — soundly defeated. Couillard announced this week he was leaving politics

“You had multiple parties that started to emerge,” Bernier said. “In the New Brunswick case, they had the balance of power and represent a good proportion of the population. In Quebec you saw the same thing. They are far from being marginal.”

If the NDP under leader Jagmeet Singh are hoping for a breakthrough, they face a monumental challenge with the election just a year away. The party has struggled to fund raise and has also seen Singh face question about his leadership. Earlier this week Singh’s chief of staff resigned citing personal reasons.

And in the election in Alberta due by the end of May 2019, the NDP’s Rachel Notley will have a street fight on her hands against the United Conservative Party (UCP) led by former federal Conservative cabinet minister Jason Kenney.

A UCP win in Alberta, along with PC governments in Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick and the CAQ in Quebec, could tilt the federal election in favour of Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives.

“If all of those entities are working together and are able to marshal their forces provincially for Andrew Scheer, then the game becomes more competitive,” Powers said.

Meanwhile, Trudeau’s approval numbers have continued to slide in provinces across the country.

Shortly after the Liberals swept to a majority victory in 2015, Trudeau was polling anywhere from 50 per cent in Alberta and Saskatchewan to as high as 84 per cent in Newfoundland, according to the Angus Reid Institute. As of March 2018, those numbers have fallen to 25 per cent in Saskatchewan and 59 per cent in Newfoundland.

The Trudeau government will have a few wins heading into next year’s campaign, including a renegotiated NAFTA deal — the USMCA — and the Canada Child Benefit. But the uncertainty over the future of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, coupled with perceived inaction on climate change, and broken promises on electoral reform and First Nations, could push voters away from the Grits.

“The Liberals are very good at finding what are the issues that Canadians are looking for,” Bernier said. “But if you promise everything to everyone, at some point it catches up to you.”

 

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Trudeau says it’s ‘unfortunate’ conservative politicians don’t agree with carbon tax

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

Justin Trudeau is lamenting certain conservative politicians’ views on climate change, as Ontario Premier Doug Ford is rallying against the carbon tax in Western Canada.

“It’s unfortunate to see that there are still politicians, conservative politicians specifically, across the country who still think pollution should be free,” Trudeau said Friday, speaking at a press conference for the Gordie Howe Bridge in Windsor.

The comments also come in the wake of news that Manitoba pulled its plan to start charging a $25-per-tonne carbon tax this fall.

Premier Brian Pallister said he was backing off because he could not get Ottawa to promise it wouldn’t force Manitoba to raise that price to $30 in 2020, $40 in 2021 and then to $50 in 2022.

Now, Manitoba will have a carbon tax of $20 per tonne applied by Ottawa starting Jan. 1. It joins other provinces like Ontario and Saskatchewan, which don’t have a plan to reduce carbon emissions.

Ottawa is currently reviewing proposals from P.E.I. and New Brunswick. If their proposals don’t pass the government’s scrutiny, they, too, will be subject to the federal carbon tax.

At a press conference Thursday, Ford and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe spoke out against the carbon tax. Moe has vowed to fight the carbon tax in court.

“Justin Trudeau should stop holding the people of this country hostage, businesses hostage, families hostage on a carbon tax,” Ford said. “It’s a job-killing tax.”

Ford said the tax doesn’t let Canada be competitive in the world market because they are competing against countries like China and India.

Ford will attend an anti-carbon tax rally in Alberta on Friday with United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenny.

The two premiers say the drive to kill the carbon tax is gaining steam, but Trudeau says the federal government will be there to stop it.

“If, as we’ve seen, a number of people don’t want to fight climate change, don’t have a concrete plan to do that, Canadians are counting on the federal government to do that,” Trudeau said.

“Climate change represents a real threat to us now with wildfires and floods and extreme weather events being more and more frequent and more costly.”

Trudeau also said Canadians should put pressure on politicians who aren’t fighting climate change.

“I think people need to ask folks who are refusing to fight climate change, refusing to put a real plan on board, why they aren’t thinking about future generations, why they aren’t committed to being part of the most economic and social and geographic challenges of our times.”

 

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Canada adds 63K jobs in September, unemployment rate dips to 5.9%

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

The Canadian economy added 63,300 jobs in September, pushing the unemployment rate slightly lower to 5.9 per cent.

The data release caps three months of wild swings. Last month’s blockbuster labour market results come after a net loss of nearly 52,000 positions in August and a gain of over 54,000 jobs in July.

This kind of seesawing is unusual even for Canada’s notoriously volatile jobs numbers and surprised economists, who had expected much more modest employment gains in September.

The job number “blew past expectations,” Royce Mendes, director and senior economist for CIBC Capital Markets, wrote in a note to clients.

But the report “hid some softer details,” he added.

The job gains came from the part-time sector, “taking some of the shine off of the headline reading.” Part-time positions were up by around 80,000, the data shows.

Hourly earnings also grew at a slower pace, climbing just 2.4 per cent year-over-year compared to 2.6 per cent in August. and a peak of 3.3 per cent at the start of the year, Douglas Porter, chief economists at BMO Financial Group, wrote.

Regionally, seven provinces saw job gains in September, with Ontario and B.C. adding 36,000 and 33,000 net new positions, respectively. B.C.’s unemployment rate now stands at just 4.2 per cent, by far the lowest in the country, Porter noted. But the jobless rate dropped across the Atlantic provinces as well, down to 7.9 per cent and 7.8 per cent from 8.3 per cent and 8.4 per cent in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Bucking the trend, Alberta saw its unemployment rate edge up to 7 per cent, still significantly lower than the 7.8 per cent recorded a year ago.

The job gains were concentrated in the private sector and particularly the construction industry.

On a year-over-year basis, Canada has gained 222,000 jobs since September 2017.  And the labour force survey found that all of the job gains were made by workers in the core 25-to-54 age range with virtually no change in youth employment.

“The main point is that employment is still growing faster than the underlying labour force, cutting into slack and supporting decent income gains,” Porter wrote. “On balance, this simply reinforces the likelihood of an October [Bank of Canada] rate hike, and keeps a firm foundation on further moves in 2019.”

 

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Doug Ford, Scott Moe say fight against carbon tax building steam

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

The premiers of Saskatchewan and Ontario welcomed another province into their anti-carbon-tax tent on Thursday and said the fight against Ottawa’s plan to put a price on pollution is gaining momentum.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced on Wednesday that his province will not be going ahead with a $25-a-tonne levy that was to come into effect in December. He said the province was pulling out because Ottawa has not backed down from its intention to bring in its own higher rate.

“We have common ground in our opposition to the federal government’s attempted imposition of a carbon tax,” Moe said after a meeting with Ford in Saskatoon.

“It’s clear that opposition to this ill-advised, destructive policy is growing across the nation.”

The federal Conservatives couldn’t contain their delight either at Pallister’s move.

MP James Bezan tweeted congratulations for joining “the anti-carbon tax team!”

His fellow Manitoba MP, Candice Bergen, said her party had not pressured the province’s Progressive Conservative premier to change his mind but was “pleasantly surprised” when he did so.

Moe and Ford met Thursday to talk about their economic ties as well as what Ford called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s job-killing and “nasty, nasty tax.”

The two conservative leaders said they will continue to fight the tax together and, to that end, Moe announced Saskatchewan will file for intervener status in Ontario’s court challenge of the federal government’s carbon-pricing plan.

Ontario had already pledged to support Saskatchewan’s challenge when the premiers met in New Brunswick in July. Moe’s government has asked Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal to rule on whether the federal plan is constitutional.

“Saskatchewan and Ontario will continue to be strong allies in the fight against a destructive, made-in-Ottawa carbon tax that does nothing for our environment and is a direct cost to businesses, jobs and to families,” Moe said.

Ford also spoke in glowing terms of Jason Kenney, “our friend in Alberta,” who he said has been fighting carbon pricing since his days as a federal Conservative cabinet minister.

Ford is to speak Friday at a Scrap The Carbon Tax Rally‘ in Calgary at the invitation of Kenney, who is leader of Alberta’s Opposition United Conservatives.

Kenney has promised to repeal Alberta’s carbon tax if his party wins next spring’s provincial election.

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Quebec high court rules judge wrong to order woman to remove hijab

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

A Montreal woman who was scolded by a judge for wearing a hijab in court had her fundamental rights violated, Quebec’s Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday.

The court decided unanimously that citizens who wear religious attire cannot be denied access to justice.

The ruling stems from a 2015 courtroom incident involving Rania El-Alloul, who was told by a Quebec court judge to remove her Muslim head scarf if she wanted a case involving her impounded car to proceed. El-Alloul refused, and her case was adjourned.

 “No party challenges that the courtrooms of the Court of Quebec — and for that matter all courtrooms in Quebec as throughout Canada — are spaces of religious neutrality,” the three-judge appeal panel found.

“This does not mean, however, that judges may rely on the neutrality of the courts alone as a justification for preventing litigants from accessing a courtroom simply because they are expressing sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The ruling comes as the newly elected Coalition Avenir Quebec government plans to bring in legislation prohibiting public servants in positions of authority such as judges, teachers, prosecutors and police officers from wearing religious symbols.

In the case before the courts, Judge Eliana Marengo told El-Alloul the courtroom was a secular space and she was violating rules requiring suitable dress.

“In my opinion, you are not suitably dressed,” Marengo told El-Alloul. “Decorum is important. Hats and sunglasses, for example, are not allowed. And I don’t see why scarves on the head would be either.

“I will therefore not hear you if you are wearing a scarf on your head, just as I would not allow a person to appear before me wearing a hat or sunglasses on his or her head, or any other garment not suitable for a court proceeding.”

The appellate court called that decision unreasonable, saying Quebec court rules do not forbid head scarves if they constitute a sincere religious belief and don’t harm the public interest.

“In light of the multi-confessional fabric of Quebec society, it is usually quite easy for a judge to recognize the difference between suitable religious attire and those cases where the individual litigant or witness is showing lack of respect for the court by his or her choice of clothing,” the ruling reads.

“The types of religious clothing worn in Quebec are not numerous and are not generally difficult to identify. For quite a long time now, the courts have had little difficulty accommodating these types of attire.”

Freedom of religious expression doesn’t stop at the courtroom door, the appellate court added, noting the Marengo’s decision failed to take into account El-Alloul’s constitutional rights. It also ignored guidance from the Supreme Court of Canada on religious clothing in a courtroom.

Catherine McKenzie, one of the lawyers representing El-Alloul in the matter, said the decision reaffirms important principles about access to justice.

“Our courts are spaces that are supposed to treat people neutrally,” McKenzie said. “The everyday default should be you don’t get questioned about your religion just because you’re wearing a symbol in court.”

In 2016, Quebec Superior Court denied El-Alloul’s request for a ruling declaring that she had been treated unfairly by Marengo. The appeal court has set aside that ruling and quashed Marengo’s initial decision.

Julius Grey, another lawyer representing El-Alloul, called Wednesday’s ruling “gratifying.” It shows “you can’t, as a matter of principle, refuse access to somebody merely because of a religious sign,” he said.

Marengo faces a hearing before Quebec’s judicial council over the matter. No date has been set.

 

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Thousands of Montrealers rally against proposals of incoming CAQ government

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

Thousands attended an anti-racism protest in downtown Montreal Sunday afternoon, expressing anger at proposals by the incoming Coalition Avenir Québec government that they say would affect immigrants and religious minorities in the province.

Many see the plans as racist and xenophobic.

“We are concerned about the CAQ election because they have been trying to divide Quebecers into real Quebecers and immigrants,” said Scott Weinstein of the Independent Jewish Voices, one of several groups at the demonstration.

After an historic win in last week’s provincial election, party leader Francois Legault reiterated plans to slash immigration by 20 per cent.  He also wants to impose a values and French language test for immigrants, the failure of which would leave them open to deportation.

Kheira Megdoud, a Muslim woman at the protest who wears a hijab, is fed up.

“Mr. Legault, he wanted to be elected and he knew that some Quebecers [are] fed up with immigration.”

But one of the party’s top priorities is a promised secularism charter.  It would ban civil servants in positions of authority from wearing visible religious items like head scarves.  Affected professions would include police officers, teachers and judges.

“We left our country many years ago to come build and be a part of this country, and build,” fumed Megdoud, who is worried for teachers who would be affected.  “We have the right to work and be part of this country.”

In response to criticism that such a plan would run afoul of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Legault vowed to invoke the notwithstanding clause.

“We’re gonna fight it,” said Marlihan lopez, one of the protesters.  “We’re gonna fight it to the end.”

These proposals, protesters say, set a tone that creates division and encourages racist groups to target minorities.  On Tuesday, a tweet by France’s far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, supporting the party on its proposals, forced Legault to reject any association with her.  Weinstein wasn’t impressed.

“The problem with his response,” Weinstein said, “is he says he rejects it but nothing has changed in terms of his policies.”

The protesters vow to do everything they can to prevent Legault from implementing his plans and this, they say, is just the start.

“Being on the street is just an afternoon of solidarity,” Weinstein told Global News. “The real work comes in our workplaces and in our communities.”

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China says USMCA deal will prevent Canada from free trade with Beijing

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

OTTAWA – China says it deplores a controversial new clause in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that calls on the countries to notify each other if they enter into trade talks with a “non-market” economy.

In a scathing statement, the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa says section 32.10 of the new USMCA amounts to an act of political dominance by the U.S., which it blames for inserting the clause some argue gives the Americans a veto over Canada and Mexico pursuing free trade with China.

The Trump administration is embroiled in a trade war with China and has slapped tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods, prompting retaliation from Beijing.

Now, China says the White House is using the contentious clause in the new agreement with Canada and Mexico to prevent those countries from trading with it.

While the clause does not mention China specifically, the provision is being widely seen as an attempt to single out Beijing.

China has no doubt it is the target of the clause, which requires an USMCA member country to provide notice and information to the other two partners if it plans free trade talks with a “non-market” economy. It also gives the other partners a say in the text of such a deal.

In a statement to The Canadian Press, Chinese Embassy spokesman Yang Yundong calls the move “dishonest behaviour” that blatantly interferes with the sovereignty of other countries.

China disputes that it is a non-market economy, saying it is a member in good standing of the World Trade Organization.

 “China firmly supports the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core and props up an open world economy,” said Yang.

“We oppose to fabricating the concepts of ‘market country’ and ‘non-market country’ outside the framework of WTO, which in essence is the excuse made by some countries to shirk their obligations and refuse to meet their international commitments.”

China will continue to pursue commerce with other countries in the face of “trade restrictions,” added Yang.

“China will consistently pursue opening-up at its own pace and continuously carry out mutually beneficial and win-win economic and trade co-operation with countries worldwide treating it in an equal-footed and friendly way.”

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Toronto Real Estate Board suing listings website Mongohouse for $2M

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

 TORONTO – The Toronto Real Estate Board is suing Mongohouse for $2 million, alleging that the anonymously-run property listings website is illegally accessing, copying and distributing its proprietary data.

The board, which represents more than 50,000 realtors across the Greater Toronto Area, filed the lawsuit last month in Federal Court asking for an immediate and permanent injunction for the popular website to be taken down.

In the statement of claim, TREB alleges that Mongohouse participates in an “orchestrated strategy to avoid and elude” the board’s multiple attempts over the past two years to shut it down.

It claims the website is infringing on the board’s copyrights by “employing various techniques to illegally data scrape” TREB’s proprietary information that it provides to its fee-paying members through its internal multiple-listings service (MLS). This data includes new property listings, descriptions, sold prices and photography.

It goes on to allege that Mongohouse is profiting by its daily “unauthorized access” of this information, which it then displays on its website for free.

Attempts to contact the website operator and the Toronto Real Estate Board for comment about the legal action have been unsuccessful.

“The information and content taken from TREB is used by Mongohouse to solicit people to use the Mongohouse site and is intended to draw public users to the site to generate advertising revenue,” according to claim.

“All of the information on the Mongohouse website for this purpose is only available from the TREB MLS system. There is no other means available for Mongohouse to obtain the information that is available and made publicly accessible through the Mongohouse website.”

TREB says it doesn’t know how Mongohouse is accessing the information, but it has evidence that it is from them because it placed “unique information” in its system and saw it appear on the Mongohouse website within 24 to 48 hours.

The board argues that it has spent “tens of millions” of dollars to create and maintain its MLS system and that it has suffered “injury and irreparable harm” when Mongohouse “continues to pass itself off as offering the same services…”

In addition to naming Mongohouse.com and Mongohouse.ca in its lawsuit, the claim also names the website’s unknown operators (John and Jane Doe); web server Digital Ocean Canada Inc. and its U.S. based subsidiaries as well as Sheng Lan Mai who is also known as Maxim Mai, of Richmond Hill, Ont.

The board claims that Mai is a software engineer at IBM and “appears to be the original author and creator of Mongohouse.” It is unclear whether he is currently the operator of the website.

The Mongohouse website has been down as of Oct. 1. In a message to its reported 50,000 users, the website apologized for the inconvenience.

“At the moment, Mongohouse is unable to comment and/or share more information until further instructions given,” said the message.

This lawsuit comes after the Supreme Court of Canada decided in August not to hear a case where TREB was fighting to prevent home sales data from being posted on realtors’ password-protected websites.

TREB had argued for seven years at three judicial bodies that allowing the data to be released would create privacy and copyright concerns, but the Competition Bureau insisted keeping the numbers under wraps was anti-competitive and stifled innovation.

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Cuts to flu season surge funding will make hallway medicine worse

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

QUEEN’S PARK — Overcrowded hospitals across the province are being asked to handle this year’s flu surge with fewer resources than last year, and the Ford government continues to signal that deep cuts are coming to Ontario’s health care system.

This week, the Ford government announced flu surge funding that falls $10 million short of funding from the previous year, despite increased pressure on hospitals across the province.

During question period on Thursday, Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath said that the shortfall – and Ford’s total lack of action on creating new permanent beds – is threatening to make things even worse at hospitals that were already struggling badly under Kathleen Wynne.

“For patients worried about whether a hospital bed will be there when they need it, this government’s approach to health care is concerning,” said Horwath. “Warning hospitals that lean financial times are coming is a warning that says ‘get ready for even more cuts.’”

Last year’s flu-season funding from Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals in October 2017 was $100 million. It was far too little, and only provided temporary beds. Now the Ford Tories are promising $10 million less, and trying to make it sound like a good thing.

“You can’t invest less in 2018 and expect things to be better for patients than they were in 2017,” said Horwath.

Today, asked about long-term solutions at Queen’s Park, the health minister talked about further cuts instead of more help for hospitals and patients.

“We’ve got to look under every stone and find out where we can find those savings,” said Christine Elliott of the health care system, echoing earlier warnings from Finance Minister Vic Fedeli that Ontarians will be asked to “make sacrifices” when it comes to public spending.

“‘Modernization,’ ‘transformation,’ and ‘efficiencies’ are the same words that the Liberal government used to cut our hospitals and our health care system,” said Horwath.

“People remember what happened the last time Conservatives controlled hospitals in Ontario. 6,000 nurses were fired as the Conservative premier compared them to outdated hula hoops. 28 hospitals were shuttered all over the province, closing 7,000 hospital beds. Ontarians deserve better. We have to do better.”

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Canadian couple stuck overseas after budget airline abruptly goes bankrupt

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

A Toronto couple’s travel plans have been thrown awry after a budget airline shutdown overnight.

Angela Dorau and her husband Ryan Herrington had been vacationing in Europe for about 10 days and were scheduled to fly home from Paris on Monday with Primera Air.

But the European discount airline announced Monday it is cancelling all flights and filing for bankruptcy protection.

“The trip was supposed to be a budget trip, which it was up until our flight was cancelled,” Dorau told Global News.

She explained that the bankruptcy was announced just as they were about to board their flight — half the passengers were already on the plane.

Airline workers told them they’d have to collect their baggage and find another flight on their own. They were handed a document titled, “Primera Air ceases operations,” which explained the airline’s financial woes.

The airline said on its website Monday, “On this sad day we are saying Goodbye to all of you.” It did not provide information about refunds.

Dorau and her husband had to “frantically” search for a flight home and find a place to stay in Paris. They ended up spending an unplanned $2,200 on a flight home on Wednesday.

And other costs are adding up, too, Dorau said: “Not to mention the taxis, the hotels, the extra food, etc. We’ve also had to miss work, which is an additional setback.”

She also explained the couple wasn’t expecting to spend the extra thousands of dollars and had to scrape together money from different accounts and borrow from family members.

The couple barely slept in the past day as they tried to get alternate plans together, but Dorau says she’s glad they’re at least in a safe place and together.

“We still had a really great time on our trip, and as stressful as everything has been, everybody in France has been really sensitive and kind to us,” she explained. “At the end of the day, we had each other and we’re both safe.”

Several other passengers, as well as the airline’s former employees, were stranded by Primera’s closure and are also grappling with how to carry on with their travel plans.

Some people are also stranded in Toronto after a scheduled flight to Paris was among the last-minute cancellations.

Business Insider explained that because the flight cancellations were abrupt, many people slept overnight at airports.

One passenger named Eric Jetner, who was scheduled to fly from Paris to New York, posted a video of dozens of passengers waiting for more information at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Aviation expert Robert Kokonis, who works with Toronto-based organization AirTrav Inc., explained to Global News that Primera Air’s biggest mistakes were expanding too quickly and losing focus on its original business plan.

Primera started as a charter airline in Iceland and became one of several budget airlines to offer transatlantic service in recent years, flying to Newark, New Jersey, Washington, Boston and Toronto.

Just this month, Primera touted new flights next summer between Madrid and North America starting at 149 euros (C$220).

“Flying across the Atlantic Ocean long-haul and low-cost is a tough business — even at the best of times,” Kokonis said.

 

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