One Person One Fare: That’s Fair

Posted by Johannes Schenk on November 23rd, 2008 — Posted in Human Rights Law

A Supreme Court of Canada appeal of the Canada Transportation Agency’s One Person One Fare ruling has been denied. Surprising how much press the decision has garnered. Surprising how out of it the airline spokespeople sound when they speak about the “implications” and “questions” the policy raises.

The ruling deals with all disabled travelers, including morbidly obese individuals. There is really not a lot new about the underlying principles to the ruling which is entirely in keeping with accommodation principles regularly enforced in other legal domains.

Perhaps the most interesting thing coming from this decision is the level of ignorance about disabilities and the state of Canadian law in that regard. I would have thought that most people would be in favour of enforcing correct legal principles that are the foundation of our society. Instead we have individuals like a Mr. Libin revealing their complete lack of understanding of any legal principle, or any principle for that matter.

Get a load of this Libin gem:

The most offensive thing about the ruling is that it downloads onto private businesses an unreasonable responsibility. Fact is, airlines don’t discriminate by requiring certain special needs individuals to buy extra seats: they just aren’t making exceptions. That’s different. Now, the court has spawned entire exception-making divisions of transportation companies. As a Westjet spokesman put it today, how is the airline to judge who is “morbidly obese” enough to deserve an extra seat, and who’s just really, really tubby, and can manage with one? Who really needs an attendant to fly along, and who just prefers it? Suddenly, airlines are put in the complicated and touchy position of having to size up the legitimacy of your too-fat-for-my-seat claim, while preventing the kind of abuse of this policy that is surely inevitable. This is not the business of airlines.

Pretty deep stuff. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it, but you can laugh.

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