Air Passenger Rights Advocate interview re Passenger Bill of Rights

Wednesday, 17 May, 2017

Transport Minister Marc Garneau - Passenger Bill of Rights news conference

The following is my video interview with Dr. Gabor Lukacs, Air Passenger Rights Advocate, to talk about the new Airline Passenger Bill of Rights (Bill C-49).

Air Passenger Rights Advocate interview re new Passenger Bill of Rights

Legal References:

Dr. Gabor Lukacs, Air Passenger Rights Advocate (FB page), notes references:

News References:

Government news release References:

(May 16, 2017 CBC News Live video, Transport Minister Marc Garneau takes questions about the government’s air passenger bill of rights bill)


Passenger rights advocate calls Federal Court of Appeal NewLeaf ruling a “Game Changer” as Court clarifies Flair Air is responsible

Friday, 16 December, 2016

20161215-federal-court-of-appeal-case

(note: see Dec 20th news updates below with @FlairAirlines & @newleaftravel comments Win-win-win for #CDN travellers as a result from @AirPassRightsCA court challenge.)

In a short/precise and yet powerful judgement (PDF file) by the Federal Court of Appeal today dismissing an appeal (2016 FCA 314) by Air Passenger Rights advocate Dr. Gabor Lukacs, the court effectively also clarified and defined the source of protection that Dr. Lukacs has been seeking for passengers. While the reseller, NewLeaf in this case, is not required to hold an air license, ultimately the licensed air carrier, Flair Air in this case, is responsible.

Lukacs explained in an in-depth Skype video interview with this reporter stating [emphasis added],

The appeal was dismissed but the reasons [see note 1 below for more details] really resolved a very significant issue that now it is clear that passengers will have a recourse against Flair [note: Flair is the “licensed air carrier” in this court case] no matter what. […]

The Federal Court of Appeal made it clear that the fact that NewLeaf is involved in selling tickets still keeps Flair fully responsible for the entire operation. So Flair cannot walk away from any kind of responsibility on the basis that ‘it wasn’t us, it was NewLeaf’. If Flair choose to enter into this kind of relationship with NewLeafFlair will have to face the consequences if anything goes wrong.”

Lukacs interview re 2016 Federal Court of Appeal judgement

Lukacs looks at the judgement as a win for passengers because from the passenger’s point of view Flair is responsible and can no longer point at NewLeaf if things go wrong. The ruling makes it clear that Flair is responsible to the passengers whether they have a contract with them or not.

NewLeaf’s reaction to the judgement

NewLeaf’s reaction to the judgement via Facebook (screen capture & Facebook link),

The federal court of appeal ruling that has dismissed the case between Gabor Lukacs and the CTA/NewLeaf essentially means the courts rule in favour of Canadians continuing to save money on air travel with NewLeaf!!

It is true that the case has been dismissed but one wonders if both NewLeaf‘s and Flair‘s legal teams have time to really carefully read and digest the full implications of the court ruling yet?

Flair’s reaction to the judgement

At press time, Flair has not issued any press release re this judgement yet and its publicly published “Tariff – Flair Airlines Ltd for NewLeaf flying” remains the July 22, 2016 version.

Given Mr. Chris Lapointe, Vice-President Commercial Operations for Flair stated a few months ago in July 2016 that “it’s not built into our financial model for Flair “to foot the bill and take the risk of people being stranded” (see “note 2 financial model” below). One has to wonder if there will be any serious business renegotiations between NewLeaf and Flair? Or is Flair now willing and able to accept the financial risks and responsibilities (e.g. “prescribed liability insurance”) that the Court of Appeal has now clarified it has?

References

note 1: Quoting from paragraph 8 of the judgement (2016 FCA 314) [emphasis added],

Further, the licenced air carrier [reporter’s note: Flair in this case] will be required to hold the prescribed liability insurance. Put more broadly, licenced air carriers are regulated under the Act when they provide an air service. The involvement of a reseller does not obviate the requirement that licensees comply with all of the obligations imposed upon them under the Act.”

note 2 “financial model”: In a transcript of a conversation between Lukcas and Mr. Chris Lapointe, Vice-President Commercial Operations for Flair Airlines Ltd taken on July 8, 2016 filed with the Federal Court of Appeal (top of electronic page 189 of this Motion Record (PDF file) – Court File No.:A-242-16) [emphasis added],

Mr. Lukcas: […] And, you know, if Flair is willing to foot the bill and take the risk of people being stranded and look after —

Mr. Lapointe: No, we’re not. We’re not. I’m not — no, no, we’re not. We don’t — it’s not built into our — it’s not built into our financial model, Gabor. We’re not — I’m not saying that we’re going to — we did that once before, it cost us a quarter-million dollars, and we did it and because we did it — because we realized we had to do it, right.

Dec 16, 2016 Update: Quoting Financial Post “Both sides claim victory after Federal Court of Appeal dismisses NewLeaf case” report by Kristine Owram (with emphasis & reporter’s note added),

“I was thrilled that (the court) actually saw that the CTA had got their ruling correct,” said NewLeaf chief executive Jim Young. “We weren’t worried too much about it in the past because we knew we’d prevail but I was glad to see that it’s now closed.”

Lukacs said his main goal was to ensure passengers are protected, and he was relieved to see the court’s finding that “passengers will still be covered, and so protected, by the terms and conditions of carriage set out in the tariff issued by the licensed air carrier operating the aircraft on which the passengers travel” — in this case, Flair.

“This is a case of losing the battle and winning the war,” Lukacs said. “I was extremely pleased with how concerned the court was about protection of passengers.”

Flair president Jim Rogers did not immediately reply to a request for comment, but he indicated in July that his airline was not responsible for passenger protection since it is only supplying the aircraft. [reporter’s note: This echoes the transcribed phone conversation between Lukacs and Mr. Chris Lapointe, Vice-President Commercial Operations for Flair Airlines described in note 2 above.]

The contract with the passenger is with NewLeaf and they have a passenger protection plan in place,” Rogers said at the time.

Dec 16, 2016 10:37pm Update: CBC Calgary has this report of NewLeaf Calgary launch, “Up in the air: Will Canada’s newest air travel company take off? – There will be a third option if you’re flying home for the holidays

Dec 20, 2016 11:01am update: Quoting CBC News to clarify NewLeaf and Flair Air’s positions, “Flair Air liable for passenger rights, not ticket reseller NewLeaf, judge says” (with emphasis and reporter’s notes added),

Jim Young, CEO of NewLeaf Travel Company, said he was happy with the appeal’s dismissal. He said Flair Air and NewLeaf had already been operating under the agreement that the airline was ultimately responsible for ensuring passenger rights. (reporter’s note: This clarification by Young is significant.)

“In fact, the tariff that we had published is still the tariff today. We’ve made no changes to it,” Young said.

Tariffs are the agreements between passengers and airlines that lay out rights and responsibilities. The Canadian Transportation Agency recommends airline passengers treat tariffs like a contract, and that they understand the terms and conditions spelled out in them.

Young said if passengers run into an issue such as a flight cancellation or lost baggage, they should first contact his company, NewLeaf, to resolve the issue. Young said the first response is referring passengers to the tariff.

“We operate on behalf of Flair as the passenger reservation system,” he said. “We accommodate them based on the terms and conditions in the tariff.”

Passengers who are not happy with NewLeaf’s response can still file a formal complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency, but they would do so naming Flair, the airline operator.

Flair Air owner Jim Rogers confirmed his company is ultimately responsible for meeting the tariff agreement with passengers.

He said his company is “pleased to accept the decision as per our tariff.” (reporter’s note: This clarification by Roger is very significant and gets passengers the protection they deserve without ambiguity.)


A Look Back: 10 Years of Banff World Media Festival

Thursday, 25 August, 2016
A Look Back: 10 Years of Banff World Media Festival

A Look Back: 10 Years of Banff World Media Festival

Ten years ago in June 2006, I was awarded a CTV Fellowship to attend the prestigious Banff World Television Festival. Since then I’ve attended to report on most of the yearly Banff World Media Festival (Banff’s new name). Based on my personal experiences, I recommend the annual Banff gathering be something someone working in media/entertainment industry should attend at least once in her/his life (and may be even yearly). Great way to pitch projects to concentrated groups of decision makers from around the world, to meet and make friends with industry peers, and learn from the many Master Classes you given by some of the best creatives in the industry.

Take this year as an example, knowing HBO Chairman and CEO Mr. Richard Plepler will attend the 2016 Banff, I did some research including watching these two videos to prepare. And I ended up learning lots from attending and meeting Richard in his Company of Distinction Keynote: HBO’s Richard Plepler Banff World Media Festival Banff. And yes, I felt totally honoured when Richard compared me to his mother after I asked him about his work experience at “RLP International quoting what I learned from his commencement speech to the Franklin & Marshall College Class of 2015!

Let me share just another highly insightful and fun to watch video from the 2016 Banff:  In Conversation with Sir Peter Ustinov Comedy Award Recipient Russell Peters. I love Russell Peters even more as I heard the etalk co-host Lainey Lui asked Russell, “You’ve been making this kind of money for the last few years and you are still hustling, 250 shows, 120 cities, 25 countries, you are still hustling with an immigrant work ethic!

(More info on Russell‘s new show “The Indian Detective“)

In the last 10 years, I’ve met and interviewed a lot of creatives and senior executives at Banff. The following are some samples of my video interviews.

*2010) Meeting someone I really admire like Ricky Gervais was epic and wonderful for me. I was able to capture his “Award for Comedy Speech” which I think is better/more fun than the official Banff version shot with more expensive video equipment. (watch and read my full 2010 report of Ricky here)

And asking Ricky a brief question on the 2010 Banff red carpet was something I still remember fondly today, six years later.

*2008) Two years before I met Ricky, Banff attendees had the pleasure to meet the highly successful producer Jon Plowman (photo) who came to Banff to accept his Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as former head of BBC comedy and producing/executive producing great shows like Absolutely Fabulous, The Office, Little Britain, and The Vicar of Dibley! I wrote a brief report in 2008 but didn’t shoot any video. I did walk up to meet Jon and personally thanked him for his great work!
*2011) Mike Farah, President of Production, Funny or Die
,
*2010) TiVo CEO Tom Rogers interview,
*2013) Watching “VICE co-founders Shane Smith & Suroosh Alvi at Banff 2013” was a lot of fun and then interviewing “Shane @ Banff ” was awesome given how much VICE Media has grown since 2013! (Aug 18th, 2017 update: CNN, “‘Vice News Tonight’ has breakout moment with Charlottesville coverage“, full short doc segment on YouTube Aug 14th “Charlottesville: Race and Terror – VICE News Tonight on HBO“)

*2012) “Masterclass with Terence Winter creator of Boardwalk Empire at #banff2012” (more info on Boardwalk Empire)

*2012) And my video interview with “Terence Winter, Creator of Boardwalk Empire at banff 2012

*2011) Tom Perlmutter, NFB Chairperson,
*2010) Tony Lacavera, Globalive & WIND Mobile Chairman audio interview, (It was fun for me interviewing Tony, an University of Toronto alum, over the years. In March 2016, Shaw Communications Inc. closed its acquisition of Wind Mobile for $1.6 billion.)
*2008) David Hoselton (Producer of House) (I LOVE House so it was interesting for me to know that creator David Shore and producer David Hoselton were University of Toronto Law School buddies.)
*2012) Duncan Fulton, SVP Canadian Tire, talks about cutting edge advertising/e-commerce technologies at #banff2012 (Since then, Duncan has been promoted to President FGL Sports Ltd in March 2016.)
*2007) Jane Mote, Director of Life Style, UKTV,
*2007) Vicky Taylor, Editor, Interactivity, BBC Television,
*2007) Dale Herigstad, Chief Creative Officer, Schematic,
*2007) Greg Goodfried, Co-creator and Executive Producer, Lonelygirl15, (note: In 2012, AdAge reported that “Everyday Health Buys Lonelygirl15 Producer EQAL in Expansion to New Genres” quoting TechCruch which “pegged the price at $15 million plus a $5 million earn-out“. EQAL founders are Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried.)
*2007) Dawn Airey, Director of Global Content, ITV,
*2012) Paul Chard – The most interesting person at #banff2012 to me,

One of the most insightful people I’ve met at Banff
*2009) Gary Carter’s Storytelling in the Digital Age (2009) (Long list of videos, highly recommended even the 2009 content may seem a bit dated)

Attended and filmed,
*2012) “In Conversation with Chuck Lorre (Creator of Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory)“,
*2010) “William Shatner speaks with ‘The Big Bang Theory’ creator and showrunner Bill Prady“,
*2012) “Conflicts in Reality TV and psychological profiling – The Chicken or The Egg – Most fascinating and controversial session at 2012 Banff
*2010) “Ian Brennan, creator/writer Glee (19 Emmy nominations) @ 2010 Banff” (extensive video)
*2013) “Julia Louis-Dreyfus talks about Veep and other topics at Banff World Media Festival 2013

*2012) This was a lot of fun and insight for me, “Master class Q&A with Glen Mazzara – The Walking Dead at 2012 Banff World Media Festival

*2006) Finally, It was my honour to meet and listen to Oscar winning director & writer Paul Haggis at my absolute first Banff in 2006. I wish my “professionalism” hadn’t stopped me from asking for a photo! Oh well, something I have regretted ever since. Anyway, the story of how Paul broke into Television is something I will likely remember for the rest of my life! Enjoy!


*** More
2016 Banff World Media Festival stuff and one 2012 Master Class with Chuck Lorre (creator: Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory).

*2016) I think Girls is one of the most cutting edge and funny TV comedies in recent years. I had the pleasure this year to attend and listen to Jenni Konner talk in person. And I enjoyed the session very much.

Comedy Master Class with Casey Bloys and Jenni Konner (note: Casey Bloys is senior vice president, HBO Entertainment)

*2016) I didn’t know the name Jay Baruchel but after watching this, I discovered I’ve watched A LOT of Jay‘s stuff without knowing his name and I LOVE them all! Very insightful: “In Conversation with Canadian Award of Distinction Recipient Jay Baruchel

Further references:

*2016) Richard Plepler: Stick with the Optimists (background research for Banff 2016)

*2016) HBO CEO Richard Plepler: Full Discussion @The Paley Center for Media (background research for 2016)

*2016 Banff) “The Night Of” Master Class: A Closer Look at HBO’s Limited Series Model featuring Academy Award-winning writer Steven Zaillian. After watching the video, I realized one of my favourite films “Searching for Bobby Fischer” was written and directed by Steven and he talks about it at timecode 16:10.

*for 2016) Westworld: Teaser Trailer (HBO) (brand new to viewers at Banff, publicly released after 2016 Banff)

*2012) In conversation w Chuck Lorre (Creator: Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory) at #banff2012

P.S. On a personal note, I want to thank Scott Benzie, Lindsay Nahmiache, Robert Montgomery, and, for the last 10 years, many other team members for their kind help at Banff and arranging my press credentials, etc. I really enjoyed attending Banff and I’m happy to share what I learned with my readers/viewers.

It has taken me some time to create this post and I am still amazed how many great creatives and industry senior executives I’ve met and tried to learn from all these years. And there are still some that I haven’t listed! Like in 2009 when I met and interviewed Ron Moore who amazingly re-imagined Battlestar Galactica (BSG)!

Let me mention something most people might have missed. For a few years in a row, I noticed Tony Lacavera, Founder and Chairman of Globalive & former WIND Mobile Chairman, was sponsoring the Banff CRTC Breakfasts. (see my 2010 report) A side benefit was Tony got some “face time” to chat with CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein (photo of the two at CRTC Breakfast). Well, to me, that was money well spent in the long game of business! As you may know, this March 2016 WIND Mobile was sold to Shaw Communications Inc. for $1.6 billion.

If you ask me, I say the C$1.6 billion deal has to be one of the biggest deals that Banff World Media Festival has *indirectly* facilitated! Pretty cool!


Chat with Air Passenger Rights Advocate Lukacs re: urgent NewLeaf injunction

Saturday, 23 July, 2016

Update July 29, 2016 report: “Ontario law governing NewLeaf internet sales has “deficiency”, Statutory Registrar acknowledges
Update July 28, 2016 report: “NewLeaf Travel blocks reporter after TICO Clarifies report
Update July 27, 2016 report: “TICO Clarifies NewLeaf Offers Ontario Flyers Limited Protection
====
This reporter got two chances this Friday July 22nd morning and mid-afternoon to interview Air Passenger Rights Advocate Dr. Gábor Lukács to talk about his urgent interlocutory injunction against NewLeaf Travel Company Inc. All of the legal files are public court records and Dr. Lukács has dated them and posted them in this directory.

One of the particular useful and detailed file is the 410 electronic pages PDF file “2016-07-21–Lukacs–motion_record–urgent_injunction_and_stay–DIGITAL-R.pdf“. See also the three referenced court documents below (sections highlighted in screen captures).

Here is the reporter’s Interview with Dr. Lukacs re: Urgent interlocutory injunction against NewLeaf Travel Company Inc. 

Highlight #1) How NewLeaf thinks credit card purchase will protect traveling Canadians. (with highlight added) (reference: court filing PDF file)

How NewLeaf thinks credit card purchase will protect traveling Canadians. (with highlight added)

How NewLeaf thinks credit card purchase will protect traveling Canadians. (with highlight added)

Highlight #2) How Air Passenger Rights Advocate Dr. Gábor Lukács disagrees with NewLeaf. (with highlight added) (ref: court filing PDF file)

How Air Passenger Rights Advocate Dr. Gábor Lukács disagrees with NewLeaf. (with highlight added)

How Air Passenger Rights Advocate Dr. Gábor Lukács disagrees with NewLeaf. (with highlight added)

Highlight #3) Latest Federal Court of Appeal directive to NewLeaf. (ref: court filing PDF file)

Latest Federal Court of Appeal directive to NewLeaf.

Latest Federal Court of Appeal directive to NewLeaf.

NOTE 1: This reporter sent an email out early Friday July 22nd morning to invite Jim Young, CEO of New Leaf Travel, to tell his company’s side of the story in a Skype video interview but have not received any reply as of press time (early morning 1:30am MST Saturday July 23rd).

NOTE 2: This is a developing story with NewLeaf being directed by the Federal Court of Appeal to “file its affidavit in support of its letter of response” by noon EST July 23, this reporter will try to post new updates as soon as practical.


父親節快樂 Happy Father’s Day – 與 Simon 談書法的創意 Talk Chinese Calligraphy Creativity with Simon

Sunday, 19 June, 2016

父親節快樂! Happy Father’s Day! In 2013, I had the pleasure of LIVE chatting (unedited LIVE streaming) with my father about Chinese calligraphy creativity.

與 Simon 談書法的創意 Talk Chinese Calligraphy Creativity with Simon

My father has taught me, by personal examples, how to maintain life-long curiosity and learning. Dad LOVEs to learn. And he is a much better teacher than I ever will be. I sometimes lack the infinite patient that he seems to have.

During the LIVE chat, dad told me (amongst many things), on a purely calligraphy level, Dr. Sun Yat-sen 孫中山, Chinese revolutionary, first president and founding father of the Republic of China, loves to write the four Chinese words 「天下為公」 (The world is a Commonwealth). A photo example of Dr. Sun’s writing: 孫中山在故題的「天下為公」四個大字。(Google image search of 孫中山 Dr. Sun’s 天下為公 samples.) And Chairman Mao’s 毛澤東 loves to write the five words「為人民服務」五個字. (Google image search of 毛澤東 Chairman Mao’s「為人民服務」samples.) We had some fascinating discussions on top of the calligraphy in the LIVE video chat.

After my chat with dad talking about 鄭板橋’s words「難得糊塗」, the curious me (thanks dad!) conducted some research Zheng Xie 鄭板橋 (formally 鄭燮) and ended up reaching out to Dr. Lee Shew-Hua in Taiwan to ask her if she could kindly share her PhD thesis with me. As Dr. Lee had conducted her research 20+ years ago, she didn’t have an electronic copy of her thesis. But after finding out which pages/section I am most interested in, she was so kind to arrange and scan an excerpt of her Phd thesis 李秀華博士 〈鄭板橋書法之研究〉博士論文 (4.5 MB, PDF image file) for me. As all PhD thesis are in public domain, I am now sharing Dr. Lee’s PhD thesis excerpt 李秀華博士 〈鄭板橋書法之研究〉博士論文 on this Father’s Day to celebrate the teachings and inspirations by fathers from around the world.

Thanks Dad! Thanks for your continue teachings and inspirations! You rock!

Happy Father’s Day! 父親節快樂!

P.S. Upon further research, I found this Chinese TV show about Zheng Xie 鄭板橋. Enjoy.

《老梁故事汇》 20151023 郑板桥的糊涂人生

There are two Chinese series: 扬州八怪 YouTube playlist and 鄭板橋外傳


Watch “Revolution Trilogy” 睇「革命三部曲」

Friday, 18 March, 2016

Director/producer/independent reporter Kempton Lam has made three full-length documentaries from 2004 – 2015. (Cantonese with English subtitles 廣東話、英文字幕) Collectively, the three documentaries are known as his “Revolution Trilogy「革命三部曲」. Kempton’s debut documentary Long Hair Revolution 「長毛革命 has been collected by the Canadian National Archive since 2009. You can watch the three films at this YouTube Playlist (projected on your big screen HD TV or on your computer here). Enjoy!

Long Hair Revolution 「長毛革命」 (full-length 2005) (read film & Canadian national archive info)

HKtv Revolution 「香港電視革命」 (full-length 2015) (read Director’s Statement)

Umbrella Revolution: History as Mirror Reflection 「雨傘革命實錄:以史為鏡」 (full-length 2015) (read Director’s Statement)


China expert: poorly thought-out one-child policy ends but China needs to do more (exclusive interview)

Thursday, 29 October, 2015
20151029 China to allow two children for all couples

20151029 China to allow two children for all couples

After 35 years, China’s ruling Communist Party finally announced after a key meeting on Thursday (today October  29th, 2015) via its official Xinhua News Agency that the country will “allow all couples to have two children, abandoning its decades-long one-child policy“.

For those unfamiliar with China’s one-child policy, it was first introduced in 1978 and formally launched nationwide in 1980 to “rein in the surging population by limiting most urban couples to one child and most rural couples to two children, if the first child born was a girl.

China expert Dr. Ning Wang at Arizona State University (Dr. Wang is the co-author of “How China Became Capitalist” with late Nobel prize winning economist Ronald Coase) shared his view about the ending of China’s one-child policy in an exclusive interview with this reporter.

Dr. Wang stated (emphasis added), “After more than 30 years, the one-child policy finally came to its end. It was a rushed policy, poorly thought-out, implemented with violence and brutality. It has done more harm to the Chinese people and the Chinese civilization than any other policy implemented since the beginning of reform.

Wang continued, “While we celebrate the end of the one-child policy, we have to recognize that to allow a couple to have two children is far from enough. In the first place, the replacement level fertility rate is 2.1; this is, each woman should give birth to a bit more than two children simply to keep the population stable. In addition, some women will have one child only or no child at all. It is hence critical for other women to have 3 or even more children.

Wang concluded the interview by stating, “how many children a family wants to have is their private business — I cannot think of anything else more private. The state should stay away from such private decisions. If the state wants to be remain active, it can invest in education and health care, particularly in rural areas.

Here is a video excerpt of Dr. Wang interview with Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase on China’s One-Child Policy conducted in 2013, a few months before Coase passed away at 102 years old.

P.S. With a foresight of 30 years, Hong Kong University economics professor Steven N. S. Cheung in 1985 published the article “A society without brothers and sisters” (“沒有兄弟姐妹的社會“) discussing China’s one-child policy. Cheung wrote in the newspaper Hong Kong Economics Journal,

(rough English translation:) “If continued, 10 or 20 years later, Chinese youth will have no brothers or sisters. With further passing of time, everyone will have no uncles or aunts. Everyone, other than their parents, will be kinless!” (original Chinese: “長此下去,一二十年後,中國的青年都沒有兄弟姐妹。再過些時日,所有的人都沒有叔、伯、姑、表――除父母以外,每個人都是舉目無親!“)

While the word “everyone” was probably a literary device, thus a bit exaggerated, the world that Cheung foretold has unfortunately come true in 2015 for many Chinese as they, other than their aging parents, are basically kinless.


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