The battle against Airbnb flies in the fa­ce of free­dom of choi­ce

Every­day peo­ple who want to ma­ke mo­ney from their ho­mes are op­po­sed by unions pro­tec­ting their mem­bers from com­pe­ti­tion

La Jornada (Canada) - - ENGLISH SECTION -

The­re’s no pla­ce for the sta­te in the be­drooms of the na­tion,” Pie­rre Tru­deau, then jus­ti­ce mi­nis­ter of Ca­na­da, fa­mously said in 1967.

Fifty years la­ter, this sta­te­ment ment is no lon­ger true. Peo­ple who are straight, gay, trans­gen­de­red d or ot­her­wi­se can’t ne­ces­sa­rily get a room for the night from m an­yo­ne wi­lling to rent.

No, when it co­mes to Airbnb nb and ot­her room-sha­ring ser­vi­ces, the sta­te has a lot to say.

Wha­te­ver hap­pe­ned to con­sen­ting nsen­ting adults?

So­meo­ne has a room to rent. You li­ke the room and its pri­ce. You pay the e host and get the room. Every­body’s happy, right? t?

Ap­pa­rently not. That ‘ever­yo­ne’ ryo­ne’ does not in­clu­de the unio­ni­zed wor­kers s of the hos­pi­ta­lity in­dustry. They ha­ve hel­ped ped or­ga­ni­ze

Fairbnb, a group that os­ten­sibly bly exists to en­su­re ‘fair­ness’ in re­gu­la­ting Airbnb.

The un­derl­ying mo­ti­ve of the he union that spon­sors it, ho­we­ver, is to curb de­ve­lop­ment of Airbnb and pro­tect union jobs.

This lobb­ying has crea­ted a mo­dern irony - com­ple­te se­xual free­dom edom in the be­droom, but strict ru­les les on how the be­droom can be ren­ted ted and from whom.

Every­day peo­ple who want nt to ma­ke mo­ney from their ho­mes are re op­po­sed by unions that want as many wor­kers as pos­si­ble. The unions want the hig­hest wa­ges pos­si­ble and the­re­fo­re the hig­hest union dues pos­si­ble. The­se unio­ni­zed em­plo­yees la­bour in ho­tels that cost mi­llions of do­llars - ob­viously much mo­re than the ave­ra­ge ho­me. Then guests pay a hig­her ra­te to co­ver the unio­ni­zed la­bour.

A mar­ket­pla­ce whe­re Airbnb pro­li­fe­ra­tes to meet de­mand and ho­tels res­pond with com­pe­ti­ti­ve pri­ces would be the most fair. Peo­ple would ma­ke con­sen­sual choi­ces with their ho­mes and with their wa­llets. And wha­te­ver re­sults from the­se in­di­vi­dual de­ci­sions cons­ti­tu­tes our co­llec­ti­ve choi­ce.

Such rea­li­za­tions seem be­yond the myo­pic fo­cus of tho­se op­po­sed to Airbnb.

Last April, Airbnb’s suc­cess in To­ron­to’s Ken­sing­ton Mar­ket spar­ked a pro­test ‘fu­ne­ral’ by 20 pro­tes­ters who didn’t li­ke the Airbnb ef­fect. The ‘mour­ners’ in­clu­ded a wo­man who com­plai­ned the free mar­ket was chan­ging the neigh­bour­hood and re­pla­cing fa­mily sto­res with ea­te­ries for tou­rists. Thor­ben Wie­ditz of Uni­te He­re Lo­cal 75 for ho­tel wor­kers com­plai­ned about Airbnb hosts with mul­ti­ple lis­tings: “Peo­ple reali­ze they can ma­ke a lot of mo­ney off of tou­rists.”

Oh, the irony. Ho­tel ow­ners and unio­ni­zed wor­kers are the ones who ma­ke a lot of mo­ney off of tou­rists - and ha­ve for years. Now they they’re re afraid of Airbnb hosts with rooms to of­fer clea­ned by the ow­ners or non-unio­ni­zed s ser­vi­ces. Then Wie­ditz wro­te a co­lumn in the To­ron­to Sta Star com­pa­ring Airbnb to peo­ple “th­ro­wing rocks th­rough y your neigh­bours’ win­dows, and then ... se­lling ever­yo­ne bur­glar alarms and van­da­lism in­su­ran­ce.” This coinc coin­ci­ded with his ap­pea­ran­ce before To­ron­to’s plan­ni plan­ning com­mit­tee ca­lling on them to ban se­con­dary su sui­tes from Airbnb lis­tings. Short-sigh­ted ‘ the­re goes the neigh­bour­hood’ claims ign ig­no­re the ot­her si­de: ‘the­re goeth we wit­hout Airb Airbnb.’ Just ask Paul Ne­doszyt­ko, who al­so spok spo­ke to To­ron­to’s plan­ning com­mit­tee. With the help of his wi­fe, he re­no­va­ted his ba ba­se­ment four years ago in or­der to rent it. He now claims he has Airbnb clients e every night, ap­pa­rently ear­ning him $67 a stay.

“I ha­ve no pen­sion, I ha­ve no drug plan, p I ha­ve no den­tal plan,” Ne­dos Ne­doszytk­to told city coun­ci­llors. “We’re really behind the eight ball in terms of o pre­pa­ring for our fu­tu­re.” Sop Sop­hia Vi­ra­ni of Eto­bi­co­ke ad­ded, “If Airbnb didn’t exist, I couldn’t buy this hou­se. My only on way of af­for­ding that, and ha­ving chil­dren with a back back­yard, is to be able to rent it [the ba­se­ment] out short-term short-term.” ”

Un­for­tu­na­tely, To­ron­to seems poi­sed to ig­no­re its ad­mi­nis­tra­tion’s initial ad­vi­ce and ban se­con­dary sui­tes, just as Van­cou­ver has do­ne.

This is wrong.

If so­meo­ne con­verts their ba­se­ment in­to an in­de­pen­dent sui­te for Airbnb, who is a po­li­ti­cian, bu­reau­crat, union-spon­so­red lobb­yist or an­yo­ne el­se to say who can stay on their pro­perty for what pri­ce, or un­der what terms?

When re­gu­la­tion be­co­mes an ou­tright ban of free choi­ces, it has go­ne too far. -TROYMEDIA

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