Despite the tremendous fiscal pressure it is facing, the federal government must take a hard second look at the cost-cutting it has implemented in airline safety inspections.
In comments to the CBC this week, aviation experts sounded the alarm over Ottawa's migration from direct oversight of the industry to what is effectively a self-policing approach.
Now, instead of relying on an army of hands-on inspectors to monitor airlines' adherence to safety rules and conduct regular audits, companies are expected to monitor themselves.
When things go wrong, employees fill out a report aimed at fixing the issue, but are not required to pass it along to Transport Canada.
The federal government monitors the overall system, but direct inspections have been cut back dramatically.
While many employees are no doubt careful and conscientious, the fact is that shifting the burden of responsibility from those who have nothing to lose by being objective to those who may have a great deal to lose by coming clean will inevitably result in an erosion of safety.
In an industry with famously narrow margins, the pressure to fly when things are probably OK must be enormous.
By making this change, Ottawa is conducting a dangerous experiment with the lives of Canadian air passengers.
With the global economy on a knife edge and fear of deficits at a high, governments the world over face huge pressure to keep down their expenses, and rightly so.
Public services will inevitably be cut back as a consequence, but those that deal with safety must not be among them.