Melanie Aitken, head of Canada's Competition Bureau, says Air Canada is ignoring the country's antitrust laws as it defends an expanded tie-up with United Continental Holdings. "Air Canada's appeal to nationalistic sympathies, suggesting that competition policy should support a 'national champion' in the international air transportation world -- by permitting monopolistic prices, reduced service, and less consumer choice -- is contrary" to Canada's antitrust laws, Aitken said. Air Canada had said that blocking the transborder joint venture "would relegate Canada and Canadian air carriers to a marginalized regional or local status in the international air transportation world."

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