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Airbnb executives silent after meeting with Quebec tourism minister


Two representatives of multinational company Airbnb fled the cameras without saying a word as they left their meeting on Thursday with Quebec Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx.

They had been summoned to the minister's office in Quebec City after the fire in Old Montreal that left at least four people dead. Three people are still missing.

Some of those missing in the fire had rented their homes on Airbnb, even though such rentals are illegal in Old Montreal.

Earlier in the day, Proulx promised to conduct a "tight" meeting and to be "unequivocal" with the executives of the short-term rental platform.

She said she was "more than determined" to tighten the screws on Airbnb. Her government has committed to revising the law by June 9 to require advertisers to display their tourism certification number.

"There are going to be legislative changes, which they will have to comply with," said Proulx, who did not appear at a press conference after her 30-minute meeting with Airbnb.

In a written statement she sent to the media, the minister said she had, however, "advised Airbnb of its intentions to revise the law (...) to make shared accommodation platforms accountable."

The minister also "insisted that Airbnb take responsibility and be more proactive than has been the case to date in this matter."

Airbnb's representative for Canada and the northeastern United States, Nathan Rotman, refused to answer reporters' questions about the tragedy in Old Montreal, fleeing the cameras and pushing the microphones away with his hand.

He referred the media to an official statement issued by Airbnb earlier this week, in which the company said it supported the victims and was helping the police.

Rotman, accompanied Thursday by advisor Camille Boulais-Pretty, also did not answer questions about Airbnb's willingness to crack down on illegal listings.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on March 23, 2023. Top Stories

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