I Got The TPA Porter Air Blues

I cannot lie. I like to fly as much as the next guy. As well as rhyme unnecessarily.

Aviation fascinates me. The sight of a plane either touching down or taking off still stops me in my tracks and fills me with childlike wonder. No matter how much I understand the science behind flight, there remains a little part of me that sees it as nothing short of a miracle.

In my line of work outside of contributing to these pages, I am often called on short notice to hop a plane and deliver my expertise all over the globe. Air travel is a regular part of my life. I view it as a blessing not a curse.

I live in downtown Toronto, close enough to the island airport to make it convenient to get to but not close enough for its aeronautical comings and goings to bother me if I were the kind of person put off by such things. As stated above, I’m not but the point I’m trying to make is that in terms of the island airport, on most accounts, I am simply an objective, outside observer. I have no vested interest one way or another in it.

Yet, I cannot bring myself to fly from this airport using Porter Air.

It’s not an environmental thing. Hell, I fly a lot. Clearly I’ve rationalized that as a major component of my carbon footprint. So I will not weigh in about the island airport’s impact from a pollution standpoint. I also think that an airport does not have to necessarily be detrimental from a waterfront redevelopment perspective. It could be a signature landmark; its presence felt like the planes from LaGuardia flying overhead Flushing Meadows during the U.S. Open tennis.

My aversion to the island airport, Porter Air and the federal agency that oversees both, the Toronto Port Authority (TPA), is purely political. The continued presence of the airport on the island represents the height of backroom cronyism, the influence of money and power, and serves as a prime example of the contempt in which our local government is held by their federal counterparts. Bay Street trumps Main Street to use a hoary cliché. Or should that be whore-y?

Now I’ve never actually seen a poll even from the committed anti-airport group CommunityAIR backing up their claim that a majority of Toronto residents want to see the airport shuttered. My thought is that a majority of residents don’t really think about it at all as it has no effect on their lives. It is the perpetually sneaky and underhanded behaviour of the TPA and Porter Air, however, that makes one wonder if there’s not something to CommunityAIR’s assessment of the situation.

One of the most recent examples of the TPA’s slipperiness was its announcement last Christmas Eve of a major expansion of the island airport. Now, major news releases are not made on Christmas Eve if the news contained within them is targeted for a wide audience. Just the opposite, in fact. This might be referred to as burying the news. Then, this past week with most eyes turned westward to Vancouver, Porter Air unveiled its new $50 million terminal that will greatly expand the number of flights going in and out of the airport. These are the kind of surreptitious PR moves that suggest a fear of an open and honest debate.

But that is just par for the course ever since the inception of the Toronto Port Authority in the 90s. The then federal government of Jean Chretien underwent a re-assessment of the country’s ports, wanting to maintain control only over those that were financial viable. Any that weren’t were to be handed back to the municipalities where they were located. Which is where Toronto’s port was headed until a late minute amendment by two local Liberal MPs, Dennis Mills and Tony Ianno, was added and the TPA was formed and the port and its property remained in federal hands.

No satisfactory reason for the change has ever been provided, adding to the furtive nature of the beast on the lake. One of the first moves the TPA made after it was formed was to sue the city for land that had been given to it by the federal government in the new port act. Take a moment to let that sink in. A federal agency sues a local government over land that the federal government had granted to the local government?!? The TPA backed Porter Airlines suit against the city when Mayor David Miller swept to power and overturned the previous council’s decision to allow a bridge to the airport. It is recalcitrant in paying taxes it owes the city. Basically, the TPA is a bad neighbour.

According to CommunityAIR, since the formation of the TPA in 1999, the city has doled out some $27 million to cover operational losses of the airport. Again, stop and let this sink in. The city is handing over money to a federal agency that was supposed to be financially self-sufficient. In a 2002 report that the TPA commissioned, the only solution to becoming financially self-sufficient was through an expansion of the airport which they have done, little by little, brick by brick, under the cover of darkness.

What it ultimately the most bothersome to me about the whole thing is that some people I know and like and who seem reasonable in every other sort of way, love flying Porter Air. “How can you pass up the convenience?” they’ll ask. “It’s such a pleasant experience compared to going all the way out to Pearson and being treated like cattle.” “They serve free liquor on board!”

It seems that, at least when it comes to flying, our democratic ideals and notions of participatory government can be purchased on the cheap. For a tiny bottle of airplane liquor and a little extra leg room, we’ll happily shrug our shoulders and give a pass to those determined to fleece government coffers and ignore the rule of law. Who knew it would be that easy?

submitted by Urban Sophisticat

26 Responses to I Got The TPA Porter Air Blues

  1. Tom says:

    Ok if there is extra legroom and free booze I am in. Politics be damned!

    • cityslikr says:

      Dear Tom,

      We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke pleaded with Urban Sophisticat to leave that whole bit about free liquor and adequate legroom out of his post for fear of providing positive advertising for Porter Air. But he ignored us as usual. We really should insist on having final cut, as they say, to nip these kind of slips in the bud.

      Writers. What are you gonna do?

  2. Barry Lipton says:

    Hi

    I am Vice – Chair of Community AIR
    We like your comments about the process that imposed the Port Authority on the City.
    What you didn’t touch on is who the Port Authority Board of Directors are.
    “Who’s In Charge at the TPA?”
    The short answer is: mostly Mike Harris-era Tories, appointed by Harrisite federal Transport Minister John Baird, and his predecessor, Lawrence Cannon.
    Stephen Harper’s government has appointed these loyal Tories:

    • Sean Morley, a lawyer at Bay Street law firm Fasken Martineau and a former Senior Policy Advisor to cabinet minister s in the Mike Harris government, appointed December 23, 2008 by Transport Minister Baird.

    • Craig Rix, whose appointment to the TPA was made by Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon in February 2008, was an aide to Finance minister Jim Flaherty when he was a member of the Mike Harris government in Ontario

    • Jeremy Adams, a former political aide in the Harris government, and director of government relations for a tobacco company appointed January, 2009 by Transport Minister John Baird

    • Mark McQueen, who worked as an executive assistant and advisor in Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s office, appointed September 25, 2007 by the Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon

    • Robert Poirier – appointed September 2009 by Minister Baird, has been a Conservative Party fundraiser since 2005.

    In addition, they appointed Colin Watson, a former CEO of Rogers Cablesystems, who sits on the board of Spar Aerospace and Vector Aerospace with Porter CEO Robert Deluce, and is an admitted friend of Deluce . Appointed in August 2006 by Minister Cannon.
    A majority of directors are required to be representative of port user groups, selected through a process laid out in the TPA Letter Patent. None of the directors were appointed as a result of that process, save perhaps Watson, who may well be considered to be Porter’s voice on the TPA board.
    Your frustration about the political process is based in fact.

    Can we use your comment on our blog with proper reference and link back.

    • cityslikr says:

      Dear Mr. Lipton,

      We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke realize that with our post today we only scratched the surface of what is nothing more than a huge pit of porcine political patronage. It is like some royal body used to pick the fiefdom clean to the bone. We welcome and appreciate any further elaboration you care to submit.

      • Hi – presume you’re fine with posting the piece on the Community Air blog? It’s great. And glad to have discovered this blog.
        Kathleen (temporary) editor of CAIR blog

      • cityslikr says:

        Dear Ms. McDonnell,

        Yes, we gave an enthusiastic thumbs up to having this post put up on your blog. Glad you like it. And could you please now give our friend Burt here a talking to? I think he might be trolling for the Porter Air or the TPA.

  3. Burt says:

    Well, I think you need to check your sources on a couple things.

    1) The city has doled out some $27 million to cover operational losses of the airport

    Wrong – the creation of the TPA removed the burden from city books to cover the Port’s operational loss. That the city lost court cases against the TPA because the city backed out of signed agreements bares no part in the conversation about operational losses. In fact, the TPA has made a profit in the past two years.

    2) It is recalcitrant in paying taxes it owes the city.

    Wrong – the city likes to ask for high taxes in the form of PILTs from other levels of government all the time. I hope you are also boycotting Ontario Place because it is currently in a court fight over the proper assessment result. This sort of thing happens when the city calculates value for a property based on a future theoretical zoning for condos.

    The City signed a settlement with the TPA last year that acknowledged the correctness of the TPAs interpretation of value. The TPA is completely up to date in financial matters with the city.

    • cityslikr says:

      Dear Burt,

      We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke are sure that you’ve had this exact same argument with the people over at CommunityAIR and you have pointed out to them the error of their ways in stating the $27 million in operational losses with proper notation and links to back up your arguments.

      Recalcitrant: adj. Marked by stubborn resistance to and defiance of authority or guidance.

      We’d say that nearly a decade’s old battle, Burt, to fend off paying taxes or PILTs is nothing if not recalcitrant.

      And yes, we do boycott Ontario Place ever since that beautiful summer day back in 1986 when they refused to refund us our money after the paddle boat we rented malfunctioned and left us stranded under the Cinesphere.

  4. I’d try but it wouldn’t do much good. Once a troll, always a troll. Thanks again.

  5. John Spragge says:

    Let’s put the putative cost of $27 million for Toronto City Centre Airport operations in perspective. $27 million looks like a lot of money, although to put it in perspective, that subsidy provided a base for over 3000 medical flights per year. Over the ten years that figure alludes to, that comes to about 30,000 rescue flights, patient transfers, and blood and organ shipments. Let’s try another perspective. When community air members demonstrate, they routinely wave placards that say “better take the train”. Well, let’s do that. As an example. Turns out that “on October 11, 2007, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced federal government funding of $691.9 million over five years” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Via_Rail#Increasing_problems_and_reinstated_funding). In other words, the VIA subsidy would keep over fifty Billy Bishop Toronto City Airports going. So this indignant complaint about the subsidy supposedly provided to the Toronto Port Authority seems a little inconsistent.

    So what about the supposed violation of democratic principles inherent in the TPA? Well, that argument has a problem, too. since Toronto won’t work as a world city and major financial centre without access to commercial flights, we need airports. Mayor Miller has (had?) a policy of “concentrating” air travel at Pearson. But (major inconsistency alert here) that means concentrating the noise and pollution on neighbourhoods that lie outside Toronto boundaries, and therefore have no vote in Toronto elections. So if we allow the Toronto City Council to dump pollution on them, what recourse do they have? Ideally, a group drawn from all the regional municipalities would administer transportation assets for the Greater Toronto Area, but the Toronto City Council has never managed to bring such a coalition together. Instead, the job falls on the federal government. Under these circumstances, I do not consider it realistic to blame the federal government for doing the job the government of Toronto has manifestly failed at.

    • cityslikr says:

      Dear Mr. Spragge,

      We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke are a little confused by your note.

      Nowhere in our post were we arguing against government subsidies. We were questioning why a municipal government handed money over to a federal agency that, according to the very act which created it, was required to be financially self-sufficient.

      Of all the complaints about Toronto we have ever heard from visitors to our city, an inability to get here has not been one of them. The pain and expense of getting downtown from Pearson is certainly problematic but a regular, affordable fixed link would alleviate that problem. We have traveled to other places that you would call major financial centres and many of them are serviced by airports situated far from their business districts. London’s Heathrow. Paris’s Charles De Gaulle. Chicago’s O’Hare. Those cities all seem to be doing fine by their airports.

      And before you go getting all but, but, but and start firing off examples of places that do have downtown airports, let us remind you that we never stated being against an operational airport on the island. It is simply the underhanded, sneaky, devious tactics deployed in keeping the airport viable and expanding that indicated to us that proponents and supporters of the island airport know if the whole operation were opened up to true public scrutiny (like say, the 2003 municipal election?), it wouldn’t fly. Ha, ha, ha.

      The history of Toronto’s relationship with the other communities in the GTA is rife with failures of cooperation that are not solely Toronto’s doing. Like in many aspects of our lives, self-interest rules. This makes regional planning difficult to say the least. Your “ideal” group drawn for all the regional municipalities to administer transportation assets for the GTA already exists. It’s called Metrolinx and is overseen by the provincial rather than federal government. True, it may not be ideal but it does exist and is proceeding with plans for a broad GTA transportation system.

      • John Spragge says:

        This issue concerns equity and consistency. As you point out, “self-interest rules”, and Mr. Miller has done a good job of promoting the self interest of the people who helped him into power. But the Mayor has never to my knowledge admitted that concentrating air traffic at Pearson would mean concentrating pollution on working class communities in Rexdale and Malton. I would welcome a transparent process in which everyone affected by aircraft pollution had a say, but that hasn’t yet happened.

        So on what basis do you claim the supposedly “underhanded” tactics of the Toronto Port Authority should offend me, but I should accept the repeated failure of the waterfront lobby and some Toronto city council members to acknowledge the rights of the people who live near Pearson as acceptable “self-interest”? Why should I regard the actions of the Federal Government as an affront to democracy, but accept the decision by Toronto City Council to “concentrate” air traffic over the heads of people who don’t get a vote in Toronto?

        As for metrolinx, it doesn’t operate any airports, as far as I can see it has no plans to operate any airports. This region has yet to see a comprehensive and respectful dialogue about our transportation needs, how best to meet those needs, and how best to share the burdens.

      • cityslikr says:

        Dear Mr. Spragge,

        We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke have never heard even the most ardent supporters of the island airport advancing the argument that the airport is necessary in order to relieve congestion at Pearson. If you came up with that all on your own, you really should submit the idea to the TPA to help their cause.

        You seem to have a wildly inflated view of the powers of Toronto City Council. They can’t even stop the expansion of the island airport let alone flex the muscle in order to “concentrate” air traffic over the heads of people who don’t get a vote here. Show us proof that decreased numbers of flights out of the island airport leads to increased numbers of flights from Pearson and then maybe you might on the verge of making a sound argument here.

        Because you still seem to be missing the point of this article. The TPA is an unelected federal agency that since its inception has routinely disregarded and legally bullied Toronto City Council, at times disregarding written agreements with seeming impunity. The relationship between Toronto City Council and the people of Malton and Rexdale is completely and utterly different than that. The two situations have no bearing on each other whatsoever. If the people of Malton and Rexdale are concerned with air traffic from Pearson, their beef is with the federal government who operates that airport not with Toronto City Council.

  6. Rob Anthony says:

    I used to fly from the island when AC was there, and now I fly with porter.. Toronto has embraced this airport, and loves it. The few including Adam Vaughan who have become a barely noticeable minority really no longer have a realistic voice in this debate.

    This brings jobs to Toronto, is accessible, keeps jobs in Toronto, and is convenient and affordable. The argument of noise is really not true, and has become an old-chestnut.

    I’m no longer sure of what this fight is still about really…

    Why not take up the fight of stopping TTC street cars from clanging their bells on streets near condos… seriously.. if you want to live in the complete quiet, move to Saskatchewan.. living in downtown Toronto comes with strings attached.

    At the end of the day, above and beyond all… this airport is used, loved by Torontonians, and people who visit Toronto and has created great jobs, and more jobs because of increased travel. It also saves money for those not having to fork over coin for a cab to pearson.

    CommunityAIR is just wasting their time. This isn’t to minimize their argument or what they stand for…. it’s just that they are on their last breath.

    • cityslikr says:

      Dear Mr. Anthony,

      We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke are very happy that you enjoy flying with Porter Air.

      It bears repeating, I think, to you and the other island airport and Porter supporters (I think I just gave you a t-shirt slogan) who are now writing in, that this article was not advocating the closing of the airport and banishing of Porter to the wilds of Pearson. We did not take sides in this debate (or what’s left of it) with Community AIR although it probably is worth pointing out that they do tend to come to the table with facts and figures while comments like yours are of the more anecdotal, personal opinion kind. Has Toronto embraced the island airport? If you say so, I guess. But one has to wonder why Porter Air is so reticent to go public with such things as their flight load numbers. Are they trying to keep their success a secret from us more skeptical Torontonians?

      Which was and continues to be the gist of our article. The surreptitious and backroom nature of the TPA and Porter Air. If they are so sure, as you are, about Torontonians love of the airport, why aren’t they more forthcoming in telling us their plans for it? It can’t be they’re frightened of withering, feeble organizations like Community AIR and irrelevant, sidelined local pols like Adam Vaughan, are they?

  7. John Spragge says:

    1) You’ll find the definition of a reliever airport below. Three things to note: (a) a region can require a reliever even if its major airport still has capacity for scheduled flights, (b) multiple factors affect the availability of a runway to particular types of aircraft, including factors not apparent to observers with no aviation background, (c) general aviation includes medical aviation: patient transfer, blood and organ transfers, and air ambulance.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliever_airport

    2) Of course I have evidence to back up what I say. The article referenced below (the Globe has the same report, but behind a pay wall) indicates that Porter flights have cut jet departures from Pearson. As someone who has recorded the environmental effects of these departures on neighbourhoods in Rexdale and Malton, reductions have improved the quality of life in these areas. I enclose a link below to sound and visual recordings which illustrate my point.

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/tradingdesk/archive/2009/05/12/porter-proves-stiff-competition-for-air-canada-westjet.aspx

    As for the TPA: they answer to the government, which answers to Parliament, which, last I checked, all Canadians get to elect. And certainly, the downtown waterfront communities have an advocate who makes their displeasure with Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport known at every opportunity. By contrast, Toronto City Council answers only to the voters of Toronto. So who should represent the people of Malton on this issue? If not the Toronto Port Authority, who should make sure the medical flights get an airport, and that the air traffic system the sustains Toronto at least nods to fairness?

    • cityslikr says:

      Dear Mr. Spragge,

      We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke are not sure why we are having this debate, frankly. We seem to be in agreement about the one major issue lying at the root of all of this. Government inattentiveness to the requests and demands made by the voting public.

      It’s just that you seem to believe that the culprit is Toronto’s City Council and somehow the TPA is the friend of democracy, defending the people of Malton from the powerfully evil designs of Torontonians to rain down pollutants on them. Wouldn’t it simply be easier for Malton to use its own presence on the Mississauga city council to fight to be heard about air traffic at Pearson?

      And if you’re coming at us claiming to have evidence in backing up your views, please have more than Wikipedia entries that are not referenced or are unsourced, National Post articles based on claims from an investment bank study or your very own video documentary. As well done as it is, it doesn’t really possess the ring of objective truth.

      • John Spragge says:

        I don’t know why I bother to discuss this, either. Even lefty politicians steer clear of the airport issue these days; Adam Giambronne never made much of a statement on it during the campaign that I heard, and a google search hasn’t turned up any comments from Joe Pantalone. The opponents of the airport have dwindled to a small clump of protesters who turn out once in a while, and whom even former allies like Toronto Life dismiss as “ageing hippies” (the ultimate coolness kiss of death).

        But since it amuses me, and since some of the issues, particularly issues of equity and governance, have implications beyond the fate of 3% of the passenger traffic that goes in and out of the Toronto area, let’s go:

        On governance: so you expect the people of Malton to pressure the Mississauga city council for relief, just as the waterfront community has done. That has at least three things wrong with it:
        (1) The waterfront community has far more wealth than Malton; Malton households have 50% of the income, on average, of their downtown counterparts (Census of Canada, 2001 and 2006). That gives the waterfront more leisure, money, and these things buy influence. But if people with more power and wealth can arrange to just dump pollution on people with less of both, what kind of society does that leave us?
        (2) Missisauga City Council does not control Pearson; the Greater Toronto Airports Authority runs Pearson, another arms-length federal body that no more answers to the Mississauga council than the TPA answers to Tronto City Council.
        (3) Ignoring the differences in levels of privilege and imagining the people of Malton make themselves heard by the GTAA; what then? Aviation, with all its advantages, imposes environmental burdens; someone has to bear those burdens, and someone has to decide who. I would prefer an open and transparent process engaging all the communities affected by aviation in the GTA, but that hasn’t happened. If we, the government and residents of Toronto, want an open process, we have to sit down with the other municipalities and make that process work. If we don’t, someone from the outside has to make the decisions. To trash the TPA as conservatives, back room insiders, federal interlopers, or anything else for making decisions we refuse to create the structures to make does them, us, and the region an injustice.

        On references: if you don’t like Wikipedia, try this one:

        http://www.faa.gov/airports/planning_capacity/passenger_allcargo_stats/categories/

        My other references linked to a report from an industry analyst on trends in the industry as reported in two of Canada’s premier business publications, and actual recordings of noise levels in Rexdale, Malton, and on the waterfront respectively. If you have data that contradicts mine, let’s see it, but don’t claim I haven’t backed my position up because you choose to assess my data as somehow not “objective”. My recordings come directly from actual landings and takeoffs; data doesn’t get more objective than that. As for the airline analysis I referenced, first of all, airline analysts do this for a living, and they have a strong incentive to do their work right. As well, all the other indications, such as the Port Authority turning a profit based on per-passenger fees, tend to back the position that Porter has successfully diverted traffic from Pearson. At some point, refusing to accept information you don’t like simply undermines your argument.

      • cityslikr says:

        Dear Mr. Spragge,

        We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke apologize if we’ve denigrated the quality of the evidence you’ve produced. For us this has never been an argument about the environmental impact of flights to and from the island airport. We never sided with Community AIR in that respect. We admitted from the outset that this was not terrain we knew anything about. You clearly do. But do not try and sway us with unsourced, anecdotal, non-scientifically rigorous data.

        This has always been about the politics to us and on that level we feel that you are grotesquely misguided. Your defense of lower income households in Malton against the leisured monied class of downtown Toronto is fine as far as it goes but if, as you say, wealth buys influence, why do you stop the chain at anti-airport activists like Community AIR? Why are you so smug and dismissive about lefty politicians and “ageing hippies” (a smugness and dismissiveness you share with such luminaries as the Toronto Sun’s Sue-Ann Levy. Kudos to you.) Do you think you are truly speaking truth to power?

        Our thought is you’re simply muddying the waters for the real power brokers in this battle. Aligning yourself with an undemocratic elite in hopes of furthering your own political ends in reducing air traffic over the skies of Malton and Rexdale. Opportunistic and cynical perhaps but that does seem to be the way of the world, Mr. Spragge. But it’s also hypocritical on your part. Are you not playing the same game you so despise in the privileged waterfront crowd?

  8. Devil'sAdvocate says:

    So is this where the elitist communist Air folks hang out and ask for every one to move away so they can live in their imaginary Truman-Show-like paradise? Please give your head a shake and stop your proxied ranting on behalf of Air Canadaflot! The city of Toronto and its working tax paying inhabitants who actually contribute to the progress of the city love the airport and Porter for different reasons. The aiport for its resilience in its fight against the elitists who are too divorced from reality to see that Pearson actually neighbours many times more people who contribute to society, and Porter for its innovation in bringing dignity back to air travel and actually work to earn people’s trust and business, as opposed to Air Canadaflot with its poor service which looks for an excuse to beg for more tax money. Get a life and stop your ranting. With all due respect, the article is not worth the papaer it’s written on.

    • cityslikr says:

      Dear Devil’sAdvocate,

      As noted in a response we here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke made to an earlier comment, we really wish that anyone submitting their views that are heavily tinged with sarcasm and irony would alert us to that fact by using the appropriate emoticons. Otherwise, we read comments like this straight up and come to the conclusion that you don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about.

      For instance, when you talk about the airport’s resilience in fighting against “elitists”, it seems that you’re labeling anti-airport groups as elite rather than those private interests who helped fund the latest airport expansion. That’s probably the point you were attempting to make. Or when you talk about “Air Canadaflot” begging for more tax money surely that’s making light of Porter Air receiving some $20 million from Transport Canada as a little start up money for his then fledgling airline. Yes?

      You see where we’re a little confused by your submission? Just for future reference.

      • Dave says:

        I think he’s talking about the fact that Air Canada has gone bankrupt several times but has been held up by Government Tax Money. It’s actually better that tax money go towards a company that proves it can make money after start up.

      • Devil'sAdvocate says:

        Dear city slikr;

        You have decided to defend Communist Air and Air Candaflot, I will debate you on this with facts, never mind emoticons. Who are the members of Communist Air that have become the self-proclaimed, self-righteous defenders of the waterfront? They do not represent even small fraction of the residents. They can cry a river about air pollution in their heaven, but the FACT remains that the Q400, Porter’s plane, has a far smaller environmental footprint than the big old jets Air Canadaflot uses at Pearson. Why do they want so much care and attention on their back yard and not the people around Pearson? Do the people around not matter as much as the elite Communist Air members? The FACT remains that there are far more people around Pearson than Island, the majority of whom actually like the convenience Porter brings. So what’s the problem if it’s not politically charged or a war fought on behalf of Air Canadaflot?

        You speak of the 20 million Porter got. First of all, unlike you, I’m not privy to people’s business, so I’m not sure of the details. But even if you were right, I’m sure it was due to breach of their contract and Porter proved its case in the court of law beyond reasonable doubt, otherwise Miller and his comrades are even less competent than I thought to give away city’s money. What did you expect though, that like any good old commy country the government can break its contract and walk away from it? No dear, in free societies, governments like individuals are held accountable for breach of contracts just as much as individuals.

        As for Air Canadaflot that you defended, how many times will this nation tolerate Air Canadaflot reaching into its pockets for hand outs? How many times will hard-working people will tolerate elitist opportunists take advantage of them by canceling the shares which they had bought in Air Candaflot using their hard-earned money, while uncle Milton and the likes walk away with their 20 millions. Oddly enough, the same number you used, but even if Porter did get 20 millions, at least it’s using it to improve the waterfront, provide a service people use and like, and create jobs that will help the city, the big smoke that you talk about. Uncle Milton on the other hand, took his 20 millions and ran away just as fast as he had come!

        This is why, emoticons or not, sarcasm irony or not, people are fed-up with Air Canadaflot, based on facts, and the sooner they go bankrupt the better it is, because Westjet, Porter and the likes will fill-in the gap and provide a service that is customer friendly and innovative. You and I can debate this until we turn blue, but something tells me that with or without emoticons, far more people see it my way than yours and that is simply based on facts dear!!

  9. Joe says:

    Hello CitySlickr,

    Community Air may come to the table with many facts and figures but I would suggest that no one has the numbers to prove what real support or opposition the Island Airport has. Their insistence of widespread opposition to the airport is an important pillar to their very existence and is, at best, only based on anecdotal evidence.

    When they argue that “EVERYONE” deserves a clean green waterfront, I don’t think they see Airport Supporters as a part of EVERYONE. I support the airport because I believe it can be an asset to the waterfront. It also doesn’t mean I like to stick my head down smokestacks for a living.

    I understand that your article was not taking sides on the airport issue and I do agree that the TPA is a very poorly run operation with a shady backroom type of odor to them. I also believe the TPA continually misses opportunities to mend fences with the airport area communities which only adds to the frustration.

    Take Care!
    Joe

  10. John Spragge says:

    You can call the TPA “undemocratic” until the cows come home; as Lincoln said, calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg. The Toronto Port Authority derives its authority from the government of Canada, which like virtually every other federal or national government in the world has a mandate to set transportation policy. That includes making policy relating to marine harbours and airports. The Toronto Port Authority performs two very important functions: it ensures that a coalition of unrealistic urban designers and profit-minded developers doesn’t vandalize the marine port, the only hope for low-carbon goods transportation Toronto has, and it maintains and operates an airport that serves 3000 medical flights a year, as well as diverting a small proportion of Pearson’s traffic away from the homes of poor and stressed communities in Rexdale and Malton. The federal government has a democratic mandate to do both of those things, and because the implications of actions relating to the port and airport have effects far beyond the borders of Toronto, the Toronto City Council simply does not. Community AIR activists helped elect an ardent opponent of the Toronto Port Authority to Parliament; they have that right. Thirty million-odd other Canadians elected other representatives with different mandates, who supported a government that decided to keep the airport open. They have that right also. I also note that the federal government commissioned a review of the Port Authority by Roger Tassé. Before the report appeared, Community AIR and their supporters hailed the process; afterwards, without actually making specific criticisms, they attacked it as “naive”, a “whitewash” and so on. You don’t have to agree with decisions made around the TPA, although they make sense in terms of environmental justice, but the process has taken place in a much more lawful and transparent way than the opponents of the airport admit. And the anti-airport campaign has not gone without its own share of fibs, from the notorious Miller campaign graphic of a fleet of 737s descending on the island, to Now’s picture of a military transport plane with a trail of smoke to illustrate an article, to the outrageous claims by Community AIR over the years that people do not live near Pearson and that environmental justice, in this connection, simply does not matter.

    http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/mediaroom/releases-nat-2006-06-h131e-3604.htm

  11. […] know-nothing partisan hack. Exactly what happened when I innocently got caught up in the ongoing TPA-Porter Air-Community Air saga at the island airport. Just minding my own business, throwing a few thoughts out […]

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