Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Federal Appointments to the Toronto Port Authority, Part 2

Okay, now it just doesn't smell stinky, it looks stinky. Remember all those appointments that Minister of Transportation Lawrence Cannon made to the Toronto Port Authority? One of them is Colin Watson.

Who is Colin Watson? According to the press release:

Mr. Watson was president and chief executive officer of Vector Aerospace Corporation, an aviation services firm, from November 2003 to January 2005.

What's also interesting to check out is who also served on the board of Vector at the same time.

The new Board is comprised of seven members, namely Donald K. Jackson, Kenneth C. Rowe, Gordon Cummings, Robert J. Deluce, Robert W. Luba, Robert E. Radford and Colin D. Watson. Mr. Jackson was also appointed Executive Chairman of Vector. Mr. Jackson has held senior executive positions at a number of companies and was previously the President and Chief Executive Officer of Northstar Aerospace, Inc.

Emphasis mine. Who's Robert Deluce? President & CEO of Porter Airlines.

What does Porter Airlines want [CBC, Porter Airlines gets 1st plane for proposed Toronto-Ottawa run]:

Porter Airlines, the fledgling carrier with a controversial plan to run flights between Toronto's island airport and Ottawa, took delivery of its first aircraft on Tuesday.

The privately owned company is still waiting for clearance from Transport Canada and the Canadian Transportation Agency to commence operations at Toronto's City Centre Airport, which it hopes to do by fall.

Am I the only one to think this series of events odd?

New airline forms at the Toronto Airport, founded by a gentleman who used to work closely with another gentleman who is now appointed to the Toronto Port Authority, the arm of Transport Canada that looks after the Toronto Airport. That airline is now looking for approval from Transport Canada to begin operations.

Now, if my junior detective skills picked this up, somebody a lot smarter than me should be able to shed some light on this. Did I get the names wrong? The associations?

Update: Olivia Chow, MP for Trinity-Spadina has also picked up on this Toronto Port Authority mess in a piece on lobbying [H/T, MyBlahg].

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Federal Appointments to the Toronto Port Authority

I openly admit, I have no real opinion on the Toronto Airport, one way or the other, but somebody has some explaining to do [Globe & Mail via Google, The bird has flown: Port Authority wins]:

Transportation Minister Lawrence Cannon had appointed five new members to the largely vacant [Toronto Port Authority] board of directors. That was the definitive signal. Suddenly, the official review of the agency by former Ottawa bureaucrat Roger Tasse, which raised such hope for a fresh start on the waterfront when the Harper government announced it last May, became meaningless.

...

By including at least one aerospace veteran on the board -- Colin Watson, former president of two firms on which Porter president Robert Deluce has served as director -- the Harper government affirmed its commitment to the island airport. And by reserving three of the spots for out-of-town Conservative Party activists and donors, it declared loudly it has no intention of undertaking fundamental reform to a wayward agency powered by political patronage.

Who are the appointees [Canadian Newswire, Appointments to Toronto Port Authority]?:

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced the following appointments to the Toronto Port Authority's board of directors: Mr. Christopher M. Henley and Mr. Douglas Reid for terms of three years; Ms. Krista L. Scaldwell and Mr. Colin D. Watson for terms of two years; and Mr. Cameron J. Turner for a term of one year.

The comments section over at Spacing Wire supplies some details on the new board members. Google searches will show other details. In short, it seems the new board appointees favour increased airport activity while having some connection to either the federal or provincial Conservative parties. The appointment of the board members, as suggested by John Barber, is not itself a signal - the government is required to do so.

All-in-all, the differing articles suggest that the new Board and a reconfigured Toronto Port Authority commission will be used to uncover previous Liberal Party waste. Once that waste is uncovered, the TPA can be "re-molded" and that ultimately the Toronto Port Authority, via the Toronto Island Airport, could become profitable. Either way, the TPA will remain firmly entrenched federally.

I disagree with that plan for two reasons.

(1) I don't care if the Toronto Port Authority has proven to be a country club for Liberal Party supporters. I know the Liberal Party enjoyed seemingly free access to the public coffers this way across a whole pile of federal groups. What I don't need is Conservative Party supporters to use the public coffers to tell me that the Liberal Party used to use the public coffers.

We fought that fight in the last election.

(2) I believe firmly in "local control of local issues", and a federal government appointment process done this way seems out of touch - three of the five appointees aren't from Toronto. Everybody knows the Toronto Airport has caused no end of controversy for the city. It would have been better, to say, appoint local municipal councillors to sit on the TPA - one opposed to the airport, one in support of the airport, and one neutral on the issue (or whatever works out).

The Toronto Port Authority should be governed, at least, in partnership between the City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario, and the Government of Canada. I don't see how keeping the Toronto Port Authority in firm federal hands makes any sense on any level. And, to obviously take it in a direction that is opposed by the City of Toronto seems wrong to me. Even if you oppose the City of Toronto's viewpoint, it's still the City of Toronto's viewpoint.

I'm willing to be corrected on this, but this seems stinky. The concern about uncovering more Liberal waste is speculation, for sure, but come on.

Update: A follow up is posted here.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Best Line

"Oozes rock deliciousness."

That's my best line ever.

Oh, Lucy ...

Somebody has some explaining to do [Canadian Cerberus, Jason Kenney, Stockwell Day and ties to PMOI/MEK]:

For those just tuning in, Jason Kenney is Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Parliamentary Secretary and (let's be honest here) the de facto Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. Kenney is also the Conservative MP who calls anyone associating (or standing sort of close to even) with anyone who is pro-Hezbollah to be apologists for terrorists.

Jason Kenney is also a guy who recently met with and welcomed an Iranian terrorist group called the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) and also known as Mujahedin e Khalq (MEK).

...

Stockwell Day is the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Day is also a friend of that same terrorist group who has sent them his best wishes and who only last year was demanding that it was wrong to put the group on the government terrorist list the government (even though the US did the same thing).

I'm here all day.

As far as I can tell, for consistency's sake, it would seem that, it is either wrong for Members of Parliament to even talk about talking to a group listed as a terrorist organization, or it is conceivable, that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pluto, a Planet No More

BBC, Pluto loses status as a planet:

Astronomers meeting in the Czech capital have voted to strip Pluto of its status as a planet.

About 2,500 experts were in Prague for the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) general assembly.

Astronomers rejected a proposal that would have retained Pluto as a planet and brought three other objects into the cosmic club.
Spokespeople for Pluto weren't immediately available for comment. :)

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

James Calder Endorses Storm Large on Rock Star : Supernova

I have a dismal record of picking winners for reality TV.

Anyway, I hope I'm not dooming my choice, but I officially endorse Storm Large to lead Supernova.

She is Super Rock Chick personified. Her voice is incredible. Her look is incredible.

In short, she oozes rock deliciousness.

About Storm, from the Rock Star: Supernova site:
In her critically acclaimed (the press loves Storm) and always-packed revue in a little club in Portland, Oregon, Storm and her band The Balls have collected a devoted following of fans who not only witness one gorgeous, sexy, fearless babe with balls-to-the-wall, tear-the-house-down vocal chops, but an oftentimes ingenious stage performer. A formidable, commanding and one-of-a-kind performer with an inspired, beautiful and ferocious voice, Storm's been described by some as almost transcendental. To put it in more simple terms, you're never bored when Storm's in the house.
More about Storm.
  • StormLarge.com, official site of Storm Large and the Balls - currently down while she's in the competition
  • Storm's Space, her Rock Star : Supernova blog site
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This Conservative Supports Garth Turner

I went on vacation, and I missed the entire nomination challenge for Conservative MP Garth Turner's riding of Halton.

I am pleased that Mr. Turner was able to retain the nomination for Halton against a challenge disguised as principled. I think the House of Commons would be a better place with a few more Garth Turners and a few less of the "principled alternatives" that were seeking his removal.

While I may not agree with everything Mr. Turner says, he is a breath of fresh air and ultimately a credit to the Conservative Party.


If you haven't already, I'd suggest you add Garth Turner's blog to your daily read.

Party on, Garth.

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Toilets Make for Good Eatin'

I am back, and I thought I'd start my posting with some pictures I received via email.

It looks like Taiwan has a toilet-themed restaurant. Patrons dine while sitting on the john, eating out of toilet-shaped bowls with food that looks, funny enough, like the contents of a toilet.

I smell a franchise coming here ...


I think these are Reuters pictures, as there are some more at an MSNBC story [MSNBC, Taiwan bowled over by toilet-theme restaurant]. Quote of the day:
"The taste is good, but I still feel disgusted when I look at it," said diner Lin Yu-may.
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Friday, August 04, 2006

I'm Off the Air

[Cross-posted from my other blog]

One of my favourite lines from WKRP is the episode where they have the bomb threat and the transmitter gets blown up. Bailey Quarters is at the reception desk talking to an irate listener.

She says, "How can we tell you we're off the air, when we're off the air?"

That said, I'm going to take a break for a bit. So, rather than you emailing me to find out if I'm off the air, I'll let you know that I am off the air - but only temporarily.

We'll see you in a few weeks.

Comment moderation on until I return.

I'm Off the Air

One of my favourite lines from WKRP is the episode where they have the bomb threat and the transmitter gets blown up. Bailey Quarters is at the reception desk talking to an irate listener.

She says, "How can we tell you we're off the air, when we're off the air?"

That said, I'm going to take a break for a bit. So, rather than you emailing me to find out if I'm off the air, I'll let you know that I am off the air - but only temporarily.

We'll see you in a few weeks.

Comment moderation on until I return.

The Greatest Prime Minister Canada Never Had

The first round of Calgary Grit's web poll is up. CG is attempting to determine who is the "Greatest Prime Minister Canada Never Had":
Canada has had 22 Prime Ministers and, truth be told, over half of them can only be classified as failures. When you see names like Bowell, Turner, Campbell, and Meighen on the list of our former leaders, it's not hard to wonder if there was anybody out there who could have done better.

Over the years, a lot of politicians have been given the title of "best Prime Minister Canada never had". So for the rest of the summer, I'll be weeding down a list of close to 100 would be Prime Ministers until one is crowned.My hope is that this will be a fun way to learn a bit about some great men and women who gave a lot to their country, without receiving the fame of glory of...say...Joe Clark.
Looking at the first round seeding, I'm going to endorse the following candidates in their respective match ups (links to bios are available at CG's site).

Matchup 1: Robert Stanfield
Matchup 2: Deb Gray
Matchup 3: Ed Broadbent
Matchup 4: Bill Davis
Matchup 5: Tommy Douglas
Matchup 6: Frank McKenna
Matchup 7: Stephen Lewis
Matchup 8: John Crosbie

Slight update: For those curious, I based my endorsements on what I believed the candidate did in promoting progressive conservativism and/or whether or not they have/had an overall positive impact on the national stage.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thought for the Day

I was reading Andrew Sullivan today and he had a post commenting on recent comments Bill Maher made about Mel Gibson. I picked up on it not because of Mel "The Booze Made Me Say It" Gibson, but more on what Andrew closed his piece with:
The biggest lie of our time is that fundamentalism is the only authentic expression of religious faith. In my view, it is often the least authentic.
Amen to that.

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