Saturday, August 29, 2009


Read, digest, and react. "WE want to PROTECT Toronto's Harbour and not continue SELLING IT OUT!!" Facebook group. I urge all those who have a page on this social networking giant to join.

Facebook group page

Toronto Port Authority yesterday announced a $38 Million dollar tunnel to Toronto Island -- exclusively for Porter Airline customers... to be paid for with tax payers money, giving NOTHING back to the community at all. The public won't even be able to access the island, through the tunnel, only Porter Customers!!

Out of a budget of $38 Million dollars to complete the underground tunnel, $31 MILLION dollars is to be spent by taxpayers ($19 million sought from Ottawa and $12 million from Queen's Park!!)with only ___$7 Million____ dollars spent by Porter Airlines. SWEET FREAKING DEAL...hmmm politican's how you managed to sell that to us is unbelievable!! Even more scary is your connections to the newspapers. WE SEE YOU MOTHERFUCKERS.


If the Port Authority / Porter wants the exclusive tunnel so bad, then they should foot the ENTIRE bill.

We the community want a link to PEARSON AIRPORT already!!!! Or build a pedestrian bridge over that everyone can use to access the island, instead of having to take the ferry!! Public money... Public structures, I know its tough but read that slowly as apparently you don't get it.

Please sign up to this group to show Queens Park that you are NOT in favour of this legislation getting through, and that you want tax dollars spent on projects that benefit EVERYONE, and not the elite few or corporations.

Especially ones that will just make our Lakeshore even uglier than it already is, giving back NOTHING!!!!!!! Our Lakeshore is NOT FOR SALE ANYMORE.

------ Councillor Adam Vaughn's Open Letter re: Island Tunnel-------------

Dear Residents of Ward 20,
Keeping in mind Mark Twain's advice never to start an argument with someone who buys ink by the barrel, let me try to set the record straight by presenting the actual argument I gave Globe and Mail columnist Marcus Gee against the tunnel to the Toronto Island Airport.

My opposition to the latest scheme that is being promoted by some members of the Toronto Port Authority and apparently being supported by Minister John Baird and the Tories in Ottawa revolves around these issues:

• Where are the plans for this project and how was a cost estimated without detailed drawings?

• Where is the business case for this $38m project? The TPA board has not seen one and neither have the governments or taxpayers.

• Why shouldn't the Island Airport or the airlines self-finance this project as Pearson must do when it contemplates improvements?

• Why is a third access route to this tiny airport being considered within months of a second ferry being purchased, and only a couple of years after the last new
ferry was purchased?

• How can the premier and the federal government give a favourable review to this vague project when an actual application for infrastructure funding has not been approved by the TPA Board?

• What local elected body has declared this project a priority for funding? How has this project jumped ahead of the city's streetcar needs, the goal of electrifying rail to Pearson, or simple road, bridge and highway repairs in Toronto?

As an elected official I am stunned at how easily this project has been embraced by senior levels of government with virtually every media outlet and commentator doing the cheerleading.

The city and municipalities across Canada have been engaged in long, complicated and highly politicized negotiations with the Federal Government to get established projects fast-tracked and most local governments, despite months of back and forth
with John Baird’s office, have yet to receive a penny of funding, let alone a commitment to fund important and badly needed projects.

Why has this particular proposal jumped the queue? Why when the city wants to build a subway to York University and serve millions of people with better transit, do the
Federal Tories insist that the city form a public-private partnership to qualify for funding, yet on this project they propose a 100% public subsidy all to the advantage of a single airline?

When $38m dollars is given over to one company with no public process and it is used to subsidize the movement of a small group of travellers, something is seriously wrong. This is the privilege that I question.

It has nothing to do with class, unless you are talking about a particular class of politician who circumvents public process to hand out public tax dollars to private

I was elected on a platform that promised to fight airport expansion and taxpayer subsidies for the un-elected and unaccountable Port Authority. Even current Board
members of the TPA (some appointed by Baird himself) have filed complaints to the Parliament's Integrity Commissioner and Federal Auditor General concerned about financial irregularities and governance concerns at the Port.

Even more alarming was the behaviour of the Minister in charge of the TPA last December. Faced with opposition to how airport improvements would be financed and a call for full disclosure to the Board itself over expenses filed by the previous CEO (current Federal Cabinet Minister Lisa Raitt), a half hour after Parliament was prorogued, Baird reconfigured the Board unilaterally and added two more federal appointments to the body to ensure the board would vote to prevent an investigation of the allegations.

Something is wrong at the TPA, and before the Conservatives, with help from Queen's Park, shovel more taxpayers’ dollars towards this tunnel project of questionable value Torontonians, taxpayers – in fact Canadians – deserve answers. Instead we get a silly
debate about class war.

To be clear: I don't think the island airport is needed; it's not a boon to the waterfront or a transportation priority for Toronto. But if it is there and people use it, so be it. My
quarrel is not with the choices people make to get to Ottawa. My concern is with a federal government in Ottawa that makes up the rules as it goes along and in doing so provides substantial public subsidies through its agencies to private interests. It is this set of privileges I attack and seek to end.

Best regards,

Adam Vaughan
City Councillor

Note: I DID NOT write this, just passing it on. -Mr.-


John G. Spragge said...

Glad you think you own the lake shore. I have no doubt that the people who actually hold the title deeds and the keys to the million dollar condos want you to go on thinking of it as "your" lake shore. That way, you'll serve their interests.

Who lives in that wall of condos? Well, the average household income comes to about $100,000 per year. Who lives under the flight paths of Pearson, the airport that the community you claim to speak for wants a rail link to? They have more kids, for one thing, and just half the income of the people on the waterfront. The working class communities of Malton and Rexdale already live with the vast majority of noise and pollution from the aviation that makes Toronto work. Should they not get some slight relief?

Nor will the proposed tunnel serve "only" Porter customers. On average, ten medical flights come into Toronto City Centre Airport daily. The kids flying in from Iqualuit; the woman in St. Mike's waiting for a shipment of AB- blood; the kid in Sick Kids waiting for a kidney; all these people will make use of the tunnel as well.

Mr. What U Need said...

I have no concern for the condo residents, my concern is with a private sector business swindling the city into paying for $31 million of a $38 million bill. And regarding your concerns for the many medical flights landing at the Island Airport...the proposed tunnel is supposed to save you 15 min. in travel time. Come on now, really?

Further more…I believe the poor people you so righteously stick up for would be opposed to paying for such a project. Actually…I know so.

Thanks for your feedback though.

John G. Spragge said...

If you want public money to go to noisy polluting diesel trains through Toronto's West End to benefit the airlines that fly out of Pearson (most of 'em private businesses, last I looked), then why not a short tunnel to City Centre Airport, which would also benefit the medical services?

And by the way, the tunnel would save a lot of time for medical shipments that come in after the ferry stops running, as some of them do. You can't always control the time a heart will become available.

Mr. What U Need said...