If the backroom dealing that preceded news that Porter Airlines will soon be flying planes out of the Island Airport is any indication, we can say goodbye to the dream of a waterfront park. The Tories’ recent appointments to the Port Authority’s board suggest the only flight plan for the airport is expansion – full throttle.
Just who's been bending the Tories' ear for the TPA and Porter?
A who's who of political lobbyists with deep Tory connections. Among them:
Peter Naglik, a former question-period director for PM Stephen Harper, and before that Canadian Alliance leaders Stockwell Day and John Reynolds. Naglik, who's been on the Port Authority file since April, is also a former EA to Calgary Tory MP Jason Kenney, who serves as parliamentary secretary to none other than the PM himself.
Tim Kennedy , a senior consultant with PR giant Global Public Affairs, is a former researcher for Stockwell Day . More intriguing, however, is the fact he served as legislative assistant to Red Deer Tory MP Bob Mills , owner of Mills Travel Ltd., an American Express-affiliated travel agency boasting worldwide customer service. (Insert chin-scratch here).
Vic Gupta , a consummate Tory insider currently serving as treasurer of the executive of the Ontario PCs .
Tenio Evangelista doesn't show up - at least not specifically - as a lobbyist for the Port Authority or Porter Airlines on the feds' registry. His connection is more indirect, as VP of government relations for investment giant Borealis Inc., one of Porter's main financial backers . His political connections run deep into the federal bureaucracy (he's a former special assistant to the minister of transport and prime minister Paul Martin). He also sits on the board of Harbourfront Centre - just in case the TPA needs someone to make its case there.
Genevieve Young , a senior transportation adviser for Global Public Affairs, has a list of clients 12 pages long on the feds' lobbyist registry, including a number of airline-related interests . On the Porter file since July, Young is a former special assistant to Liberal secretary of state (Asia-Pacific) Raymond Chan .
Accountability goes by the board
Stephen Harper promised a more open and accountable public appointments process. But the Tories' five new appointees to the TPA board were announced on a Friday afternoon. Their resumés suggest the fix is in for Island Airport expansion.
Colin D. Watson : What's a former president and CEO of both Spar Aerospace and Vector Aerospace , who served on the boards of the two companies at the same time as Porter head Robert Deluce , doing on the TPA? Making sound business decisions, no doubt.
Cameron Turner : A financial analyst with CDI Global, Turner advises international clients in the manufacturing, industrial, technology and aerospace sectors . Is this a conflict? He's also a member of the Toronto Board of Trade , which is on record as strongly supporting Island Airport expansion, including a fixed link to the airport.
Douglas Reid : This biz prof's Tory ties go back to the early 80s, when he served as director of special projects for then premier Bill Davis . He's also a former VP of public relations firm Burson-Marsteller . More recently, he served as a director for Alberta-based energy company Candela . As someone who's been pumping the benefits of increased competition in the airline industry, can Reid be counted on to push anything but the expansion of flights out of the Island Airport?
Christopher Henley : It's hard to imagine that this career investment banker who has donated handsomely to Tory coffers and onced served as top dog for British Petroleum in Canada has been put on the TPA board to do anything but the bidding of the feds' powerful friends on Bay Street. Prove us wrong, Chris.
Krista Scaldwell : A Big Pharma exec - she serves as director of consumer health care at Pfizer Canada - Scaldwell made her name on Parliament Hill pushing brand-name drugs through the approvals process. Pass the rubber stamp.
Compiled by NOW staff