Chow to press Tories over pork flipflop

Release says Tories replaced Grits at the Toronto Port Authority trough

Ottawa – A document leaked to the Globe & Mail lays bare a highly unsavoury and suspect secret deal forged between the former Liberal Government, the unaccountable Toronto Port Authority and private interests connected with Porter Airlines. This leaked document was reported by the Globe just hours after the Harper Conservative Government granted a licence for Porter Airlines to operate at the Toronto Island Airport, in league with the Toronto Port Authority.

“Since the people of Toronto voted three years ago to stop the bridge to Toronto Island and rein in the rogue Toronto Port Authority, we have been asking for the TPA to be held to account and for these murky secret deals to be made public,” says Olivia Chow, MP for Trinity Spadina where the Toronto Island Airport is located. According to Chow,

“The TPA and private interests gained millions of taxpayers dollars — $35 million for the cancellation of a $22 million bridge. From what is revealed in the document, we can see that there was a reason why the Chretien and Martin Liberals kept it secret – it shows that money was improperly diverted back to the TPA through a private interest – and the money was designated to expand the Island Airport, despite the cancellation of the bridge.”

“It is not surprising that these machinations were covered up by the Liberals, including the Joe Volpe and Tony Ianno, the Toronto politicians most closely associated with setting up the TPA,” says Chow. “What is surprising and disturbing is that the Harper Conservatives, who made empty promises to clean up corrupt practices, have continued the cover-up.”

Chow notes that a Ministerial Review established this past spring to look into the operations and secret practices of the TPA was postponed by Minister of Transport Lawrence Cannon just days before the report was to be released.

“Private interests involved in the secret payoff have just been rewarded by the Harper Conservatives, which has given the green light to unwelcome commercial airline activity at the Island Airport,” says Chow. “The Minister did not even wait to assess his own Ministerial Review. The Conservative insiders, lobbyists and cronies are proving just as effective as their Liberal predecessors and the cover-up continues.”

Chow says she will continue to press in the House of Commons and the Transport Committee for the Toronto Port Authority to be held accountable to the public interest.