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The Rogue Port Authority
08/07/2004

The National Post has a scoop today about the activities of the Toronto Port Authority.

Through an Access to Information Act request, the Post has obtained documents that show the TPA has spent $1.8M on the bridge to the Toronto Island Airport since August, with plenty of spending and planning happening right up until recent days. The article does not make clear how much of this spending occured after the municipal election, or how much occured after Paul Martin said that there would be no bridge, but it is clear that the TPA did not stop its activities:

Documents obtained by the Post also suggest the port authority attempted to obtain permits necessary to connect Bathurst Street to the new bridge as recently as April 29, 2004. Dillon Consulting and construction firm Aecon first requested the permit last November, prior to the Dec. 2 council vote. A month after the council decision, an engineer employed on the project wrote the city asking for the "status of the permit" and requesting to come "pick it up."

What we need to keep in mind is that all organizations exist to pursue the objectives of their shareholders. In this case, the Toronto Port Authority is essentially owned by the federal government.

Since December, the Government of Canada has made statements that building this bridge is against its wishes. (Not to mention the City of Toronto and the local residents.) And yet, the TPA has continued to plan and spend. If the unwanted bridge is not built, this money is wasted. Since the Toronto Port Authority is a public body, it is the taxpayer that is on the hook. Whose interests are they looking out for?

I'd like to see Jack Layton introduce a bill to shut down the TPA. I think there's a chance he could win Conservative and/or Bloc support. (A Conservative candidate in the last election hinted as much.) Then, Toronto-area Liberals would be forced to choose. I wonder if, say, Tony Ianno would be able to get reelected in a year or two if he were to vote to save the Port Authority?


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