Toronto waterfront, 1918
Yesterday, Spacing reported that the release of federal government report (the Tasse Report) assessing the need for the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) was delayed until October 15th. Today this came out of the Canadian NewsWire:
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.
“I am pleased that these individuals have agreed to serve on the board of the Toronto Port Authority,” said Minister Cannon. “Together, their experience in business management, finance, academia and positions of community leadership will serve the board well in the future.”
We can look at this announcement two ways:
1. The federal government is filling the empty board seats as it’s legally obliged to do. As of yesterday, there was only one remaining board member.
2. The federal government is giving Toronto the procedural middle finger.
To read Minister Cannon say the “leadership will serve the board well in the future,” fills me with fright. If the future of the TPA is only going to last until October 15th, then these appointments are just nice resumé padders for Tory cronies. But if the TPA lives to see another day, what is going to happen to our waterfront? (you can read profiles of new board members by clicking here)
What I have never heard discussed to date is what would the Conservatives do with the TPA if they kept it? My imagination led me to this: Harper has tried to demonstrate that his party is serious about national security issues so it’s plausible that they would like to see a federal agency on Toronto’s waterfront for security/terrorist reasons. Did we not hear him talk in the last election about having the army in cities to respond to disasters? Maybe the TPA has a different future than we have yet to imagine.
We’ve always assumed that the Conservatives will placate Toronto on the TPA issue in order to try and pick up a few seats in the next federal election (not to mention their provincial brethern up for election in October 2007). But none of the ridings that touch the waterfront are ever going to vote for the Tories — they have been the sole domains of the NDP and the Liberals for ages. But outside the downtown region, in the inner ‘burbs, there are a number of swing ridings for the Tories to prey upon. It’s possible the these people couldn’t give a damn about downtown waterfront development, but they might like the sound of beefed up security for any of the ships coming into Toronto’s port.
These are just assumptions, of course. I realize we Torontonians see the TPA as bridge builders, literally, and nothing more than an obstacle to a revitalized waterfront. But the Feds come at this from a totally different perspective with a myriad of other concerns. Since one of the new board members spent the last 10 years as the CEO of two areospace companies, it gives the impression that the airport may not be going anywhere.
My security babblings aside, what we once thought was a done deal, may be a whole other mess. I’m interested in hearing other people’s ideas on these appointments.
photo from Toronto Archives: fonds 1244, item 0929.