Regional Airline Holdings, the company that has been pushing to run an airline out of the Toronto Island airport, will announce today details of a plan to buy up to $500 million worth of planes from Toronto’s Bombardier. “We are confident that the Q400 is the perfect plane to allow our airline to bring substantial economic benefits to the city and contribute to a revitalized Toronto City Centre Airport,” CEO Robert Deluce said in the Toronto Star today. Check out two articles in the Globe and Star.
For many people, including myself, it seems impossible that this situation could be rearing its ugly head again, but the mixture of politics and business is a very weird game. The former Liberal government was very hesitant to hand over control of the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) to the Toronto government, though PM Martin kept saying the federal government would respect the wishes of the local government and residents. The expansion announcement is doubly odd since there has been a settlement between the Feds and the TPA to cover the cancellation of the airport. Andrew Spicer’s blog reported during the election [ here ] that questionable deals were being made.
Now, the Haper-led government has a hot potato in its lap — does it help Toronto out by doing what the Liberals were afraid to do (and maybe win over a few Tory-haters in this city), or punish the city that didn’t elect a single Conservative MP? Luckily, the airport lands in the riding of newly-elected NDPer Olivia Chow, who is a vocal opponent of any airport expansion and will take the fight to Ottawa. If Harper was a smart man, he’d turn over the TPA to Toronto (local decisions are part of the Tory platform), thus throwing his Opposition a figurative bone in this tricky minority government landscape. As expected, Mayor Miller is vowing to fight this tooth and nail. Is it possible he could use the airport issue once again in his re-election bid in November?