I had a conflict of interest, I’ll state it right off the bat. I love flying to New York on Porter airlines. As a resident of Scarborough it doesn’t make that much difference going to Billy Bishop Airport on the waterfront or Malton in the Northwest of the GTA.
I prefer the aesthetics of flying those charming propeller driven planes to Newark over taking a jet to one of the NY airports anyday.
I have liked Porter and their clever marketing, that includes a raccoon cartoon.
Conflict of interest?
Yes, I loved them up until now, when they were flying small planes.
But they want to enlarge the runways at Billy Bishop, to grow their brand substantially. They could do this at Malton, but of course then they’d be competing with Westjet, Air Canada and all the other carriers who aren’t trying to force jets into the downtown.
I was following this, I admit, with conflicted feelings because I find the flights so convenient already, and like any traveler am a sucker for convenience. If they could shave a few more minutes off my flight time, if LA and Vancouver were suddenly part of the mix, hey that sounds pretty good right?
But I have to thank Adam Vaughn for bringing me back to sanity. I heard about this through a piece shared on Facebook from the Globe and Mail.
Here’s the problem.
Toronto’s transportation infrastructure is severely messed up, as anyone living here can tell you. Several mayors have lied to us, telling us what we want to hear. Rob Ford is only the latest in a series who promise lower taxes even when we have serious needs to address. To his credit Ford spoke of building subways.
Now if we have these colossal problems, needing a downtown relief line for the subway plus one of the assorted cross-town options, just to clear our choked arteries, why would we piss away $100 million in government funding on support for the roads around the airport? I mean, yes, it would help me get to NY or LA a few minutes faster. But why in heavens name are we getting government support for the people seeking a quick exit from the city, when everyone else is stuck in gridlock?
It’s immoral, pure and simple, to be using funds this way.
It hit me clearly, reading Adam Vaughn’s words, that my loyalties had been out of wack. Or maybe it’s just that I liked Porter as the tiny perfect airline, but can’t bear the thought of them as big and noisy. It’s ironic that their corporate identity matches what they are and have become: urban pests who are out of control. Sorry, but I am increasingly thinking of Porter not as the little airline that could, represented by the cute masked figures, but instead, a clever and highly political agitator for a vision of my waterfront that is totally against everything I stand for. Yes the raccoons are now behaving true to form. Have you ever had raccoons in your roof? The airline are like the animal, in an out-of-control growth spiral, infesting our city. At least none of the planes are turning over garbage containers (yet).
Those tax dollars arguably belong to everyone. Where does city council get off giving that money to the rich (Porter and those of us flying to see a show on Broadway)? We need subways first, as Mr Ford has said. As a Porter customer i indeed feel conflicted, no longer quite so comfortable that I have been supporting the wrong side.
Um, does the deputy mayor even have the authority to push for something like this? Isn’t his mandate to stay the course? To an outsider this city must seem totally crazy.
I know that to this resident it seems very odd, very confused.