Many of us who have been involved in the long fight against the Island Airport, and more recently the fight against jets, were more than a little despondent with the defeat of Rosario Marchese, the NDP incumbent in Trinity-Spadina, and the election of the Liberal Han Dong. Marchese supported our no-jets, no airport expansion position. The Liberal government in Queen’s Park on the other hand has done nothing about the Island Airport.
The reason, we have been told, is that airports are the responsibility of the federal government. The province is not even a signatory to the Tripartite Agreement. So why should they get involved in this messy, divisive issue?
We have argued just the opposite. The province can do a lot of things about the Island Airport. Pollution is a provincial-federal shared responsibility and no one would deny that airports are pretty serious polluters. The bed of Toronto Harbour is controlled by the Toronto Port Authority, but the bed of Lake Ontario is a provincial responsibility. If the Deluce expansion plan for jets goes ahead, the runway would be lengthened into the lake and that means the province would have to agree. Not only that, the province has passed a regulation against any filling of the lake.
So where are the provincial Liberals on the issue of jets and the lengthening of the runways at the Island Airport? They have been AWOL up until now on the airport issue.
But that is about to change, according to the newly elected Liberal MPP, Han Dong. He recently issued a press release saying “With the opening of the Union-Pearson express, that makes the run in twenty-five minutes, there is simply no sound argument to proceed with expansion.”
So that’s it. Han Dong is opposed to the expansion of the Island Airport and jets. We are going to hold him to his statement. In the future we expect that the provincial government will make it very clear that they do not support jets at the Island Airport and will do everything in their power to see that it does not happen.