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PoTO Directors’ Resignations Requested to Make Way for Reform

For Immediate Release Monday, November 23, 2015
Contact: Brian Iler, Chair
416-835-4384 (cell)
416-598-0544 (work direct)

In letters delivered to four of the six directors of Ports Toronto in office, CommunityAIR today requested their resignations.

The text of the letter sent to Robert D. Poirier, B. Sean L Morley, G. Mark Curry, and Jeremy E. M. Adams (the two other directors are appointed by the City and the Province) is as follows:

Dear Director:
You may be aware of that former Ports Toronto Board Chair Mark McQueen has resigned as Chair of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority , citing the change of government in Ottawa:

“But I appreciate they would want their own person for the role and I thought I would help pave the way for them to do that.”

You are in a similar position: your appointment was highly political, with your ties to the Conservative Party clearly being a primary factor.

The Liberal Party has committed itself to reforming Ports Toronto.

You will be aware of the statement of Liberal Party policy by Adam Vaughan last September:

“The Liberal Party has also promised to reform the Port Authority (now called Ports Toronto). We are committed to making sure that the Port Authority holds its meeting in public and publishes its agendas and minutes as part of each meeting. The Liberal Party will ensure that the new Port Authority will be comprised of actual waterfront stakeholders with residents, waterfront businesses, port users and recreational and cultural organizations all represented.”

May we suggest that, as Mr. McQueen has, you pave the way for this necessary reform by immediately resigning your position on the Ports Toronto board?

We do note that the Ports Toronto Letters Patent establish a maximum six-year term, which, for you, has expired.

While the Canada Marine Act, enacted in June 1998, establishes a maximum nine-year term, the Minister, by issuing Letters Patent for Ports Toronto after that Act came into force, on June 5, 1999, can be presumed to have intended to restrict the maximum term within the Act’s restriction, to six years.

We also note that your appointment was fundamentally flawed from the beginning, in that the consultation process required by Section 14 of the Canada Marine Act with the Class of Port Users you are presumed to represent was not followed for your appointment, to our knowledge.

As this is a matter of urgent public interest, I would appreciate your early response.

Yours truly,

Brian Iler, Chair

Background

Sean Morley appointed December 19, 2008, is a lawyer at Bay Street law firm Fasken Martineau and a former Senior Policy Advisor to cabinet ministers in the Mike Harris government. He purports to represent “Port Related Activities” according to the 2014 Annual Report of Ports Toronto.

Mark Curry, appointed September 1, 2009, is a financial supporter of the Conservative Party. He purports to represent “Airport” according to the 2014 Annual Report of Ports Toronto.

Jeremy Adams, appointed January 14, 2009, is a former political aide in the Harris government and former campaign manager for Jim Flaherty, and director of government relations for a tobacco company purports to represent “Commercial Users” according to the 2014 Annual Report of Ports Toronto.

Robert Poirier, appointed to the Board on September 1,2009, has been a top Conservative Party fundraiser. He purports to represent “Recreational Business” according to the 2014 Annual Report of Ports Toronto.

CommunityAIR has raised the issue of Ports Toronto Directors’ appointments before.

This letter, to which no response was received, was sent to Geoff Wilson, CEO of Ports Toronto:

From: Brian Iler
Sent: Friday, September 05, 2014 11:01 AM
To: mailto:gwilson@torontoport.com
Subject: [CommunityAIR] Board Composition

Geoff, at your Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, you described the appointment of TPA board members as fully compliant with the legal requirements.

I responded “That’s a lie”.

Here’s why:
TPA directors, aside from the one representative from each of the federal, provincial and city governments, are required to be appointed following consultation with specified users of the port.

The user groups specified in the TPA’s Letters Patent are these:

CLASS 1
Port Related Activities/Operators
— Operators
— Shippers
— Carriers
— Brokers/Freight Forwarders

CLASS 2
Airport
— Airlines
— Fixed Bases Operators
— Training Schools
— Repairs
— Fuel providers

CLASS 3
Commercial Users
— Developers
— Crushers/Aggregates
— Hotel Operators
— Retail Business
— Other Non-marine, Non-air Shippers/Transporters
— Other Commercial Users

CLASS 4
Recreational Business
— Tour Boat Operators
— Marinas/Yacht Clubs
— Cultural Businesses
— Recreational Service Industries

As is obvious, there are no representatives of user groups on your board, aside from Robert Deluce’s friend Colin Watson, representative of Porter’s interests – he was certainly prepared to breach the TPA’s Code of Conduct to protect his friend’s interests.

The TPA Letters Patent set out a clear process whereby user groups are effectively engaged in the selection of candidates.

To the best of our knowledge, that process has not been implemented by the TPA for many years.  Hence my comment.

As you know, the most salient feature of the TPA’s Board of Directors is many of its members’ close affiliations with the Conservative Party of Canada.

These are:

  • Sean Morley, a lawyer at Bay Street law firm Fasken Martineau and a former Senior Policy Advisor to cabinet ministers in the Mike Harris government, appointed December 23, 2008 by Transport Minister Baird.
  • Craig Rix, whose appointment to the TPA was made by Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon in February 2008, was an aide to Finance minister Jim Flaherty when he was a member of the Mike Harris government in Ontario
  • Jeremy Adams, a former political aide in the Harris government, and director of government relations for a tobacco company appointed January, 2009 by Transport Minister John Baird
  • Mark McQueen, who worked as an executive assistant and advisor in Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s office, appointed September 25, 2007 by the Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon
  • Robert Poirier – appointed September 2009 by Minister Baird, has been a Conservative Party fundraiser since 2005.
  • Mark Curry – a financial supporter of the Conservative Party
  • Jim Ginou – a Conservative fundraiser who brought in cash for Rob Ford in 2010

The only individual not associated in some way with either Porter or the Conservative Party, is Rogers executive Jan Innes, a Liberal supporter, appointed by the Ontario government.

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