Gar Mahood Thanks Marc Garneau

Garfield (Gar) Mahood is a former executive of the Canadian Environmental Law Association but he is better known as a champion for the rights of non-smokers.

A founding member of the Non-Smokers’ Rights Association in 1974, Mr. Mahood received the Canadian Cancer Society’s R.M. Taylor Medal and Award, their highest award, in 1997. In 2007, he received the Order of Canada for his life’s work in tobacco control.

Gar Mahood and his wife Helen Kenney recently wrote Minister of Transport Marc Garneau to thank him for his decision to let the Tripartite Agreement to stand as is. His text follows.

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport

Dear Minister:

Congratulations on your election victory and appointment to Cabinet. “The Harper Government” inflicted huge damage on Canada and such destruction would have continued had it been re-elected.

We also wish to thank you for your government keeping its promise to prevent the Billy Bishop airport expansion in order to protect the waterfront. We have been following this issue for years and have a file full of reasons why the Porter expansion plans should never have reached this stage. From memory:

1. Toronto should never have been classified as a federal port in the first place. Toronto did not meet the criteria for a federal port but, unfortunately, a bombastic Liberal M.P., Dennis Mills, persuaded his colleagues to make a non-evidence-based decision to abandon the criteria and give Toronto port status;

2.  With not enough traffic and revenue, the Port Authority was essentially bankrupt and needed the airport to survive financially. And so a chain of decisions followed that threatened the waterfront;

3.  A number of major cities, Chicago leading the list, removed airports from their waterfronts having decided that preservation of recreational areas was in the best interests of healthy cities, tourism and future generations;

4.  Respected authorities on the health of cities and waterfront revitalization, Paul Bedford, Jack Diamond, Anne Golden, and David Crombie among them, almost unanimously spoke out against the airport expansion. Among other problems, they recognized that the necessary runway expansion was massive and would inflict major permanent damage to the Toronto Harbour;

5.  At almost every turn, the tantamount-to-corrupt, patronage-laden Port Authority combined with Robert Deluce to intimidate the City and airport expansion critics with lawsuits and the muscle that only Big Money can buy;

6.  Finally, Deluce bought editorial silence from Toronto papers by Porter becoming one of the largest if not the largest purchaser of their ad space. These papers were not about to criticize airport expansion a) when the papers desperately need ad revenues and b) where, selfishly, newspaper executives only have to travel a short distance to board flights to Ottawa, Montreal or New York, the health of the waterfront for our kids be damned.

So thank you to you, Adam Vaughan and to other Toronto area Liberal MPs for the leadership that led to this decision.

Now, as promised in your campaign platform, please replace the patronage laden Port Authority board with a non-partisan board made up of people who have expertise on waterfront revitalization and healthy cities. That would be a legacy to which your government could be proud.

Sincerely,

Garfield Mahood, OC and Helen Kenney, RN

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