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Is it time to open the skies in Canada and allow U.S carriers?


Air Canada Boeing 747-133 C-FTOC at Zurich Int...

Air Canada Boeing 747-133 C-FTOC at Zurich International Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it time to open the skies in Canada and allow U.S carriers?

Despite the issues pilots have with their employer, Air Canada, the issues today are showing the serious flaws in Canada’s transportation system. Air Canada, like the photo, is starting to look old and out-dated. There are alternatives for trips to Montreal, Ottawa and other locations; using Porter or WestJet, however other remote and specific locations are leaving Canadians hanging. People are upset and rightly so. There is a dependency in Canada, on Air Canada. However, there are a not a full list of choices. I am sure Buffalo Niagara is seeing an increase and maybe it’s time to get other carriers in Canada. Our Federal policies prevent an American, or other carrier, from flying within Canada. Air Canada is taking a big hit and Canadians are angry. The Conservatives, now with a majority, may take notice. We have underutilized airports in Hamilton, London and even Oshawa. Is it time to open the skies?What do you say?

Wildcat strike has now hit Montreal


Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ/CYY...

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ/CYYZ), Mississauga, Greater Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The wildcat strike, which started in Toronto’s Pearson Airport has now started to affect Montreal. Just heard the news and if you already have not started, please check with Air Canada before heading out. The issue started last night when baggage handlers were suspended for supposedly clapping when an MP was spotted. We are still waiting for confirmation. Air Canada has offered talks, however employees are in solidarity until their peers are reinstated and they are assured the no other repercussions.

Update: News just came in on NewsTalk 1010 – CFRB: Please check your flights out of Dorval, in Montreal. All Air Canada flights are cancelled. Now flights out of Ottawa are being affected by the wildcat strike.

Snap election all but certain: Harper


OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper portrayed a snap election as a virtual certainty Tuesday morning and hinted it will likely be triggered next week.

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Battle over Canadian big-brother copyright bill C61


OTTAWA — Critics of the Harper government’s proposed changes to the Copyright Act have launched a cyber crusade to fight the controversial bill.

They’re using everything from Facebook to YouTube to Wikipedia to blogs to get their message out. They want the government to either scrap or make serious amendments to Bill C-61 when Parliament resumes next month.

At the helm of the digital movement is Michael Geist, a professor at the University of Ottawa who specializes in Internet and e-commerce law. In addition to his own blog, Geist runs a Facebook group called Fair Copyright for Canada that boasts 90,000 members.

The group, which was created in December, has become so large that members have created local chapters by city and riding to better organize their efforts. Many of the local groups have also developed wikis – online encyclopedic web pages – to keep their members informed.

Geist said more Canadians are getting involved because they recognize how the proposed reforms could affect their daily lives.

“We’re talking about more than just copyright here. We’re talking about the digital environment,” he said. “This legislation represents a real threat to the vibrancy of that online environment.”

Industry Minister Jim Prentice introduced the bill in June, calling it a “made-in-Canada” solution to online piracy. But critics responded that the bill was a carbon copy of the American Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

If passed, Bill C-61 would make it illegal to circumvent “digital locks” on CDs and DVDs and impose a $500 fine on anyone caught downloading illegal copies of music or movies.

Geist also launched a video contest on YouTube inviting Canadians to give their thoughts on Bill C-61 in 61 seconds. A panel of five judges, including Ontario Privacy Commissioner Anne Cavoukian, will announce the winner on Sept. 15 – the day MPs return to the House of Commons.

An Industry Canada spokeswoman said Prentice is interested to see the number of Canadians involved in the online discussions, but it’s up to Parliament to study the issue further.

“The activity online proves that a broad range of stakeholders, with varying interests and vantage points, care deeply about this issue,” said Stefanie Power, in an email response.

The movement isn’t confined to the digital world. The online protests have spurred offline activism.

Kempton Lam, a business consultant from Calgary, used his blog and Facebook to organize a rally outside a breakfast hosted by Prentice last month. Lam said the online discussions have fuelled potential activists.

“There are so many Canadians that have issues will this bill,” he said. “And the online forum has helped us get informed, which leads to offline rallies.

“After we meet, members write about what we learned, post videos back on to the blogs and Facebook group.”

Members of the online movement are also trying to make their voices heard through letter-writing campaigns and one-on-one meetings with local MPs.

Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal held a town hall meeting last month to discuss the controversial legislation after his office was flooded with letters from concerned constituents.

It’s not the first time this digital community has bared its teeth. The Conservative government was slated to introduce the reforms in December but delayed the bill after heavy criticism flooded the blogosphere.

Geist said he is optimistic that the activism will make a difference.

“When you get tens of thousands of Canadians speaking out like this, there’s big political risk for any political party who chooses to ignore it,” he warned.

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Toronto Porter Airlines’ Big Apple Plans Soured By FAA


The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has taken a big bite out of Porter Airlines’ Big Apple ambitions.

The regulator ruled the Toronto-based upstart airline must trim its daily schedule of 14 flights between Hogtown and Newark, N.J. by four in order to reduce congestion and delays at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Porter, which operates out of the Toronto City Centre Airport, argued the reduced schedule violates the U.S.-Canada open skies pact, adding that the market should determine the amount of competition that exists.

But the FAA was unconvinced, saying Porter’s new, slimmed-down schedule would take effect in the summer. That means Porter must cancel 29 per cent of its weekday flights and reduce its Sunday schedule. The carrier said that given the 11pm curfew in effect at the Toronto Island Airport the rules will effectively limit its Toronto-Newark flying hours to between 7am and 5pm.

Porter president Robert Deluce had hoped to land at Newark at 5:30pm and leave again at 6:30pm, to capitalize on business travellers heading to and from New York. It has so far sold 25,000 seats on the Toronto-Newark route, competing with Air Canada and Houston-based carrier Continental.

The upstart airline, which began operations in October 2006 flying between Toronto and Ottawa, has expanded to other destinations including Montreal, Halifax and Quebec City.

read more | digg story

Mayoral smackdown: Miller wins, but compromises


Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion has backed down over her attempt to supplant the “One Cent Now” campaign led by Toronto Mayor David Miller to wring one cent of the federal GST from Ottawa to fund Canadian municipalities. Ms. McCallion emerged from a lengthy meeting today of the mayors of Ontario’s 15 biggest cities to announce that she is now willing to support the campaign, although she won some concessions from her fellow mayors.
The final resolution from the Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario calls for the federal government to share the “equivalent of one cent of GST with Canada’s cities and communities,” with the word “equivalent” underlined. It also recognizes that the national campaign should support local initiatives “including the Cities Now! Campaign in Mississauga.” In return, Ms. McCallion agreed to lend her support to the One Cent campaign, which Mr. Miller has championed for the past year. “It was a hot meeting, but a cold seat,” Ms. McCallion told reporters gathered at the chilly Oshawa hockey arena where the meeting was held. “But I want to assure you that the decision … was unanimous.”

read more | digg story

Canadian Remembrance Day Video 2007


A Timely Video for Remembrance Day in Canada. Please take some time today to remember those who died for our freedom in Canada.

Fallen Soldiers’ Families to Observe Remembrance Day in Afghanistan
Relatives of fallen soldiers visit Kandahar base
Canadian soldiers approaching Nov. 11 as participants instead of onlookers

What goes around comes around?


I am a fan of the Toronto Island Airport. I like the idea of flying out of the downtown Toronto area, using a convenient connection to places like Ottawa, Montreal and points beyond. I also like the Porter Airline concept, along with the use of Q400Canadian technology in the Q400 from Bombardier. I believe that as long as there is not a “quick and convenient” connection to Pearson International or a direct link to Hamilton International, then the airport must stay for the time being. I will not get into the idea of why no one has considered Buttonville Airport, with some type of direct link to downtown or finally completing the Pickering Airport first. That is a topic for another day! Porter Airlines said it has gone to court to try to break up the ties between Jazz Air and Air Canada. Porter airlines has been flying, for a year, out of Toronto Island airport. Now let’s get through the smoke-screen and look at this closely. Is something else going on? I’ve always liked the underdog story; however I think Porter has some larger issues now, not the making of their own. Or are they? Remember that Jazz was essentially “kicked out” of the Toronto Island. Now, SAS has cut 57 flights after grounding all Q400 aircraft. SAS operates on Danish and Swedish domestic routes, as well as European routes. Of course I do not think that there is anything wrong with the Q400. However, that is not a scientific assessment. One has to wonder, with all of the Q400 craft around the world, why has SAS experienced 3 landing gear problem issues in the last 3 months? This has to be investigated. However, Porter will now have arrows flying at them from all directions now. There will be groups and vested interest groups calling for the grounding of Porter. It really does not matter what we think about the Island airport. However I am curious, if the landing gear failed, on landing at Toronto Island airport, would they get out safely or get waterlogged? In addition, if this lawsuit fails, Porter’s days may be numbered in Toronto. However, with all of the backroom deals, bridge construction issues and obvious manipulation of whomever “got dibs” at the Toronto Island airport you really just have to say. “What goes around comes around, eh!”

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a. ‘The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario


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