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Saturday, June 27, 2009

edmonton businessmen recorded strategizing about city centre airport.

Discussion about how to get Councillors "on [their] side" broadcast live over the Internet.

During the afternoon recess of Thursday's hearings on the future of the Edmonton City Centre Airport (ECCA), an interesting and revealing conversation occurred between a group of businessmen wanting to keep the ECCA open.

A longtime reader was listening to the public hearings online when a microphone, left on during the break, picked up what was believed to be a conversation between two prominent Edmonton businessmen whom had just spoke in favor of keeping the airport open. Likely without knowing that they were being broadcast over the Internet, the men began engaging in a strategy discussion (there may have also been a third person involved in the conversation).

During their broadcasted conversation, the businessmen hypothesized that there were five City Councillors who would vote to keep the ECCA open, and identified Councillors Karen Leibovici, Amarjeet Sohi, and Bryan Anderson as the most likely targets to "get on [their] side."

The conversation topic quickly turned to Councillor Leibovici, who was suggested to be coming around on account of her rumored mayoral ambitions in 2010. The businessmen didn't seem to know much about Councillor Sohi, but one of them either suggested or volunteered to "give [Anderson] a call."

While the content of this strategy session shouldn't come as a surprise to many Edmontonians, it does shine a spotlight on the backroom influence that some of our city's wealthy businessmen are trying to exert in the debate about the future of the Edmonton City Centre Airport.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well this is not surprising, but still disappointing. The gaul and audacity of these folks with their sense of entitlement... Pity you can't print their names, Daveberta. I'm sure we can all guess.

This is why for the sake of democracy in this province we need further campaign finance reform. Jeff Johnson and bill 203 were a great start.

It is time for the city centre airport to depart. If they were smart they would shift their lobbying efforts to a high-speed rail link to Calgary that had a branch to the EIA.

I hope everyone emails their councillors@edmonton.ca.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this Daveberta. I am going to email my City Councillors today.

Where can the public find a list of pro-Airport speakers at the hearings? We need to make sure our councillors don't bend to the will of wealthy on account of election donations!

Anonymous said...

I would rather fly into City Centre airport from Calgary on a Dash 8 or 737 then take a money loosing train.

Via Rail hasn't even serviced Calgary for decades. You would think they would serve a market of a million plus people, but no....

I also don't want anymore zillion dollar money pits. Lefties think that just because Europe has zillions of trains that Canada should as well.

I have been on European trains, they are smelly, filthy, full of vandalism and garbage and not secure. I did not particularly enjoy the ride.

The reason people hate flying to Edmonton is because they land in Leduc. Nothing like expensive Taxi service the rest of the way For the Win and no one getting off a plane in a different city wants to take transit service if they don't have to.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 12:19 you are wrong on every (hard to discern) point. I'd explain, but eff you, you just go repeating those things.

Party of One said...

Guess what, folks? In most major metropolitan areas, in North America, Europe and Asia, you're facing at LEAST a half hour trip from the airport to the city centre. And it IS expensive, if you're taking a taxi. Other cities (London, Amsterdam) have excellent public transit to the airport

Interesting article in The Walrus this month about rail travel in Canada. It identified the Edmonton-Calgary corridor and the Montreal-Windsor-Toronto corridors as the most likely (due to population density) candidates for high-speed rail service similar to the TGV in France and the Bullet Trains in Japan.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:25 is a typical lefty, who can't articulate anything sensible. So it just decides to tell me I am wrong, and then pretends to try and swear at me, because it have nothing real to contribute to the debate!

What am I wrong about, Landing in Leduc? Because that's what you do when you fly into Edmonton International, check a map..

Am I wrong about Via Rail not servicing Calgary? Check the Via website, they don't.

Am I wrong about European trains being filthy and dirty and unsecure? Well they are, I was there and saw for my self. Full of Garbage and Vandalism, Keep a close eye on your bags or luggage pick pockets abound, Really unimpressive.

I used to fly into the city centre of Edmonton back when that was allowed and it was very convenient to come in and get what you needed to done.

Flying into the center is the only way that makes it worth it not to drive your car to Edmonton.

Am I wrong about not wanting the government to waste billions on a money loosing train? Leftist think so, because they love big money loosing capital projects provided by the heavy hand of government.

Its not worth the cost of building a new high speed train conventional passenger rail between Calgary and Edmonton was removed decades ago because it was just not viable. There has been zero interest in having it return.

The track infrastructure for Conventional passenger rail already exists between Calgary and Edmonton, yet no service does anymore. If there was a viable money making service with heavy passenger volumes provided by someone then I would not be so skeptical.

I defiantly do not want the provincial government wasting my tax money and expropriating land from people who live in the corridor to build what will undoubtedly be a money pit that we will spend decades paying for and will never turn a profit.

Do I want to get on a public transit system in a foreign city or in another country? Hell no if I can avoid it.

Even in Europe I would rather pay for the Euro's for a cab or rent a car then use the local transportation system, especially if I just got off a 7 to 10 hour flight.

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Squee22 said...

there was a study done a few years back that proved that an edmonton to calgary train would be economically and commercially viable.

so that point about it being a "leftist money losing train", is in fact wrong.

also, why is it that people like you love to play the partisan game of accusing everything you don't like of being "leftist"

you don't hear me saying "rightist" when refering to conservative proposals. are you that bitter and angry at the left that you feel none of there ideas have any bennefit to society.... that you feel they can never be right.

lets face it. good ideas come from both the left and the right, and it is your attitude, and others like you, that has alberta stuck in this rut. the rejection of all proposals from the left without even reading the reports pertaining to them, while the acceptance of all proposals on the right, also without reading the reports.

blind faith might work in your churches but it has no place in a responsible government.

p.s. good luck getting around a European large municipality if you are scarred of taking public transit.... public transit is the main form of transportation in those countries, and given time it will be in canada too (due to a growing population and environmental costs.)

Revolution Comrades said...

What we have to do is get Chez Guevara, Vladimir Illyitch Lenin, and Mao Tse Tung on our side. We have to win back that land for the proletariat. Capitalist pig-dogs and their fancy flying machines...POWER TO THE PEOPLE

Anonymous said...

I am still undecided on the airport issue, but this post (and the faux outrage sparked by it) strikes me as ridiculous.
"Businessmen" are "exerting influence" and lobbying politicians? So what? Heaven forbid we have successful citizens and taxpayers participating in democracy! Haven't they heard that it's only for union leaders and poor people???

Danielle S. said...

Point taken, Dave. These are the people who are driving the pro-ECCA side and are largely responsible for driving the entire issue.

Congratulations to Bruce Saville for being a successful businessman and having a private jet, but don't expect any sympathy from us hard working taxpayers. Drive the extra 20 minutes to the International Airport. Don't expect us to shed a tear for you.

jk said...

"'Businessmen' are 'exerting influence' and lobbying politicians? So what? Heaven forbid we have successful citizens and taxpayers participating in democracy!"

I don't really think that using one's privilege to influence democratically elected officials behind closed doors qualifies as "participating in democracy."

Anonymous said...

Isn't having a downtown airport a point of pride for people? It sure is for me. I would like to believe that in 50 years I would rather have the airport there and need it, then get rid of it now and regret it..

Besides, is anyone curious how much the airport authority is spending to upgrade the international? why is that expenditure forgotten in all of this talk about how much the land is worth at the city centre?

Plus, let;s not forget the Edmonton international airport is the fastest growing airport in Canada....so the argument about the city centre taking away flights is no longer relevant.

Not my Airport said...

It's time for ordinary Edmontonians to take back the debate!

The Edmonton City Centre Airport is Not my Airport!!