Thursday, August 5, 2010

the Calgary card: Edmonton's airports

This week Wildrose leader Danielle Smith addressed the issue of closing the Edmonton City Centre Airport. Unlike the arena issue, I am not personally decided on the question, although I note that if there were a compelling "economic logic" for closure, there ought to be something of an international trend towards airport consolidation (like is the case for consumption taxes, defined contribution pension plans, free trade etc) and on that point not only is London England not closing its City Centre airport (when the megacity already has 4 others: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stanstead, and Luton), it aims to carry 8 million passengers annually by 2030.

Whatever the "right" answer is on closure, I think Danielle's move to raise consciousness about the petition drive to put a closure decision on the October municipal ballot serves the public interest, just as I think city councilor Tony Caterina (who is facing a what I expect will be a tough re-election fight in Ward 7) has been serving the public interest with his comments on the petition, whatever my reservations about #toncat. Even if one disagrees with Danielle and her support for, there is no denying that she has taken an interest in Edmonton affairs, and the downside risk for generating some headlines here is low given that Wildrose polling in the capital city suggests moves with "fat tail" probability outcomes should be taken.

Paula Simons of the Journal wasted no time in declaring that the anti-closure crowd is advancing a "perverse" argument in order to "save Calgarians a 20-minute commute up the highway", an opinion so predictable that even David Climenhaga spoke of the "usual suspects" and, with reference to Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel, "playing the dreaded Calgary card." I'd also note in regard to Ms Simons' and Mr Mandel's calls for Ms Smith to butt out of an Edmonton issue that last summer left leaning city councilor Don Iveson's said, with respect to the impact of closure on Medevac, that "[t]he issues here are financial, logistical and jurisdictional — and all are Provincial."

An inclination to resist - or at least take a skeptical view of - the spell of tribalism seems to cut across the political spectrum.

1 comment:

ace said...

"An inclination to resist - or at least take a skeptical view of - the spell of tribalism seems to cut across the political spectrum."

Apparently, there's tribalism and then there's tribalism. It's hard to believe that Danielle Smith would welcome a Canada-wide debate on the tarsands.