Countering Mr. Marcus Gee (Globe & Mail)

newspaper_article_insetTo: mgee@globeandmail.com December 5, 2013 Dear Mr Gee, I am a Globe and Mail subscriber since 2005 and have always been loyal to it, thanks to what I consider as being the high quality of its news and editorials, as compared to the more populist or "flimsy" Toronto newspapers. I am writing to you because, as a Toronto waterfront resident, I have read with interest (and with much disappointment) your recent article on the Toronto Island Airport "Anti-jet forces cling to flimsy arguments". Just by looking at its title, I already knew that I was going to read an editorial that would be completely biased and subjective. But I was thinking that this may not be journalism, just an editorial that was not supposed to bring any news on the subject, except exposing a personal opinion from a journalist who has already made up his mind about a subject, without having explored all the many aspects that could be related to such an important topic, the introduction of more commercial planes and new jets to Billy Bishop Airport. So I read the whole article, twice, to see if I could find in it something that could make me feel that I was still reading the most intellectually respected newspaper in Toronto. But I ended up very disappointed by the tone, the lack of objectivity and the quite superficial analysis that was made about such a sensitive subject. You appear to think throughout your editorial that the fight between Porter Airlines and the "Anti-jets Forces" were just limited to some minor arguments focusing mainly on the "noise limit", "the two 200m extension of the runway". So now that these arguments have lost a big chunk of its justifications, the opponents to the airport extension have been inventing some new arguments to sustain their fight, mainly by invoking potential traffic problems near the airport. Such superficial analysis, based on a quite limited knowledge and understanding of the real situation (or is it voluntary ignorance ?) is just astonishing coming from a Globe and Mail reporter. I would assume that, as a good reporter, you could have tried to at least make a more extensive research into the many different aspects of the problem, economical and social, that has been created by the airport expansion project, in order to report to the public the various implications that such project could have on the City, on the Torontonians' life and mostly on the life of the residents living on the waterfront, who have to suffer much more than just the nuisance of the jet engines, but most of all the much higher level of air pollution produced by the existing planes and the future jets. Have you ever been wandering to the downtown lakefront to enjoy a sunny day by the waterfront and listen to the music in the various open air theatres, from Harbourfront to the Music garden? Can you imagine yourself enjoying that music while airplanes or jest are scrambling next to you ? and instead of enjoying the scent of thousands of flowers, having to inhale the heavy smell of jet fuel? The Harbourftont and the Center Island are popular places where many Torontonians like to spend their week-ends and holidays with their families and friends, with endless possibilities for entertainment. Does that mean anything to you, even though you may possibly be living far from such places? And have you ever wandered towards Lower Bathurst street, where the airport starts its operations? looking at the long lines of taxis and cars that have nowhere to park, with their engines idling continuously, adding to the already polluted air coming from the airplanes' engines? watching the traffic jams that are already existing today along the Queens Quay and Lakeshore Boulevard, before the jets even arrive to town? Have you been digging into the ludicrous investment expenses that are related to the Billy Bishop airport since it restarted its operations 3 years ago ? the purchase of the first million-dollar ferry, relegated to the side after only one year, replaced by another larger million-dollar ferry, which usefulness will soon be reduced by the opening of the multi-million dollar pedestrian tunnel? And so on? Aren't these more interesting news than just a subjective analysis of some feuding argumentations between pro and opponents of the "whisper jets"? If you take a good look at all the human related aspects of the problem, and not just the business and economical aspects of it, you may find a much wider and more interesting ground to write your editorials about this subject. Because at the end of the day, it is not only the matter of "introducing whisper jets" to the airport to save Mr Robert de Luce from a potential bankruptcy in a hopeless business, it's also and most particularly about the many implications that such a project would cause: political, economical, financial, health-related concerns for residents, etc..., the many contradictions of this project against another not less important project that is the Waterfront Revitalization, or against the Metrolinx "Union Pearson Express" that would soon makes the trip to Pearson International Airport a traffic-jam free journey of 20 minutes, giving direct access to travelers to many transfer destinations nationally and internationally. I have no shame in trying to defend a just cause, that has been so far ignored or subjected to a total indifference from people in power who only defends business and money, but voluntarily discard residents' objections or feelings, although they are the main people that the City and local authorities should take care of first, as voters, taxpayers and Toronto residents. So I am not ashamed in sharing with you personally my recent exchange of e-mails with some City Hall councilors, as you may find in the following extracts some arguments that may have been ignored by everyone, but that have as much weight and importance as the arguments that are opposed by Porter Airlines in its fight. I totally understand that as a printed newspaper, the Globe and Mail is highly indebted to Porter and Mr de Luce for the tons of daily full-page advertisements that have been posted in the paper for the last 6 months or more. This puts the newspaper in a delicate situation that prevents it from doing its job properly and objectively. But I believe that such a burden should not prevent its journalists from remaining professional and objective, and from making due diligence in their analysis of any important news topic. I hope that you will take my present letter less as a critical argumentation and more as a honest contribution to your work. Yours truthfully, Hoan Nguyen Quang ================= From: mgee@globeandmail.com Dec 6 at 4:05 PM You lost me with the suggestion that the Globe has been bought by Porter, I’m afraid. We should be able to disagree without that kind of jab. ================= To: mgee@globeandmail.com Dec 6 at 5:41 PM I was sincere when I meant that I fully understand that the Globe has been put in a very delicate situation because of the huge amount of advertising money that Porter has spent during the last period of 6 months or so, and it prevents the newspaper from being able to report freely more articles about the reality behind the airport expansion and Porter's wish to introduce "whisper jets". Believe me, I am still a loyal reader of the Globe, and I am sure that Porter has done the same thing with all the other papers, in order to prevent them from talking too much about that, or letting their reporters digging too deeply into that matter that encompasses much more than the limited problems of noise or runway extension. It's a very smart tactics, that also costs a lot of money to Porter (who is not really in such a good financial condition, but how would you know the truth since they decided last year to stop reporting anything about their business ?), and as a former investment banker, I can assure you that it truly smells a dangerous financial path. Hoan Nguyen Quang   Globe & Mail article: Critics of Porter’s plan for jets at Toronto island airport are way off course MARCUS GEE The Globe and Mail Published Thursday, Dec. 05 2013, 5:00 AM EST BNN article: Porter filling fewer seats: Comparing Canada’s major airlines Clea Simos, BNN Chase Producer BNN 7:56 PM, E.T. | April 10, 2013 Toronto Board of Health: Health Impacts Associated with Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Expansion Board Recommendations - December 9, 2013  

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