Fuel Tax Undercurrent of Ontario Election
The budget that brought down Ontario’s provincial government, forcing the current election campaign, contained a significant increase in fuel taxes but the issue seems to have disappeared in the election rhetoric.
Nevertheless, the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association is polling party leaders and candidates on the issue but not getting much response.
COPA CEO Kevin Psutka told Canadian Aviator that while all the leaders were asked for their position on the fuel tax increase, which, in the Liberal budget would have hiked the the tax from 2.7 cents per litre to 6.7 cents per litre over four years, none had responded by early this week.
The NDP refused to support the budget and brought the government down to force the election and there’s been no direct mention of the fuel tax since.
The Liberal campaign is based on the budget, however, and a Liberal win would likely mean the tax hike would be implemented.
COPA and virtually every other aviation group have protested the increase, saying it will harm the industry and boost airline fares.
Perhaps most galling to the groups is that money raised by the tax increase would be directed at non-aviation-related infrastructure projects.
Greeting Card Supports Wounded Warriors
A B.C. artist has created an aviation-themed greeting card he hopes will help injured and mentally ill Canadian war veterans cope with the ravages of their experiences overseas.
Graham Force is selling cards with an image of last year’s air show demo CF-18 flying against a Canadian flag backdrop. Force said part of the proceeds from the sale of the Canadian Heroes greeting card will go to Wounded Warriors Canada, which funds mental health programs for ill and injured veterans and their families.
“Graham is hoping to raise thousands of dollars and bring increased awareness to our injured Canadian Forces men and women, who now battle a different type of war at home,” said a news release.
On the other side of the card is a poem written by Michelle Jane Sales that honours the contribution of all branches of the military.
A total of 158 Canadian servicemen and women have been killed in the line of duty in the last decade, and more than 1,800 have been hurt. There have also been at least ten suicides in the past six months.
PED Use Restrictions Lifted
Passengers on airliners operating in Canada will soon be able to use non-transmitting personal electronic devices (PEDs) throughout their flights.
Transport Canada lifted the requirement for phones and tablets to be turned off during takeoff and landing phases. However, the ban on making calls or connecting to the internet from pushback to rollout remains.
Canada’s airlines welcomed the change. The National Airlines Council of Canada said its members would implement the changes as quickly as possible.. “With the prevalence of PEDs in today’s society, people increasingly expect to be able to access their devices at all times. NACC airlines are working to implement these changes quickly and safely, and we are appreciative of Transport Canada’s efforts and support to expedite this process,” said Marc-André O’Rourke, executive director of the NACC.
The U.S. and Europe have already relaxed the rules on use of PEDs, and the Canadian regs are in line with those countries.
Fort McMurray Gets New Terminal
One of the fastest-growing cities in the country will soon have an airport terminal that can handle the huge volume of traffic its oil wealth has created.
Fort McMurray’s former terminal was designed for 250,000 passengers a year, and last year 1.2 million passed through, many of them to and from work in the oil sands.
The new facility is designed for 1.5 million passengers a year and will offer retail and food facilities in the concourse. The facility cost $258 million and was a ground-up project rather than an expansion or renovation of an existing facility.
Expansion plans are already under way for the new terminal. More storage is required, and a new car rental facility is being built, along with a bigger parking lot.
The airport was to have opened on June 9.
RC Club Wins Airport Reprieve
A B.C. judge has reversed an earlier ruling that would have banned the use of radio controlled aircraft on farmland.
That means the Ogopogo Radio Controllers Association can continue to use a piece of farmland in Lake Country, north of Kelowna, for club activities.
Court of Appeal Justice Kathryn Neilson said a lower court ruling that the model aircraft were not an agricultural use was too narrow an interpretation of the B.C. Agricultural Land Reserve Act. She ruled that because the aircraft don’t affect the ability of the land to be farmed, they are not an incompatible use.
The club is, of course, happy with the decision and will continue to fly from the farm but the neighbours vow to find a way to banish the club, mainly because of the incessant noise from the engines.
Lake Country Council is also upset by the ruling. A meeting is planned for June 3 to discuss the issue further.