Building on a strong record of local, national, and international advocacy and service, community leader and Porter Airlines Captain Ryan Sullivan announced today that he will be a candidate for the federal Liberal nomination in Toronto Centre ahead of the 2015 general election.
“Justin Trudeau’s leadership is inspiring a new generation of Canadians to serve our community and our country,” Sullivan said. “As our Liberal candidate in 2015 and as our Member of Parliament, I will bring the same dedication and responsibility to the hopes, challenges and aspirations of our community that I have brought to my profession as an airline captain and my involvement as an advocate.
“Together, we’ll ensure Toronto Centre stays solidly Liberal – with a candidate who understands the priorities and unparalleled diversity of our community, and a team that shares Justin Trudeau’s commitment to hope, hard work, and expanding opportunity for Canada’s middle class.”
“Justin Trudeau’s exciting commitment to open nominations across the country has inspired many new candidates like myself to step forward and serve their community and country” said Ryan.
Ryan was born and raised in Toronto, before receiving his diploma in Aviation Flight Management at Confederation College. He is currently a Captain at Toronto-based Porter Airlines, leading his crew safely on regular flights across the northeastern continent.
Passionate about community service and social justice, Ryan has proudly served on the Board of Directors of an association promoting LGBTQ rights and helped raise thousands of dollars in support of community social programming as a corporate ambassador for the United Way.
He has also been a strong advocate of green technologies in the fight against climate change, and served as a Canadian delegate at three international United Nations Climate Change Conferences; Copenhagen 2009, Cancun 2010 & Doha 2012. He also helped conduct the first commercial biofuel flight in North America with Porter Airlines.
“Anyone who lives here in Toronto Centre understands the importance for this riding’s unique voice and priorities to be clearly heard in Ottawa,” said Sullivan. “Whether it’s on Harper’s abysmal record on youth unemployment, on the advancement of LGBTQ rights both at home and abroad, the need for a national mental health strategy, or support for our struggling middle class, Toronto Centre can count on me as an advocate who lives in this community, who understands this community, and who will fight for this community.”
Any Liberal member in good standing and residing in Toronto Centre will be eligible to participate and vote in the party’s upcoming nomination contest. Toronto Centre residents can get involved by visiting ryansullivan.ca or by joining the Liberal Party of Canada today at liberal.ca.
What does this word mean to you?
When someone mentions the word politics are you filled with feelings of optimism or a feelings of despair and anxiety? Do you have a feeling of cluelessness or one of passionate conviction? Does politics seem divisive or uniting? Is it something to criticize or something to celebrate?
Politics means many different things to many people across our diverse and vast country. Are you a Liberal, a Conservative, an NDP, Green, or issue-focused voter?
Where I Stand
I believe that politics is the art form of bringing forth a set of rules or goals for which society should live by. I have been attracted to and worked in the left of center politics for a number of years now and have found that my beliefs and goals are best suited here. I believe the Liberal party best represents the ideals of blending a healthy fiscally responsible economy with a moderate level of social services.
The policies of the Liberal Party are not just the leader or the MP’s as they come and go. It is about the people its policy affects. Consider the policy to help the single mother who needs support in the form of publicly funded daycare so she can work to provide for her family. Or consider the senior who is living on a barely above poverty line income who needs to pay for vital diabetes medication. Liberal policies are about the people who require public transit to get to work as driving a car is simply not an affordable option. It is about fellow young Canadians who are graduating with debt into a tough labor market. How can we blend an effective tax system of both personal and business that can encourage investment in our future on a personal and professional level? These are questions I grapple with, but am determined to work towards the answers.
The first time I ever was involved with politics was when Mike Harris, past premiere of Ontario placed large cuts to education and I attended a rally with my stepmother in protest. My stepmother is a teacher and was passionately opposed as were thousands of other teachers, parents and students. She wore a shriveled up piece of foam colored in black, which resembled a prune that has been left to rot in the sun. I noticed all of the protesters were wearing the same thing so I asked what it was. My stepmother said, “ It is mike Harris’s heart” practically dead and rotting away.
Years passed and I still remember how personally this fiscal decision was to the people who it affected. I found this passion that can be exhumed from Canadians incredibly admirable. These protests taught me that a step in the wrong direction by Government can unite the strongest conviction from the Canadian public.
On Getting Involved
Camp Wanna be Free had it’s 25th anniversary retreat in Kelowna in this past weekend. Camp Wanna be Free is a retreat for Young Liberals from the western provinces. It rotates from British Columbia to Alberta to Saskatchewan every summer and holds a powerful history. Previous attendees such as Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin are just a few of the Candian political legends who have attended the event. It was my pleasure to be invited by Braeden Caley and Justin Kaiser to attend and speak at the event on behalf of the Queer Liberals, as I am a sitting board member. I spoke about our push on reversing the gay blood ban, amending our refugee policy for LGBT members and a LGBT youth shelter. I was one of many speakers including some who spoke about effective campaigning, YLC’s future plans and a much more.
The camp was on the Okanagan Lake with fresh air, wineries and wilderness all at our doorstep. It was terrific because I had the chance to meet many new young liberals from the west coast and here their point of view on where we think this country should go. We discussed the direction we should push the Liberal party, including policy for safe injections sites to conquer addiction. I found this discussion eye opening and liberating.
The weekend was inspiring. Like a pilot feels that hint of excitement on the back of his neck as takeoff power is set and the wheels start to move, our Liberal party is starting to role down the runway towards 2015. Justin Trudeau is moving our party forward after two rough past elections. Failure is good, it shakes you up, wakes you up and lets you rebuild for the better, for the long-term. People are ready for a change, a change of policy and politics. From cynical to optimistic and from exclusive to inclusive.
The reason I am excited about politics and our country’s future, is because I really do believe our best if yet to come both as a country and a political party. Canadians are not always concerned with which party gets the job done; they simply want effective results from the leader who can step up to the plate. I believe that Canadians want cost effective strategies that move us forward together. The Liberal party is the only party with a strong youth wing: the young liberals of Canada. Recently the Young Liberals adopted a policy to legalize marijuana for which the Liberal party of Canada did not agree. After a few years and constant rallying by passionate young people (such as the young liberals I met at Camp Wanna be Free) the Liberal Party of Canada adopted this as their official policy in 2012. If the liberals are elected in 2015 one bill that will come forward is the legalization and taxation of marijuana in Canada. Thousands of farmers could gain income by growing it, provincial and federal governments could use the extra income to spend on healthcare, education and other great programs and the gang related trafficking would cease. The savings on police forces no longer facing marijuana investigations all translate into a more effective system. It is humbling and exciting to think that a few young liberals a few years ago could potentially change our country’s policies forever.
This is what politics means to me. These steps forward could come in the form of any policy, not just legalizing marijuana. And these steps can come from allowing any Canadians be they young or old, gay or straight to change our country.
This brings me back to what politics means to you.
If you want to attend Camp Wanna be Free to discuss your passions with fellow Young Liberals, or have the opportunity to meet Justin Trudeau, Ministers, or mayors, all you have to do is get involved.
The best part of getting involved is you will make some truly life long friends from coast to coast to coast. You will feel what it is like to meet others who are passionate about our country and are willing to work long hours to serve it. By getting involved you can experience staying up to 3 am working on a draft policy, or knocking on doors for 8 straight hours because you support the local candidate. You will meet Canadians who thank you for your time and commitment. Wait until you meet a gay married couple who thank you for your commitment on LGBT rights. Wait until you meet an elderly lady who thanks you for your work for a political party that aims to have affordable medication for all, or wait until you meet a parent who appreciates your push for daycare. These moments are powerful reminders of the benefits of public service.
In the end politics is about the people. If you are reading this and have wondered about political involvement, I encourage you to attend your neighborhood association meeting, or get together with some friends and discuss your passions and wishes for the country.
Because with hope and hard work we really can change the world.
The question on everyone’s mind right now is: will Stephen Harper step down as Prime Minister of Canada this summer or early fall?
This may sound like an unbelievable story or perhaps even just a wish, but it may be possible. Stephen Harper has been Prime Minister since 2006 and has changed the political landscape in Canada. Stephen Harper has stood for and against many things while serving as Prime Minister. Some Canadians view him as a great Prime Minister. However, those numbers are starting to fall. The support and likeable factor of our Prime Minster is below Justin Trudeau’s and a recent poll by the National Post placed the Liberals in a Majority government if an election were held tomorrow. This is a problem for Stephen Harper.
We could bring up the anti gay marriage speech, the gutting of Environment Canada, or the silencing of scientists who’s data and research didn’t mesh with the conservative ideology. We could dabble in the amount of debt our country is in which is the largest ever. We could also certainly point out the “do one thing but say another” track-record of Mr. Harper in regards to senate appointee’s and raising taxes.
This is not meant to be a rant on our Prime Minster, you either love him or hate him for whatever reasons you wish. I am simply raising the point that perhaps it’s time for him to go. Remember the criminal code amendments, yikes, that will take a decade to clean up. In general it’s a problem that not all of the Stephen Harper ideology aligns with science and facts and when he is called out on it, this position only solidifies. This is a conflict for Canadians as over time the people of this country have come to see that while they supported a change and a new way to governing they didn’t think such a narrow minded approach would follow.
There are two driving forces behind Stephen Harper.
1. He would like to take Canada and Canadians to a right of centre political ideology.
2. Destroy the liberal party.
I can not stress to you enough how passionate he is about those two points. I’m sure my order may even be incorrect but nonetheless these are two strong objectives for him. Mr. Harper is a very passionate politician, who at all costs, will not bend by any means for what he believes in. It is respectable to have such convictions from a politician but to not have the ability to look at the facts and say “you know what, this needs to be adjusted or changed” is a fault in itself. The Liberal Party is the essence of everything Mr. Harper loathes. The compulsive hatred of the Liberals by Mr. Harper dates back many years, but even with the party currently in third place he just can’t stand them. I am sure if there is one thing he wants it is to see the Liberals become irrelevant. If he accomplished this task, I think he would have gladly retired with a smile on his face.
The problem is the Liberal Party has their new leader, Justin Trudeau. Mr. Harper knows his support is slowing across the country and that even before the Liberals had their new leader elected, their past leaderless party still would have won in an election, according to polling. This is a bold fact and one that most likely keeps Mr. Harper up at night. To know that for years you have fought to move the country to the right and destroy the Liberal Party, only to see the liberals most likely to win the next election must be a tough pill to swallow.
So, which option will Stephen Harper choose: ego, or fight until the end?
There is nothing wrong with stepping down while at a high in your political career as Prime Minister. Jean Chretien waited until there was a political coup within the Liberal Party when he was pushed out rather than leaving on his own terms. Perhaps in the next few months it could be that same time again for Stephen Harper. The Conservative backbenchers are frustrated that they cannot speak their minds and raise issues they care about because they are being muzzled by the PMO. The old reform and Progressive Conservatives which merged to form the Conservative party of Canada are starting to show cracks and divide. Like an iceberg breaking away from the main sheet, it starts with rumblings and shifts, but these turn into small cracks and in one mighty roar it splits off to float in the sea alone. The Conservative Party’s cracks are just starting to show but once the process has started, its hard to reverse. One side of me see’s the Harper who is caring about his mark left on the country and his image. This would allow me to believe that he would see the storm brewing from within his own party and across the floor with the Liberals. However, there is also the tried tested and true side of Mr. Harper, the ideological side for which neither fact nor common sense would affect his decision-making process.
We can remember when Dalton McGuinty stepped down as premier of Ontario which led the path to party rejuvenation and new leadership. This is the only way a political party has a chance at staying in power as the opposition gains support and starts to eclipse the party in power. Mr. McGuinty clearly placed his own ego aside and stepped down for his party and province leaving on a high note.
I would like to believe for Harper’s backbenchers that he is a smart enough man to step down before his party cracks begin to widen and one of the opposition parties defeats them in the next election. The longer Mr. Harper stays, the larger the cracks become, the stronger the opposition and the less chance at a successful reelection.
I guess in the end, no one knows but Mr. Harper. The real question is: will he leave office and allow the Conservative Party to renew itself for a fair chance at re-election or will he fight until then end?
I suspect an internal and quiet revolt will leave Harper little choice and he will resign this year. One thing is for sure, the next election will not favour Mr. Harper.
My final day the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha Qatar. Mr. Peter Kent spoke on behalf of Canada and delivered a disappointing commitment both domestically and internationally. I also spoke about how Canada has compared to other members of the OECD which is quite frankly disappointing.
Solutions are out there and options are available if we choose to act on them. I hope my fellow Canadians continue to place pressure on our elected officials to encoorprtate a more progressive environmental policy for Canada.
From Doha Qatar
When we think of air travel we often think of large jets flying across wide oceans and multiple time zones, perhaps even of an upgrade to first class with a glass of champagne.
Normally the words “air travel” and “environment” aren’t used in the same sentence except to criticize aviation’s impact on the environment. You might be surprised to know that air travel accounts for around 2% of the world’s GHG emissions. This is surprisingly low considering that aviation carries roughly 35% of the world’s trade by value, about 5.3 trillion dollars. The aviation industry also supplies 56.6 million jobs worldwide with an economic impact of over 2 trillion dollars (including direct, indirect, induced and tourism catalytic impacts). The aviation industry is a big player in the world’s economy and transport industry.
The aviation industry is not just a crucial part of the global economy, but is also an important environmental leader. The industry is one of the most rapidly improving industries in regards to its environmental targets. The international aviation industry governing body is the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) and they have set the following targets:
- Global aspirational goal of 2% annual fuel efficiency improvement by 2050
- A medium-term global aspirational goal from 2020 that would ensure that while the international aviation sector continues to grow, its global CO2 emissions would be stabilized at 2020 levels
- Development of a global CO2 standard for aircraft aiming for 2013
- By 2050 have global aviation industry emissions at half of 2005 levels
- Find ways to optimize air traffic control
- Find ways to increase the use of biofuel as a partial percentage or whole substitute for traditional fossil fuels
- Many major airlines offer carbon offset credits you can purchase; this plan would also like to be expanded
The aviation industry is a without a doubt a producer of CO2 emissions, but its emission levels and improvement targets compared to other modes of transportation are impressive.
 IPCC (1999)
In the future perhaps we will perhaps be flying on an airliner fueled completely from renewable biofuel, or maybe even having some portion of air-travel powered by solar power. As technology improves so does fuel efficiency. Technology allows for aerodynamic design improvements, increased engine efficiency, and new lighter building materials like carbon fiber. These actions combined with improved routing and more efficient ATC the fuel savings really add up.
With continued hard work from many different professionals within the aviation industry a longterm sustainable version of air travel is more than possible!
This letter is written by some fellow Canadian Airline Pilots and not myself, but I found it important enough to share. Given the extremely serious nature of the employment issues facing Canadian pilots and given the increasing flooding of the Canadian market with foreign pilots – we believe it is imperative that Canadian pilots across the country communicate their concerns to Ottawa and implore to act and to act soon. We need to protect our jobs and now! And we need to encourage the Government of Canada to do the same, given the fact that in the upcoming travel season, more than 400 foreign pilots may be brought into Canada, piloting approximately 30 aircraft, to the detriment of Canadian tax-paying pilots.
We strongly encourage you to date/sign this letter, which can be mailed free of charge to the Prime Minister,
Right Honourable Stephen Harper, PC, MP
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1N 0A6
Fax: (613) 941-6900
“Dear Prime Minister,
As a proudly Canadian airline pilot, I write to you today in regards to a series of troubling issues, which are negatively impacting the Canadian airline sector and causing very serious economic and financial hardship for hundreds of my professional colleagues in Canada. I should highlight at the outset the very important, social and economic valuable footprint of airline pilots in Canada. With just over 11,000 licensed commercial airline pilots in Canada, our profession contributes an incredible amount to a healthy national Canadian economy. We are active participants in a range of key sectors including transportation and tourism and facilitate the movement of millions of passengers and billions of dollars worth of goods each and every month.
Over the past several months, a number of Canadian pilots, their representatives and certain airline management all united into “The Coalition for no foreign pilots working in Canada” have been talking to the federal government and its responsible Ministers about certain dubious commercial practices being employed by one particular Canadian air carrier.
While we appreciate the work being done by these Ministers and their departments, I write to you today, Prime Minister, because the situation has gotten to a point where it is so serious in nature that it requires a much faster resolution and your active intervention.
In short, this carrier mentioned above has been using Canadian federal policy and law – particularly through the Temporary Foreign Workers framework – to flood the Canadian labour market with foreign pilots, leaving myself and thousands of other Canadian commercial tax-paying pilots at risk.
Already, more than 60 Canadian pilots have already been laid off in advance of the upcoming busy winter tourism season. Make no mistake – these lay-offs are directly related to the inordinate number of foreign pilots who are being brought into Canada by a certain “Canadian” air carrier.
This issue touches on a number of key areas of policy, which the federal government administers:
- Temporary Foreign Workers Program
(Under the authority of Human Resources & Skills Development Canada)
A Labour Market Opinion (LMO) is generated by a commercial applicant to ensure there is a true labour shortage in Canada and there is no negative impact on the Canadian labour market before that organization is allowed to bring in temporary foreign labour. The LMO also clearly spells out strict criteria by which a Canadian company must have attempted to solicit Canadian workers first, prior to seeking foreign workers. It also requires that employers train Canadians for the position before attempting to hire foreign labour. Those requirements are being ignored in the LMO application process.
For Canadian pilots, the LMO process has become challenging as the true picture of the Canadian pilot labour market is often distorted in these applications. Further, application criteria are often set so narrowly on purpose to make it impossible for any Canadian applicants to apply. In short, these criteria are being expressly designed to fail. In fact, there are many similarities between this situation and the unfortunate set of circumstances that recently came to public attention and including the importation of Chinese workers in a B.C. mining company.
- Reciprocity Agreements
(Under the authority of Citizenship & Immigration Canada)
The agreement allows for the importation of foreign workers if there are equivalent “opportunities” for Canadians to gain work internationally.
For pilots, this program has become challenging as there has been a marked decrease in real international opportunities available to Canadians overseas while at the same time, the overall number of foreign pilots operating in Canada under this agreement has been increasing in a dramatic fashion that bear no proportion to the number of pilots finding real job overseas.
At the same time, the European Union is taking steps to further restrict opportunities for Canadian pilots in their jurisdiction, further complicating the serious imbalance and unfairness in this program.
- “Wet-Leasing” / “Sham dry-lease”
(Under the authority of Transport Canada)
Under the wet-lease practice, a Canadian air carrier can strike a lease with another international air carrier by which the lessor provides, either directly or indirectly, both the aircraft and flight crews to operate the aircraft in Canada.
A “sham dry-lease” is a typical situation where a foreign air carrier is providing the aircraft under a “dry lease” and is also providing the flight crews under a separate agreement, or the foreign crews are being provided by a third source that could be related to the lessor. Indeed, this practice has been highlighted by US federal aviation authorities as being a circumvention strategy of applicable wet-leasing law and policy.
This practice is being seriously misused in a very troubling way, with a certain “Canadian” air carrier opting to out-right “wet-lease” or “sham dry-lease” a large portion of its fleet and crews from foreign air carriers year after year after year as part of a long-term corporate strategy – as opposed to using this policy framework for short-term purposes and under exceptional circumstances only.
One of the many troubling aspects of the abuse of this program is that – with more than 400 foreign pilots expected to be brought into Canada to work this coming season, leaving many Canadian pilots out of work – this kind of activity results in a clear imbalance in terms of economic benefits accruing to foreign interests at the expense of Canadians. It further results in significant income tax revenues forfeited given foreign pilots who do not pay taxes into the Canadian system and therefore are in no way contributing to our national economy or to the various services and support networks which Canadian domestic, tax-paying pilots do.
It must be noted, Prime Minister, that given this abuse of loopholes in Canadian policy, a certain “Canadian” air carrier, during the winter tourism season, will see more than 60% of its entire pilot crews composed of foreign workers. This extremely troubling fact will see Canadian pilots either out of work entirely and/or without the ability to increase their skill/training by flying on larger aircraft (i.e., they will be unable to progress professionally, in their own country!).
Prime Minister, the combined consequences of the misuse of these federal programs and practices has the potential to seriously impact the Canadian air sector – one which is already significantly put at risk by growing challenges posed by international competitiveness and cost implications. Canadian pilots like me need your help to ensure that our livelihoods – after years spent building our very specialized and value-added skills and training in Canada – are not thrown into doubt, by a “Canadian” company preferring to employ foreign workers over hard-working, tax-paying Canadians.
Furthermore, it needs to be emphasized that the misuse of Canadian policy by a certain “Canadian” air carrier is also resulting in serious lack of training afforded to Canadian pilots – the same training that all other major Canadian air carriers are providing for their employees. In fact, a certain “Canadian” air carrier is choosing to forego offering these training programs to Canadian pilots, and is instead opting for the easier, cheaper approach of flooding the market with foreign workers. This is presenting a very unfair and damaging environment for Canadian airline pilots from coast to coast.
In terms of suggested solutions, we would propose the following:
1. Encourage immediate discussions between your Cabinet colleagues, Ministers Finley, Kenney and Lebel to engage in a collective discussion about how to address this critical issue and protect Canadian jobs through a harmonized policy approach. Given the individual components of this complicated situation – each falling under the purview of holders a different Minister/department – yet given their strong interrelation, this discussion is critical to assisting with a speedy resolution.
2. Exercise the federal government’s authority to ensure all Canadian air operator certificate satisfy the requirements for being “Canadian.” As well, adopt and enforce regulations regarding LMOs that will favour the training and employment of Canadian pilots above all and, not allow the insertion in an LMO application of employment criteria that are designed to fail and prevent the application of Canadian pilots to a job opportunity.
3. Adopt a reciprocal approach with foreign governments regarding foreign pilots seeking seasonal employment in Canada given that some standards (for example, those of the EU) have largely removed opportunities for Canadian pilots in that jurisdiction. We need to ensure real access to real jobs for Canadians on a clear “1 for 1” basis, in the same calendar year. We need to ensure that this “backdoor” allowing for dubious commercial practices by a certain “Canadian” air carrier be closed.
4. Direct Transport Canada to follow through on a full review of the existing “wet-lease” policy to ensure Canadian fleets, including pilots and crew, are at all times very substantially Canadian.
Prime Minister, Canadian pilots are taking this same message to our elected representatives across the country, imploring them to stand up for Canadian jobs and level this increasingly unfair playing field – one which is gained through questionable business practices by a certain “Canadian” air carrier.
Thank you for your attention to this very serious matter – please help!
Canadian Airline Pilot
I am writing to you on behalf of the delegation International Working Group (IWG) of the YLC who will be attending the up-coming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-18). We need your help to build a strong Liberal voice on the environment by having Young Liberals in Doha, Qatar this December when the United Nations negotiates the future of climate change
The YLC works with global institutions like the United Nations as a member organization of the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY). At the 2010 UN Conference on Climate Change, our delegates helped push through an article that commits global financing to climate change education, showing leadership while the Harper Government hid away from international criticism.
We are asking you to help us build on these successes and develop future generations of leaders by sponsoring our next delegation to this conference. A $100 donation will go a long way in guaranteeing our generation a voice over the environment that we inherit. $1500 will pay for one delegate’s flights. Our total sponsorship target is $10 000, which we will match through smaller fundraisers and educational events in our communities.
You can donate securely and easily online through PayPal at http://goo.gl/2lgRo. Cheques made to the Ottawa Centre FLA can also be mailed to 1517-170 Lees Ave, Ottawa, ON, K1S5G5 (please specify YLC COP18 Fundraiser in the memo line).
Thank you in advance for investing in our delegation. Your donation will provide us an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from the world’s leading environmental experts and lobby world leaders. We will maintain a blog so you can follow along at: http://ylcjlcclimate.wordpress.com.
With your support and generosity, the Young Liberals of Canada will represent our voice on the world stage taking decisive action on the environment and climate change.
Chair – YLC International Working Group
President of the Young Liberals of Canada “