04.23.2013 08:19 AM

Jets at the Island Airport: the pungent aroma of polling bullshit

Yesterday, the National Post published a story headlined “Two-thirds of Torontonians support Bombardier jets at Island Airport.” But when I went looking for the story this morning, to link to it for you, it was gone. Vanished.

Funny, that.

Before it disappeared into the Internet ether, the Post story uncritically regurgitated a Porter Airlines press release. The release stated: “Two-thirds of Torontonians support Porter Airlines’ plans to fly Bombardier CS100 aircraft from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. This result is based on an unprecedented public opinion survey of 19,500 people, which is the largest-ever sample size for a publicly-released poll in Toronto.”

Unprecedented, eh? Wow. When I saw the “poll,” my immediate response was: “Well, now, that’s a goddamned lie.” In the past, you see, I have commissioned real polls about noise, planes and expansion at the Toronto Island Airport. I know for a fact that achieving two-thirds support for jets at the Island is full-on, full-stop impossible. A lie, in other words.

So I looked to see who Porter – which is a fine airline, by the way, run by smart people – had commissioned to do the “poll.” Here’s what I found:

“iFusion Research completed the largest poll ever publically released in the city of Toronto from April 17-19, 2013. The sample size of 19,500 respondents has a margin of error of 0.7 per cent, 19 out of 20 times.”

iFusion Research: my goodness, who’s that?

Well, funny you should ask. When you Google that company’s name, nothing really comes up. Some online complaints about getting pro-Conservative robocalls from numbers linked to them, but that’s about it.

But when you call the number that flashes up on your phone when iFusion calls you, you get a number. In respect of another issue that the knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, rednecked “Ford Nation” favours, a Toronto casino, Torontoist called the iFusion number. Their story is here. They discovered that the number was associated with “Amber-Joy Kouvalis,” who happens to be wife of – wait for it! – Nick Kouvalis. Campaign manager to Rob Ford, and now a senior campaign advisor to B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark.

Now, if Kouvalis is involved, should anyone really trust the “research?” Good question. Coincidentally, the Market Research and Intelligence Association recently investigated Kouvalis. Their findings, and a big CBC story about Kouvalis’ way of doing business, are here. A column I wrote about Kouvalis’ “blatant contravention” of ethics rules is here.

So, at the end of this little mystery, why did the Post disappear the story? And why does iFusion Rssearch make itself so hard to find?

Because, when people hear who is hiding behind the curtains, they tend to form a view about “polls” like the one about jets at the Island Airport.

And that they’re, you know, bullshit.


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    Pcase22 says:

    Good job outing this cowardly slimeball. Slick Nick, a scumbag of the highest order.

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    James Hanna says:

    Just an FYI, I think you linked the wrong poll, that one is about the Port Authority but no questions about the airport.

    I am curious, because a) I actually like Porter, its the best way home to Thunder Bay from Montreal; b) I like being able to land downtown when I go to Toronto, and c) I’m a recreational pilot, and I like being able to land in downtown Toronto. However, I don’t live in downtown Toronto, and if I did I”m a plane nut so I probably would still like the airport there. But its certainly not right to use bogus polls or dodgy pollsters.

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      Warren says:

      Read the post

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        Bev D says:

        You can probably expect Porter to drop the flights to Thunder Bay if they get jets.
        They want to go where the profits are, and northern Ontario ain’t it.

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        Jim Hanna says:

        Sorry, not trying to be difficult at all, when you said you commissioned real polls about airplanes, noise, etc at the Airport, I read the poll in the link and it covers the port authority but I didn’t see a question or responses about noise; not that I doubt you I just thought it was linked wrong. I can’t see anyone supporting more planes and noise; …anyway if I missed something I blame tax season. 7 more days and I’ll get some sleep.

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    Nicole says:

    I participated in a phone survey, which I guess was this one. I am not against Porter using the quiet jets, if they are as quiet as alleged. I live near enough to occasionally hear the prop planes right now and I don’t find the noise any more distracting than the sirens or streetcars. I also use Porter as much as I can because it is a far better experience than going through Pearson. What I did enjoy the most about the survey was being able to respond that I have a very unfavourable view of Rob Ford. (and a favourable view of Mike Layton). Knowing who was behind that poll makes me feel even better to have given those last two responses.

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      Michael says:

      If they open it up to Porter jets, then you just know that WestJet & Air Canada are not going to be far behind. And once the airport is expanded and has a much higher volume, will it be as much of a joy to travel out of? Won’t it become just like Pearson?

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        bluegreenblogger says:

        Exactly how will Air Canada and Westjet get hangar space, and where will their staff work pray tell. I do not think Porter is going to let them back into their little goldmine anytime soon.

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          Tired of it All says:

          On both points, above: Porter owns the landing rights to Billy Bishop. It was their first move after AC dropped them, and AC’s been trying to horn in on the action every since Porter changed the game. Effectively, BB is Porter’s main hub. Dunno if AC still flies there by agreement from Porter, and only with its turbo-props.

          Next, he CS100 will be quieter than other regional jets either below its capacity (the CJ900 and Embraer E140, 135, etc), and certainly above (Airbus 318 and Boeing 737) but how quieter will be the question. The plane has two innovations working for it: the new P&W geared turbo fan, which is giving GE fits, and the new advanced-material wing. Both will also lead to lower fuel costs.

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    CuJoYYC says:

    The BS press release is here. http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1150363/66-2-of-torontonian-s-support-use-of-cs100-jet-aircraft-at-billy-bishop-toronto-city-airport

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    patrick says:

    I wish every poll at least had to post the questions asked along with the results. And ban them during elections. Let everyone think for themselves.

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    Michael Behiels says:

    Where would Torontonians be without Warren’s investigative reporting on the real issues facing them?

    Corporate Toronto wants an expansion of the airport (Kevin O’Leary on CBC is their big booster) and is no doubt funding the illusive and bogus polling firm that makes up the results.

    Where is the MSM on this topic! Afraid to offend corporate Toronto whose firms will stop advertising in their media?

    Torontonians need an open, wide-ranging debate on the expansion question.

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    Bruce A says:

    Then there’s right-wing think tanks such as the Fraser Institute, which has ‘charitable status’ and The Manning Boot Camp Centre for Provocateurs. It’s gotten to the point where I assume that the public is being misled on all public issues. If there ever was a time for ‘transparency’ it’s now.

    We won’t get it though.

    We need some serious investigative reporting in the mainstream media because you can’t count on the Globe & Mail or the National Post to do any. The Toronto Star seems not to be terribly interested and the CBC is underfunded. Then Harper guts the long form census and the PBO, only to tell us The Gazeebo King has introduced some new math to Ottawa to make things ‘better’. It’s always ‘better’.

    The Apocalypse is hitting it’s stride.






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    C.W. says:

    Do you know if they’ll be explaining their actions, and posting a corrected or clarified version of the story? It seems pretty unacceptable to just ‘disappear’ the article.

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    Paul Synnott says:

    I’m Paul Synnott at bluebloggingsoapbox@gmail.com, and I’m a douchebag. Send me spam!

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    wsam says:

    Corporate Canada, such that exists and is self-aware, considers Kevin O’Leary to be a buffon.

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    m5slib says:

    I was polled on this, and the questions were ridiculous… it was almost impossible to not answer in their favour… which I did because I knew what they were doing. They asked the same question three times spun a different way. Such crap.

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    dillon says:

    A poll from 2007 hardy compares to a poll in 2013. Now the airport is fully operationlal and all the irrational lefty fears have proved groundless.

    Its too bad a pedestran tunnel was built instead of a bridge but Chow can wear that planning fiasco with pride. I hope she follows your advice and makes the airport a campaign issue.

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    BK says:

    This wasn’t a poll. It was a marketing tool. Look at the questions and how they push the respondent for the right answer.

    Recently, Porter Airlines which operates out of Toronto Island Airport announced plans to expand its list of destinations to include cities throughout North America like Vancouver, Los Angeles, Florida and the Caribbean. Some say this additional competition would lead to lower airfares and increase travel options for passengers. Do you support Porter Airlines growth plans?

    In order to expand its list of destinations , Porter would need to use jets which will require Toronto City Council approval. Should Toronto City Council allow jets to fly out of Toronto Island Airport?

    Porter Airlines is proposing to fly Canadian Made Bombardier C-series jets out of the Toronto Island Airport, these jets which have a comparable noise level to the current Q-400 propeller planes currently flying from the Island Airport. Some people refer to them as “whisper jets”. Do you support allowing jets to fly out of the airport if they make a comparable amount of noise to the turboprops currently being flown from the Island Airport?

    To fly these jets out of the Island Airport the runway will need to be lengthened. If the runway is lengthened the area usable by boats will not be changed. Do you support lengthening the runway if the area currently used by boats will not be changed?

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      dillon says:

      It other words , if you don”t like the questions, it is not a poll.

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    joy Connelly says:

    I too was contacted for this poll, and was astonished at how biased the questions were — really more of a marketing pitch than a legitimate enquiry. Not at all surprised to hear that Nick Kouvalis is behind it.

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