Does Stephen J. Harper International Airport sound like a promising place to board your next voyage? A few thousand Calgarians think so, as they have set up a petition to the Calgary Airport Authority to have their airport renamed in honour of the exiting Prime Minister.
The petition, created by R. Curtis Mullen on Sunday, proposes that Calgary International Airport don a new title in the namesake of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who hails from the city.
Directed toward Garth Atkinson, the CEO of the Calgary Airport Authority, the petition reads:
“Prime Minister Stephen Harper was the longest serving Prime Minister’s from Western Canada. Prime Minister Harper represented to the world the best that Canada and more specifically Calgary has to offer. For his nine plus years of service to the country, we believe that that a permanent recognition of his accomplishments needs to be made. Therefore, we are asking that the Calgary International Airport be renamed the Stephen J. Harper International Airport.”
It had almost 2,500 supporters as of Tuesday morning.
“A worthy recognition for a western PM of the stature of John G. Diefenbaker,” said one signature.
“Harper is the greatest Prime Minister that ever served Canada,” said another.
If the petition seems to be gaining traction, it is being outpaced by a counter-petition to “Prevent Renaming the Calgary International Airport”. The document against the Harper name change already has almost 4,000 signatures.
“There is currently a petition to rename the airport after Stephen Harper. I oppose this so strongly that I wanted to provide a platform for others who also oppose it. There is a park in Edmonton named for the only city mayor to be found guilty of gross misconduct while in office. The excuse for naming the park after him was that he was Edmonton’s longest serving mayor.
The excuse for renaming the airport is that Harper is the longest serving Prime Minister from western Canada. Please, let’s not make rewarding political criminals an Alberta tradition, okay? One such mistake is bad enough, with a local politician whom nobody outside the province (and few outside the city) has even heard of. To name one of the busiest airports in Canada for someone known internationally, who is the only PM to have ever been found in contempt of parliament is a disgrace. Let’s just not.”
If the government did decide to rename YYC in honour of Harper, it would join several other Canadian transport hubs named after former Prime Ministers and statesmen, including Lestor B. Pearson, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, John A. MacDonald, George-Étienne Cartier, Robert Stanfield and John G. Diefenbaker.