How Many Words
I read an email recently that tells me that the DRIC people may have a few sleepless nights as will a few people in Ottawa. It starts by saying:
- "It strongly appears, based on statements and actions by DRIC that elected officials were intimately involved in this process that was wrongly sold to the general public as a non-partisan, rigorous, transparent evaluation of all the border alternatives. Whether DRIC’s actions are contrary to the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act remain to be seen. At minimum, the spirit of the law appears to have been violated."
The rest of the email goes on to identify a number of areas of concern and then the juicy part as far as I am concerned:
- "Canada’s new Prime Minister, The Rt. Honourable Steven Harper has made government integrity and accountability his number one priority.
Mr. Jeff Watson, MP, Essex has made public statements on a local public affairs program (Face to Face with John Fairly) in January 2006 and on CKLW on January 24, 2006, supporting DRIC so long as their process was not interfered with by politicians. There is more than enough evidence to suggest that the DRIC process has been tampered with -- in fact it’s acknowledged by DRIC’s own officials.
By way of this letter, we will be asking our local MP(s) to request the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Transport, to investigate the decision making of DRIC, whether civil servants were pressured by some politicians into making certain decisions and the conduct of the previous federal government."
I love it. The Prime Minister is put on the horns of a dilemma by an area of the country that gives him nothing but trouble---Windsor. How would you like to be put on the spot of supporting a process that many believe to be flawed that was designed by your predecessor? On the other hand, how can you be seen as the weak Government in a four Government process that would appear to cave in because of a few vociferous NIMBY types! (Oh don't talk to me about what the Michigan Governor did Downriver. It's an election year for her after all).
This is just the latest in a series of attacks against DRIC by stakeholders on both sides of the river. I have read a number of emails from various parties that are about as strongly worded as I have ever seen.
If you are the PM, how do you decide? Each of the letter writers are writing from their own position obviously but each will make a valid case. And then DRIC will make a response that seems to make just as much sense. So that does not help you much.
Then the lightbulb should go on for the PM.
YOU ARE THE POLITICIAN. YOU ARE THE DECISION-MAKER ON THE CANADIAN SIDE NOT A BUNCH OF BUREAUCRATS OR EVEN THE ONTARIO PREMIER AND CERTAINLY NOT NOW THE WINDSOR MAYOR. THERE ARE ONLY TWO POLITICIANS THAT COUNT IN THIS MATTER AT THIS TIME: YOU AND THE MAYOR OF DETROIT.
The facts are pretty clear. Once they are presented properly, and they have been out there for a long time, the decision is obvious.
Just to help out the PM, I'll explain in my other BLOG today how and why DRIC seems to have gone off the track when it really has not. And next week, some really good stuff that I uncovered that should make some bureacrats run for the hills if my preliminary reading is correct!
And the answer to the question set out in the beginning to help the PM out in his decision: in this case Government Inaction is Government In Action.