Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, April 28, 2006

VoIP Works---To Test, Please Call 968-2161

PLEASE CALL 968-2161

We interrupt this BLOG to bring you an important message from the BLOGMEISTER!

I have been dabbling in the Internet world for a number of years and have met many innovative players in that game! Internet technology is both scary and exciting with even more to come.

As an example, if someone wanted to set up a system to become a “phone” company for a relatively few dollars and compete with the big boys in the telecommunications world it can be done. The product offering can be comparable but at a fraction of the cost to a customer whether consumer or business. It’s called Voice Over Internet Protocol or VoIP.

My son and I have set up a new business in our Company, Wyndham Hall Consulting, to offer VoIP service to Windsorites. We have become Windsor reps of UNITZ Online. UNITZ’s VoIP network is the second largest provider of local telephone numbers over high speed internet connection in Ontario with over 24.5 million calls placed over its network. It currently provides unlimited long distance calling to Ontario, North America and over 40 countries and has 16 independent companies wholesaling its services.

For the last few weeks I have been testing it to see how good it is and it really does work well. In fact, we were able to “port over” our existing Bell number to the new carrier to make the move without the need to advise people of a new number or to redo stationery with all of the costs that would follow.

The major reason for transferring to the new VoIP service is simple: to save money. Lots of it!

As a Bell business customer, as an example, I was paying over $50 per month with a few bundled services. I can get all of what Bell gave me and more features PLUS unlimited Ontario long distance for $32.95 per month. On top of that is the cost of a converter box which can be rented or purchased. That box permits your existing telephone to be used over the internet by converting the phone signal for internet operation. No new phone costs are incurred.

For my residential line, I can get a residential Ontario service at $22.95 per month that includes Local Calls, unlimited Ontario Long distance calls, local phone number, 9-1-1 service, Caller ID, Call blocking, 3 Way, Call Waiting, Voice Mail, Call Forward and so on. It also offers Long Distance caller plans based on minutes or flat-rate and even includes a long distance service internationally to selected countries at a flat-rate cost of $59.95 per month or low per minute costs. On top of that is the cost of a converter box which can be rented or purchased.

But it is the other interesting services which make the offering so special. For those that have family in other parts of Ontario who call often or for a business that has customers in a different part of Ontario, “virtual” numbers can be used (at an additional cost). If that other city is Toronto for example, you can be given a Toronto phone number for your friends, family or businesses to call. Their call is no longer long distance but a local call that comes into your phone. It can be at huge savings over the cost of 800 service as an example or having family call long distance.

A variation is “Reverse Calling.” It is a unique feature whereby a caller who is not a subscriber may place a call to a subscriber and not incur a long distance charge. The non-subscriber would call a local access number and then enter the telephone number of the subscriber. Our system then processes the call by calling the valid subscriber and connecting the two parties.

If one goes on a business trip or vacation, take the VoIP converter box along with you, plug the converter it into the broadband connection and now you are free from the outrageous telephone charges of the hotel!

Voicemail is interesting. A Voicemail email is sent to advise that a message has been left so no matter where you are, you can tell who called you if you have an internet connection and then you can call box via the converter box.

Using VoIP is simple. You must have a broadband connection, either cable of DSL. You connect:
  1. One slot of the VoIP converter box to the modem,
  2. Another slot of the VoIP converter box to the PC
  3. Your existing phone to the VoIP converter box and presto, it’s done!
Porting a phone number over to your new service is relatively painless. A few forms are filled in and in about 3 weeks time, the old number is working on your VoIP serivce.

V-O-I-P are the four most desirable letters in today’s telecommunication world. Wyndham Hall and Unitz have joined to make this exciting technology available to you!

If you want to obtain more information or to become a subscriber please call my son Michael or me at (519) 972-3989

Now back to our regularly scheduled Blogging!

State Of The City---Then And Now

It may be an extremely short State of the City speech given by the Mayor.

The Star states that a statement released by City Hall says the speech will "applaud the spirit and strength of Windsor's proud history, take stock of the city's achievements over the past year, and look to Windsor's exciting and ambitious future,"

The achievements won't take long and if we do not fix the road to the border we may have no future. Unless you like to relive the past and hear about Sandwich, it could be a pretty boring night.

It should be amusing to hear how the E-machine drafted, re-election speech that kicks off Eddie's mayoral campaign will "spin" the lack of anything happening in this City over the last 2 1/2 years.

Want to bet that we will hear how the Keg and the new Bus terminal will be the beginning of a re-vitalized downtown that will result in an urban village, especially when the St. Clair students bring excitement to our City Centre. That is if we ever get a bus terminal.

Want to bet that we will hear the multi-recycled story about the new plants coming to Windsor and our new regional economic redevelopment program (of course that does NOT include Detroit any longer after Eddie's poke at Kwame). But we will not hear names because of "confidentiality."

Want to bet that not much will be mentioned about the old Schwartz "Think Big" Plan but a lot about how this Mayor and Council will fight for us to save our quality of life. Better late than never after all

Want to bet that Sandwich, our City finances and the I better not say more or else you will not go to hear Eddie . Instead, I will just post excerpts from 2 of Gord Henderson's columns that put this speech into a proper perspective:

May 1, 2004

"Let's be honest. In terms of entertainment value, the Eddie Francis era at city hall can't hold a candle to the clown show presided over by his predecessor.

Some nights I find myself pining for the old days when Mike Hurst called the shots and we could count on a tantrum or two, oodles of eye rolling and grimacing and the occasional cataclysmic explosion.

In five months with Francis as mayor we've gone from the roller derby to the corporate boardroom and although the new way of conducting business isn't half as much fun for gawkers, it's a big plus for Windsor."

February 14, 2006

"Don't let it go to your head, but Windsor's fame is still growing by leaps and bounds and if it continues at this pace we'll all need showbiz agents to protect our piece of the action.

Think about it. A month ago we were a bunch of nobodies piddling away our days in dullsville. Then, out of the blue, came that notorious "Super Sin City" label that yanked Windsor out of the shadows of big brother Detroit and propelled it onto the global stage.

I figured that was the pinnacle, our once-in-a-lifetime moment in the blinking red neon, and we would soon slip back into comfortable obscurity. Silly me. I should have known our city elders would have an ace up their sleeves.

Last Thursday they played it, revealing that our dysfunctional council was scheduled to go on the couch last night and receive group therapy from Dan Mulhern, the husband of Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm. A counsellor for the councillors.

Bam. The wire services picked the story up and sent it whipping across the country. In an instant we went from Sin City to Psycho City, a wacky burg that needs out-of-country counselling to keep its politicians from ripping each other's throats out."

The Eureka Moment

I read the Star Editorial the other day about the border: "The border: Where do the ministers stand?" I was wondering what the border debate would have been like with Bill Marra as Mayor.

I was pretty sure that we would not have had the "snub." That is not Bill's style as a consensus builder. Moreover, he would not have intervened just before the Detroit mayoral election to attack the Detroit Mayor's position. Windsor still would have "friends" in other words even if there were disagreements.

We would be in the same position re the DRIC study alternatives. We probably would be fighting over a tunnel with the Senior Levels I thought. However, the fight would have started much earlier, not 2 years after election of the new Council and almost 10 months after Schwartz presented his Report. In fact, the road issue might already have been solved too in principle although exact routing was still to be determined. Windsor still would be at the table being listened to by the Senior Levels.

As I have stated before, Bill was the one who first introduced the "tunnel" concept during the last election campaign. [BLOG March 16, 2006 What's Yours Is Mine]. Bill said in a Star story 18 months before the Mayor started to promote a tunnel:

  • "It's doable," says former councillor and mayoral candidate Bill Marra. "Going underground is not a new concept. It's being done time and time again, especially in Europe. My family is from Switzerland and they go through mountains there.

    "This potentially could be a 100-year solution for Windsor if they do it correctly --not just 30 or 40 years. It's the smart way to go for this community and the environment."

Then I had my Eureka moment-- the E-machine was desperate that Marra would run for Mayor. Many people think he will. Eddie had failed on the border. How to pretend he was doing something and undercut Bill if he decided to run

Eureka---take Bill's position on the tunnel as yours.

That's exactly what Eddie did with the urban village and the Youth Council as other examples!

Eureka--out of the blue a solution to a problem! Apparently there is a scientific explanation for this too according to an Austalian paper:

  • "brain researchers have discovered that this "Aha! experience" - when the answer to a problem seems to pop out of thin air - involves a special kind of brain activity...

    people who had Eureka moments often said they had been making little progress on a problem before suddenly seeing a connection that had eluded them.

    "This is the nature of many insights - the recognition of new connections across existing knowledge."
It all came together. I read the Windsor Star Editorial where it scolded Sandra and Dwight as our Provincial Liberal Cabinet Ministers and suggested that they "resign their comfy cabinet seats and come on home if they are not prepared to lobby aggressively and publicly for an expedited border crossing that doesn't lower the quality of life for their constituents."

Their crime: "Duncan and Pupatello hid behind the Detroit River International Crossing process, insisting they didn't want to taint the process by taking a position on behalf of their constituents."

This was nothing new; what was the big deal. Politicians have been hiding behind DRIC for a long time. There just seemed to be a different tone in the Editorial, almost one of desperation.

Perhaps Eddie needed something before his May 1 State of the City speech to wow the locals...Hmmmmm I got it: the Provincial Liberals caving in to Eddie and paying millions for an Environmental Assessment for the lands west of Huron Church Road. The Star praises the Liberals, and says it is due to Eddie and everyone is happy at the Cleary.

This whole tunnelling support by the Star bothered me. Who after all was one of the supporters of the DRTP concept until STOPDRTP stopped them cold. The Star. Here is what some of their editorials said:

  • The border; Keeping perspective 12-28-2002

    Before the federal-provincial study was completed, we argued that the DRTP proposal represented the best way to deal with the problems of congestion and tie-ups in a reasonable time frame. It would increase competition, increase capacity and, with the new train tunnel, it would make rail more competitive -- something that should take some trucks off 401.

    Border fix; Ontario's plan has merit 04-19-2003

    Last fall,we argued that the DRTP TradeWay proposal for a third border crossing represented the best way to deal with border tie-ups and begin planning for the future. We still believe that's true.

    The border; 'Gateway' a workable plan 05-29-2003

    The federal-provincial proposal is also an important step forward because it opens the door for another crossing relatively quickly. With the creation of a truck route along E.C. Row, the northern portion of the DRTP TradeWay proposal becomes the logical third crossing.

    Within a few years, DRTP can route trucks off E.C. Row north to its proposed route under the river."

Then the Star got the message with the "enhanced" DRTP and changed its tact:

  • The border; Council and the solution; 01-17-2004

    "What hasn't been discussed is the possibility of either enclosing the original DRTP route or routing it through a tunnel. If the route is enclosed, diesel fumes could be vented and scrubbed, significantly reducing the city's truck pollution.

    Perhaps this would involve costs over the $300 million promised by Ottawa and Queen's Park. But the border is so critical to the provincial and federal economies that an enhanced DRTP proposal must be considered.

    A revised DRTP proposal has the potential to offer the solution the city needs -- competition, a third crossing, a way to address environmental concerns and a way to get trucks off city streets. "

Not a word back then about the need for a tunnel beside the major shopping district in Windsor, schools and thousands of homes caused by the intrusive DRTP until about a year after its support of DRTP. Now, crocodile tears for residents along Talbot Road, the corridor to the bridge for over 75 years, rather than support for residents who did not live beside a highway. What a transformation. Just like the Mayor who was very silent about a tunnel until late December, 2005, about a year after the Schwartz Report was introduced in January 2005, even though the word was mentioned a few times in the Report.

The Star realizes better than most that Eddie has no hope in getting anything done on his own about the border. He has no friends now on either side of the river since it has become absolutely clear that his sitting on $300 million of BIF money rather than fixing the road to the border is a major cause of the border problems. The only way that someone can help him is if the Provincial Liberals do a favour for him. It does not really matter what the favour is as long as Eddie can claim it as a further step to whatever and that he was the one who achieved it. Thus the pressure on Sandra and Dwight to act.

The tunnel--nothing more than to hide the fact that, as Mayor, Eddie gambled and lost badly on Schwartz and failed to take into his confidence the people of Windsor who elected him. Not until the Tecumseh meeting did the public really have a chance to speak for the first time on the border issue.

Alan McKinnon spoke for most of us and the applause he received confirmed the anger directed to the Mayor and Council for their secrecy and lack of action. Councillor Zuk felt the "hostility" but I am still not sure if she understands why.

Why would Council want an EA? Clearly so the Mayor and Council can refuse to say anything until after the election since it is a matter in process and they would not want to "taint the process by taking a position." Just like Dwight and Sandra on DRIC!

The "tunnel" program was designed to help Eddie appear decisive and strong after the scare-mongering letters and Tecumseh presentation. More importantly, it was designed take away what the E-machine strategists think will be a major part of Marra's election platform on the border.

Eureka--I got it!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Change, Positive Change

I am not going to comment today on the Star story about the Bridge Co. forging ahead. There is plenty of time to do that over the next several decades, the time that the border story will take if action to time spent so far is the criteria.

That is not what interests me anyway today. I am preparing a case study for part of a journalism school curriculum that I thought I would submit for consideration by the faculty and thought you might be interested in what I am setting out. I still have to work on it but here are my thoughts so far.

I am calling the case study:

"Change, Positive Change."

"[Windsor Star executive editor Marty] Beneteau credited the news team for helping to bring about positive change through its coverage of the Lori Dupont slaying at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital.

"I think we can take partial credit into calling an inquest into the nurse's slaying," Beneteau said. "We did things that newspapers can do to bring about change, positive change. I think we got a lot of results this year and this now validates the results we got."

So shall we insert "Ambassador Bridge" in place of "Lori Dupont" to explain the coverage? Is the Star on another mission to change things, like building a public bridge perhaps?"

Yes, you did see this language before… I wrote it in the BLOG a few days on April 19, 2006 “Between A Pepsi And A Lemon Juice.” It just seemed so appropriate again.

Let’s see now what the Star has written recently…

  • tunnel propaganda with Henderson to his credit, but not the Star, giving his "mea culpa" for incorrect tunnel cost numbers,
  • two sensationalist stories about hazardous goods crossing the Ambassador Bridge,
  • no followup story about the alum being like Pepsi or lemon juice and with no sulphuric acid problems,
  • the “like Father, like Son” story
  • a story telling us that the Bridge owner can wind up in the slammer if he dares defy the new Bill C-3,
  • coverage of the Perrin Beatty speech about the border,
  • the Twinned Bridge forging ahead,
  • the Editor’s “Huron Church chaos" story and
  • the upcoming two-part series on the Bridge Co. owner.

It all comes together so well. And the climax--- Eddie’s State of the City speech.

Whew, that is impressive Star news coverage “to bring about change, positive change.”

Now here is what is going to happen over the next few days so that people really will come out to the Cleary to see our saviour:

  1. Huge front page story Friday “Eddie and Council (naw, it will be Eddie-only. Why give them any glory) say “No way” to Moroun” with a sub-head….”Sandwich will not be destroyed!”
  2. A whole bunch of stories about West Enders and their Councillors being shocked with Councillor Jones repeating his famous Joint Councils meeting quotation
  3. No stories from taxpayers saying thanks for this not costing us billions the way a new DRIC bridge would
  4. No stories from Delray residents breathing a sigh of relief that no bridge or huge plaza will cut into their neighbourhood
  5. No stories from Sandwich residents breathing a sigh of relief that no bridge or huge plaza will cut into their neighbourhood
  6. No stories from Wards 1 and 2 residents breathing a sigh of relief that no DRTP will cut into their neighbourhood
  7. No stories about the huge investment in Windsor by the "private" Bridge Co. to solve our problems while Governments study" and the number of infrastructure jobs to be created at a time when Windsor's unemployment rate is the highest in Canada.
  8. Story that Brian Masse will send another letter to the Feds demanding whatever
  9. Press release from Sandra and Dwight stating that now you understand why we had to respect the DRIC process and that the Province will support Eddie with an EA for lands west of Huron Church Road costing millions
  10. A Henderson “fuming” column on Saturday attacking Bill Marra again and demanding that he do the “right thing” and support Eddie as every good person in Windsor should do from the evil Bridge Co.
  11. Monday Editorial cartoon showing the Bridge and/or Moroun destroying Windsor
  12. Major Star Editorial on Monday calling on the Senior Levels to immediately do everything Eddie says to save the community from the Bridge Co.

Of course now, not everything will not happen exactly as I have laid it out because I have said it (Just like with the CODA, CODA, CODA leak) but it will be close enough.

Whew, that is impressive Star news coverage “to bring about change, positive change.”

Here are some interesting things that might suggest that we are all being manipulated just a teeny weeny bit:

  • We learned on Thursday that the Star tried to get ahold of the Bridge Co. President but not a word about trying to get ahold of the Mayor for his reaction. Why not----got to save the words for the BIG story for Friday’s headlines.
  • The Star calls it Matty Moroun's bridge "Enhancement Project." Note too the quotation marks in the story to draw attention to something. Of course, it has been called “Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project” since December 15, 2004 if one looks at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry but why say that.
  • The Star is cute in this story. Breathlessly they say “environmental assessment documents obtained Wednesday by The Star.” It makes it appear that they only got the story a few days ago. Yet their reporter was at the Lansing hearings weeks ago when the Twinned Bridge moving ahead was mentioned. Why wasn’t that made a big deal back then?
  • Conveniently forgetting that the Bridge Co. tried to partner with the City (remember the series of three Star ads the Bridge Co. bought) but were snubbed. (Who else is on the City snub is growing longer and longer)
  • Remember I said that a four hour interview with Moroun and such a small story meant something more was coming. Well I was right and now a long time later, here it is starting Friday
  • There was nothing, it appeared, in the Star story involving the East end real estate deals that are in litigation to justify the Star story about it but there it was being dragged up again. The Star reported on that story a long, long time ago in about a one or two line reference but now it made it as a front page story.
  • Why wouldn’t the Bridge Co. drop the "ring road" plans. Let Eddie and the Governments figure out how to bring trucks to the bridge since it is their responsibility not that of the Bridge Co. to do so. They at least have the comfort in knowing that their plan was consistent with everything said by WALTS/Windsor/Schwartz/DRIC
  • There is the smear re “the bridge company is striving to undermine the government's bid to build a public downriver Sandwich-Delray bridge and pre-empt pending federal legislation in Canada. " Gee I did not know a “public” bridge had been decided upon nor the location. How can they “pre-empt” the law for heaven’s sake! The Star must really have inside info. I wonder if anyone will “fume’ about that location which destroys two communities.
  • Did the Star forget to write that DRIC kicked out the Bridge Co. from the study since they viewed the bridge as an "existing crossing" and told them to do whatever they wanted as a "private" party. So they did! Now they are criticized for doing what they were told to do. I guess you are damned if you do and damned if you don't!
  • Is the Star demanding that the $300 million BIF funding be applied to fix up the existing roads to the border while the games are played forever on the long-term crossing to eliminate their Editor's Huron Church chaos? If so, I missed the story!

Whew, that is impressive Star news coverage “to bring about change, positive change.”

The leakor I mentioned yesterday has been busy hasn't he? It is pretty easy to guess who he/she is. If I can do it, so can his bosses!

Honestly, I cannot stomach the BS any more. The whole thing is a farce. We have a major problem and our politicians are turning this into a joke. We have a failed Mayor and Council who let us down and they are being turned into heroes by a newspaper who is on a mission. It all makes me sick!

Whew, that is impressive Star news coverage “to bring about change, positive change.”

Get Eddie To Grovel

Coun. Fulvio Valentinis seems to ask two perpetual questions:
  1. "why Windsor is being overlooked by senior levels of government while tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure grants are being doled out to nearby municipalities."
  2. why won't the DRIC people listen to Windsor

DUH---it's the Snub, already!

He knows the answer as well as we do but he cannot admit that in public as Jo-anne Gignac refused to do as well on Face-to-Face. Until they can get Eddie to get off his high horse and grovel, we are going to be shut out.

Fulvio should know by now because of his political connections that the Senior Levels want their pound of flesh out of Eddie. And who really is suffering: WINDSOR!

And then to top it off Councillor Budget wants to win friends and influence people by threatening litigation to tie up the border plan in the courts if route concerns are not addressed. Council and the Mayor know or ought to know how the Senior Levels can deal with that by the stroke of a pen. Unbelievable!

You know the famous movie line from Lauren Bacall "You know how to whistle, don't you? You just pucker your lips and blow."

In the Windsor context the question is "You know how to grovel, don't you?" I'll let the Councillor tell Eddie the answer. Someone better and quickly!

Medical School Or An Arena

I watched Jo-anne Gignac on Face-to-Face last night. When John Fairley asked her about an arena in the East end in the Lear plant area, her face turned white. That told me that something was up. In fact her answer, when John talked about money to finance it, suggested to me that the City was going to pay for the whole shot for a huge multi-pad arena complex and not rely on private money at all! Jo-anne talked about local arenas being old and so expensive to run so we may see a few closures too that will help justify this. (Oh I can guess where some of the money will come from---look for the Casino to make a big "donation" to keep away competition from its downtown arena! We are closing the Cleary for them so that is the least they can do)

Here is the dilemma. Windsor only has a limited Budget and there are many calls on taxpayer money. Council will be asked to make a contribution to help out a project that is important to the Community. The choices are to make a contribution as part of :

  • $50 million plus for an arena in the East End to help get Eddie re-elected and to help bail out the new owners of the Spits (so they won't be "the most foolish business men in the world" and because "the group also isn't in position to pour millions into the project") with the result being the possible closing of several local arenas, OR

    between $3 million and $4 million for the expansion of the University of Windsor's satellite medical school that will help the entire community.

I would have thought that was a no-brainer. But it never is.

If you can believe this, Councillor Valentinis "predicted a "tough sell" for the medical school.

It would be a difficult decision because Windsor needs doctors, he said, but "the days of funding outside groups is something that is increasingly being put under pressure. We can't constantly be coming to the table when there's a new initiative."

And the Mayor waiting to see what the consensus in the City is so he can jump on board "The city has not been asked yet to contribute to the expansion nor has it offered, said Mayor Eddie Francis.

"Council has been very clear we have challenges, and we're trying to balance the needs of meeting our own priorities as well as other areas," he said."

So much for political leadership in Windsor. The choice is yours to make, dear reader. I know where I want my money spent.

Just so you do not think I am being harsh about the Spits' owners, I am not. If you look at the Corel Centre in Ottawa or Skydome in Toronto as precedents, when the arena goes into bankruptcy, they will be able to buy it for pennies on the dollar! Everyone wins but the taxpayers.

And just to top things off, here is part of a story I read about Skydome called "DOME TO NOWHERE" by Neil deMause

  • By the time the government finally rid itself of its white elephant, the Ontario public had taken a $262.7 million bath.

    Stories like this have become all too familiar in the sports-stadium craze that has swept pro sports in the decade since SkyDome’s opening. While Olympic Stadium may have set the standard for extravagence, there are plenty of other contenders giving the Big Owe a run for its money.

    Seattle's new Safeco Field, originally tabbed at $220 million (U.S.), has already passed the $500 million mark on its way toward its July opening, the bulk of which will be paid by the people of Washington state.

    Milwaukee's Miller Park, originally budgeted at $250 million, is likewise nearing the half-billion-dollar mark, even as its opening has been delayed from 1999 to 2000.

    Then there's the infamous renovation of Yankee Stadium, which began in 1973 with a $19 million pricetag, and didn't stop until it had devoured $125 million in New York City money. Ask any stadium expert how much a new ballpark is likely to cost, and you'll likely get the answer: "more than you've budgeted..."

    Perhaps most significantly, stadium builders tend to lowball estimates to get a project approved, confident that once a hole is dug and a foundation poured, no one will be willing to cut off funds on a half-finished project. One stadium consultant recalls researching costs for another architect on a publicly funded minor-league pallpark project, and finding that the team owners' exorbitant demands for luxury suites were driving the price up. "I suggested that he warn the political powers-that-be that there might be major problems with leasing that many suites in a small market.

    He said, 'They really want to get this team. They're afraid the owners will walk, so they won't question that -- they'll find the money to build the suites.'" The architect added that strict economies were not a priority for this stadium, because "public projects are always better funded than private ones."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bill C-3--Is Your Business Next

It is surprising to see the Conservatives following a Liberal Party agenda. If Bill C-3 is what a "rightist," suppposedly pro-business Conservative Party in Government advocates, then the world is topsy-turvy and Bob Rae could become the new leader of the Liberals.

Don't you find it amazing that everyone focuses on the "operations" side of what Bill C-3 is all about?

There is another more ominous side that seems to be forgotten that should send a chill to every business person in this country! But that is ok because the Government says its purpose with this legislation is pure and wholesome: "The proposed bill has become a high government priority to "protect public interest, safety and security," said Linda Licari, spokeswoman for Transport Canada."

The Star takes a shot at the Bridge Co. and its owner to make it obvious who the target of the Bill is and that justifies it all too:

  • "If Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun fails to allow Canadian government authorities to regulate security, maintenance, tolls or any construction on his bridge, they can take away the crossing and sell it, according to proposed legislation.

    Moroun would also be subject to a $500,000 fine or two years jail time, according to Bill C-3 tabled Monday and approved on first reading by the Conservative government."

And some wonder why DRIC is taking so long. Part of the reason is obvious: to allow the legislation to be passed to try to pressure the Bridge Co. to achieve what some in Ottawa want to accomplish that FIRA did not years ago.

To be honest, I can well understand the concerns of the Government. As its backgrounder points out, the vast majority of crossings are GOVERNMENT owned: "These 24 bridges are owned under various arrangements: 22 are publicly owned (seven by a federal authority, 13 by a provincial or municipal authority, one by a joint authority and one by an American authority), while the remaining two road bridges are privately owned." Given the poor way some of these "public" bridges operate, they need help. Perhaps one of the best operating ones, the "private" Ambassador Bridge Company, could have been retained to provide consulting services to help the "public" bridges operate more effectively. After all, they do not have a bottomles taxpayer pocketbook to look to for money!

While it may have some good intentions, Bill C-3 is a very Draconian piece of legislation. When you read the key provisions below about how it can put the Bridge Co., its real and obvious target, into serious difficulty financially while it can help build up their competition at the Bridge Co's own expense, you will understand what I mean. The Bill can destroy a business in the name of the "public interest" it appears and without compensation.

That makes it an easier and cheaper route than expropriating a business doesn't it? You tell me of one single business person who would stand for this kind of Government action with their industry!

Please do not give me the "public ownership" vs. "private ownership" drivel. We already have learned who is the best North American border operator. Notwithstanding Brian Masse's attempt, our model ought not to be the Peace Bridge as an example.

No, this legislation goes much further than we ever should allow our Government to go "for the general advantage of Canada" merely "to ensure the efficient flow of traffic."

Wait a minute, the Windsor Star is in a virtual monopoly position in Windsor being the only daily newspaper in Windsor giving out local information. Sometimes what it says may be against Government policy. That cannot be right because Government knows best.

That is the case about newspapers in many other cities across Canada too. Isn't it in the public interest to ensure that the information is given out properly to citizens to "protect public interest, safety and security." We need an efficient flow of government information. I think I better call the PM to see if legislation can be passed about that industry too.

See, it's that easy to do.

I am shocked that a so-called CONSERVATIVE Party Government would ever introduce this type of legislation. I am shocked that the Cabinet got sucked in by a pro-Liberal agenda item. Who is to say that YOUR business is not next!

Bill C-3 "An Act respecting international bridges and tunnels"

  • 2. The following definitions apply in this Act.

    "alteration" includes a conversion, an extension and a change in the use of an international bridge or tunnel but does not include its operation, maintenance and repair. [you cannot breathe without Government permission]

    "international bridge or tunnel" means a bridge or tunnel, or any part of it, that connects any place in Canada to any place outside Canada, and includes the approaches and facilities related to the bridge or tunnel. [how far does this extend?]

    3. This Act is binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province. [Federal supremacy. Take that Dalton McGuinty and Eddie Francis!]

    5. International bridges and tunnels are declared to be works for the general advantage of Canada. [See 3 above and which means the Federal Government makes the rules constitutionally]

    6. No person shall construct or alter an international bridge or tunnel without the approval of the Governor in Council. [you cannot breathe without Government permission]

    12. If a person requires an interest in land, as defined in section 2 of the Expropriation Act, for the purposes of the construction or alteration of an international bridge or tunnel and has unsuccessfully attempted to purchase the interest in land, the person may request the Minister to have the Minister of Public Works and Government Services have the interest in land expropriated by the Crown and section 4.1 of that Act applies to that person, with any modifications that are necessary, as if the person were a railway company. [Poof, your business can be expropriated even to help out your competitor]

    13. The Minister may order the owner or operator of an international bridge or tunnel to take any action that the Minister considers appropriate to ensure that it is kept in good condition. ["Any action"...You have no control or say and YOU have to pay for it too!]

    15. The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Minister, make regulations respecting the operation and use of international bridges and tunnels, including regulations
    (a) respecting the use that may be made of international bridges or tunnels by different types of vehicles;
    (b) respecting the tolls, fees and other charges that may be imposed by owners or operators of international bridges or tunnels for their use, to ensure the efficient flow of traffic; [The Governmment can control who your customers are and how much you can charge too. I hope you can pay your bills as a "non-profit." What is the incentive to be a good operator now? If you are too good, your customers will be sent elsewhere.]

    16. The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Minister, make regulations respecting the security and safety of international bridges and tunnels, including regulations
    (a) requiring persons who own or operate international bridges or tunnels to develop and implement security plans and establish security management systems; [As above]

    23. (1) No person shall, without the approval of the Governor in Council,
    (a) purchase or otherwise acquire an international bridge or tunnel; [If you want to retire, good luck in finding a purchaser who will give you a price that equates to the value of your business!]

    29. (1) The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Minister, issue letters patent of incorporation for the establishment of a corporation, with or without share capital, for the purpose of the corporation constructing or operating an international bridge or tunnel. Letters patent take effect on the date stated in them. [What the heck, if the business can make any money, the Government will become your competitor or your operator!]

    57. For greater certainty, this Act applies in respect of any proposal for the construction or alteration of an international bridge or tunnel that has been submitted to any department, agency or regulatory authority of the Government of Canada before the coming into force of this section. [So much for laws not being retroactive]

As I said, I have set out the key provisions of the Bill to which others have not directed your attention for obvious reasons.

Be honest. Would you tolerate Government intervening in your business in this fashion eg saying who can use your facilities and what you can charge and to whom you can sell if you want out. Seriously, if you are a business owner or have a job, insert your company in the places where it talks about bridges and tunnels.

You now understand why a CONSERVATIVE Minister should have a BIG problem with Canadians, never mind fighting George W. too!

Anatomy Of A Leak: Bill C-3

Will Transport Canada become known as the Titanic Department in the Harper Government?

I told you yesterday that this whole matter about Bill C-3 and the Conservatives was very strange to me. I thought that the Transport Minister frankly had been sold a bill of goods with this legislation and that it would come back one day to bite him. If that happened, given his powerful position in the Government, someone would be in big trouble for embarrassing him by allowing him to introduce this Bill.

Say what you will, there is only one target for this legislation: the Ambassador Bridge Company. DRIC is nothing more than part of the exercise to pressure them to get out of the bridge business and to buy time to put this legislation into place. When you read the key provisions about how it can put the Bridge Co. into serious difficulty financially and build up their competition at their expense, you will understand what I mean. You tell me of one single business person who would stand for this kind of Government action! I'll provide those provisions in another BLOG soon.

I can think of better ways for the Conservatives to win friends in Washington than by having one of their first pieces of legislation being viewed as Anti-American. I can see the Liberals and their civil service friends laughing themselves silly at the Minister's action. He is following their agenda to his detriment. So much for him helping win seats in Quebec in future.

What is interesting to me is the deliberate leaking that went on about this matter in the so-called tight Harper Conservative-captained ship. All for a good purpose I bet too. If it can happen with the Department of one of the most powerful Ministers with no consequence, why not anywhere?

There were strong rumours that the Bill was going to be introduced. Still it came out so quickly when it was NOT an important part of the Harper 5 Point agenda. It was C-THREE! Someone was worried about something.

Obviously, the Bridge Co. is front and centre in all of this. Look at the Star story yesterday:
  • "The act would enable Ottawa to block the Ambassador Bridge Company's plans to twin the bridge, which is the busiest crossing between the U.S. and Canada. Twenty-eight per cent of all goods traded between the two countries passes over the local crossing...

    Earlier this year, bridge owner Matty Maroun told The Star he will sell the bridge if the price is right."
Someone in Ottawa must think that Moroun (I wish the Star learned how to spell his name correctly) can be bullied or can be forced to sell out cheaply! Interestingly, another media outlet picked up the "sell" feature later as well.

The introduction seemed rushed to me, to have it in place before the Bridge Co. representatives could meet the Minister. Was someone afraid that the Minister might get a different side to the story and delay the introduction? That would not serve someone's agenda.

Why do I say this? It seems that there was a leak about a number of bridge-related matters to Today's Trucking Magazine Online last week " has learned" and then a discussion about Bill C-44, the predecessor to Bill C-3, in the story. There was a need to get a something out before the Bill was introduced. How could one stop then if the story was out there already!

Oh my goodness....yes, a leak, in the water-tight Harper-controlled Government. Why would someone dare take the risk of getting their head chopped off by the Prime Minister's Office by leaking such a story? You remember the stories about how ministers cannot say anything without approval, news conferences being controlled, denying access to reporters etc etc etc.

Huh, what, Today's Trucking--who ever heard of that before? How could that be? Why did this journal get the story and not some major media outlet like CBC or CTV news or the Toronto Star or Globe and Mail or National Post or even the Windsor Star?

With the online world these days, if one wants key people to read something, one does not have to ensure that it goes on the frontpage of the Toronto Star but that it gets reported somewhere and online so that a search tool or a media service picks it up for distribution to clients. The leakor suspected that he/she would never get caught since no one would care.

The Today's Trucking's story changed very slightly from the time of first publication. What was astonishing to me was that there was a change in the story in the first place and how quickly it happened. It was as if "the leakor" was afraid of the error and had to get it corrected.

Imagine that the Transport Minister might be "tarred" by people actually thinking the Minister may have met the Bridge Co. owner because of a mistake in the leaked story. Moreover, the Minister had to be above all of this or else Harper might think he caused the leak or knew about it if there was a meeting.

First Version:

  • "However, sources later told that a meeting with Moroun, at least, has already taken place this past week. Reportedly, the Grosse Pointe, Mich.-based powerbroker wanted to bend Cannon's ear on everything from the future of the Ambassador to the bridge company's involvement, if at all, on a new crossing at the border."

Revised Version:

  • "However, sources later told that a meeting with Moroun, at least, will take place by week's end. Reportedly, the Grosse Pointe, Mich.-based powerbroker wants to bend Cannon's ear on everything from the future of the Ambassador to the bridge company's involvement, if at all, on a new crossing at the border."

Note the subtle difference but it gets the Minister off the hook, right. There was no meeting after all (Today's Trucking again in a new story suggested there was one but I was told by Transport Canada officially that no meeting took place.)

After the change, the story then became a non-event with no meeting taking place. If there had been a meeting, the Minister's office would have had to field a flood of media calls and the leakor's role might have become known to his/her jeopardy. Who though would write about a meeting that did NOT take place. No one and no one did. However, those in the media or in Government or industry who read the story would be well-informed and have been pre-sold when Bill C-3 was introduced.

Given the last paragraph, they would also know that it is the FEDS in charge even if the Province owned an international crossing, say in Windsor as the gossip suggests the Liberals want. WHAP!:

  • "The intent, says Transport Canada's Brian McGregor, is to give overall governance regime to bridge's and tunnels, whether they're provincially owned and regulated, federally regulated, or privately operated."

The leakor is breathing easier now: the story got out, the Bill was introduced before the Bridge Co. got to meet the Minister, pressure is being applied to them that may give rise to a sale and the Minister is all above this. OR IS THE LEAKOR IN REAL TROUBLE NOW?

PS...for those that like conspiracies and who understand the background of the border battle, why do you think Bloomberg reported the Bill C-3 story first, of all of the major media outlets.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Heads Will Roll

Are bureaucrats that cut off in Ottawa that they have no idea what is going on in the rest of the country? Or perhaps they feel so secure they do not care!

Haven't they figured out that any political party that would seriously consider Bob Rae as its Leader will remain in Opposition for a generation? They are stuck with the Conservatives, like it or not, and they just embarrassed the hell out of the second most powerful man in Government, Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon. HE SITS BESIDE THE PRIME MINISTER ON THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS FOR HEAVENS'S SAKE! Didn't they get the memo and the seating plan? How else to explain the rush for the Conservatives introducing as its second Government Bill, Bill C-3: International Bridges and Tunnels Act.

It is almost hilarious since the Windsor border crossing did not even show up as one of the Conservative's FIVE areas of interest. Yet there is the Bill right after the Accountability Bill, a key Conservative measure. Someone in Ottawa was in a hurry!

I will explain tomorrow the mess that has been created for the new Minister and the Conservative Government in more detail. I'll also go through the Act so you will understand what is being proposed. For Windsor it may years of truck traffic that will not get solved because some people think THEY know the answer to everything. For now, let me comment on Bill C-3, which grew out of Bill C-44 which had been introduced by the Liberals previously.

It just goes to prove that a new Government ought not introduce Legislation without thinking it through first


It is like a script in the Yes, Minister sitcom from BBC TV about politicians and bureaucrats, except that it is not funny.

Since the Federal Government could NOT beat the people of Windsor, they introduced changes to the Canada Transportation Act (Bill C-44) and now Bill C-3 as the means by which they can get their own way.

Interestingly, with a great sense of timing, just days after the announcement of Bill C-44, DRTP announced its “enhanced” project even though they had worked on it for quite some time.

Bill C-44 and Bill C-3 go far beyond previous proposed amendments. The Bills clearly are pointed at the Ambassador Bridge Company and may be the way the Federal Government bureaucrats try to force them out at both Windsor and Niagara.

But it is more than that. Here is the Government who has done little at the border at Windsor while private enterprise and the Americans have spent almost $200 million on the Ambassador Gateway project, trying to tell the Americans what will happen at all of the border crossings between Canada .

No wonder the Feds are "respecting" the Bi- National process. They needed the time to get Bill C-3 passed! No wonder nothing is being done, not even a Phase 2 agreement. The PLAN is all ready for execution. And it is even retroactive too!


Expect a huge reaction out of Washington once the details become known. Expect massive litigation that will further delay the border crossing construction if the Bill becomes law. The Feds are almost egging on the Americans and the Bridge Company it seems to sue so that they will be the "fall guys" for any inaction or border problems and not the Government!

While those who support a "public" crossing may rejoice, the people of Windsor should not be so pleased. We may lose big time. For proof of that, we need only remember the JMC initial proposal and the Nine Point Plan. It can be easy as well to make E C Row part of the "works for the general advantage of Canada" since it can be declared as part of the route to the border.

Windsor may become a truckstop on the NAFTA superhighway after all!

Survey Results

Thanks to those of my readers who participated in the pre-election "test" survey. The results are fascinating.

I tried out some new online software that makes it relatively easy to do polling and was very pleased with how it turned out. If I only knew how to use Microsoft Access properly, I probably could manipulate the data a lot better as well.

I just asked the people to whom I send out email notices about my BLOG postings to complete the poll as well as anyone who happened to find my BLOG. The poll is not scientific I will admit and, I do not claim that it is. It is more a reflection of the readership of this Blog, but many of the readers of this Blog are leaders in the City and are interested in what goes on here. You, dear reader, can discount it completely if you choose but the results are very interesting to me.

The response rate was very high, about 17% of those who came to the Blogsite completed the survey. I shut off the polling at 8:45 PM last night so I could comment on what I found. It seems that what I have been saying to people over the past few months by gut feel has been fairly accurate.

As pure data, if I were a member of the E-machine I would be very worried right now. People seem to have formed their opinion about Eddie. The opinions are very definite as well. Only about 24% are Very Satisfied or Somewhat Satisfied with the job Eddie is doing. Almost 63% are Very Dissatisfied or Somewhat Dissatisfied. 50% are Very Dissatisfied, a huge number! Very few are undecided. Even George W's approval rating is better at 32%!

It would appear that the Star's support of the Mayor is not necessarily reflected in the Community, contrary to expectations! Surprise, surprise, people actually can think on their own.

If an election were to be held today, almost 53% would absolutely not vote for the Mayor. If we add in the Somewhat unlikely and Very unlikely, then almost 63% would not favour the Mayor. With 13% Undecided, the Mayor has few fans.

As should be expected, the border and economic development are the biggest issues while the Arena was barely mentioned. Infrastructure was in the middle while surprisingly, taxes were not high on people’s minds. Obviously, Eddie has not done well on the issues people believe to be important and that reflects in the ratings.

Respecting Councillor performance, experience clearly counts. The best job was done by the senior politicians while the rookies did very poorly.

The worst job---again the rookies did very poorly.

Some surprises. Two Councillors that Gord Henderson seems to like best on his ratings, Brister and Gignac, both ranked very low. Councillor Halberstadt, you love him or hate him with no in-betweens. Notwithstanding the smear-job, the Senator, Councillor Cassivi, and Councillor Valentinis ranked very well.

The biggest surprises were Councillor Jones who ranked much higher than I thought and Councillor Zuk who ranked much lower than I thought. Two of the rookies, Councillors Postma and Lewenza were ranked about the same, towards the bottom of the list. Finally Councillor Wilson still has some fans, ranking higher than I would have thought, perhaps reflecting that he is not going to run again.

Looking at the Wards:

  • Ward 1—Should be wide-open for a challenger or two

  • Ward 2—Councillor Jones is fairly secure

  • Ward 3—Challengers should save their deposits and go elsewhere

  • Ward 4—The Senator is secure

  • Ward 5---It’s wide-open again

As for the Mayor’s race, it may be a replay of the last election if the respondents have their way: a three-way race among Eddie, Bill Marra and the Bacon Man! Overwhelmingly, respondents thought that Bill Marra would run.

While this is fun to experiment with, in the real world, the only poll that counts is on Election Day.

St. Clair College--Marriage On The Rebound

Was Eddie ever lucky that the St. Clair College strike intervened or else the presentation about St. Clair coming into the Cleary would have taken place several weeks before the April 26 date, a few days before his State of the City speech. What a remarkable co-incidence on timing eh!

Gord Henderson's column sounded like the speech only a "best man" would make at the wedding dinner when a toast is made to the Bride and Groom. Only the good is mentioned, not the bad.

From reading the column, one would never have guessed that this was not a marriage made in heaven or the Lobsterfest but rather a marriage on the rebound, born of necessity. St. Clair was not the first choice. You know what often happens with these kind of marriages when the parties wake up in the morning!

In case you do not recall, Eddie's first fiancee was the University of Windsor. Everyone thought they would be the perfect couple. He wanted her it seemed but something happened! Oh I heard the story about the nasty fight and how mad the University person was after meeting with the Mayor but in public, it was the usual break-up talk.
  • "Eighteen months after University of Windsor president Ross Paul proposed moving parts of the campus downtown, the idea appears dead.

    "Mr. Paul has a board to answer to and it's my understanding the suggestion to moving a campus downtown got a chilly reception with the board of governors out there," said Coun. Alan Halberstadt...

    "The economics didn't work out," Harbottle said. "We continue to review those options as opportunities come along."

    While the Cleary International Centre appears to be an ideal location because it will soon be vacant when the Casino Windsor expansion is complete, it would have to be renovated, which makes the site unaffordable right now, Harbottle said"

But then there was the "other girl" in the wings. Perhaps not as pretty and not as wealthy or as prestigious but at least available. When you need a wife, it's a marriage of convenience, not necessarily love.

"St. Clair College is interested in space downtown, but negotiations have not moved forward since interest was expressed, said Ann Hetherington, spokeswoman for St. Clair College" in September 2005. Now it looks like a deal will be consummated. [Strange though, the column said "both Francis and Strasser confirmed Wednesday that Night of the Lobsters was where this deal went on the front burner and got cooking" in May, 2005. Everyone wants to forget about that first girl!]

Obviously until there is a signed contract, one needs to be suspicious of a College that said it wanted to deal with the City. It pulled out once before in a deal over the Income and Security Building at the last minute and left the City at the altar but if they save our Mayor's Bacon, then all can be forgiven!

There are a few strange items in the column though that bother me.

First, isn't Eddie the Mayor of Windsor and isn't it his job to protect the assets of the taxpayers? If so, who gave him the right to do what Henderson suggested:
  • "I'm told Windsor persuaded the province to build a larger convention centre than it originally planned, on the condition that the city get out of the convention business."

Oh I see, help out a "private" business at taxpayer expense and turn the Cleary into a "white elephant" that we have to give away because of losses. Not only give away, but PAY to have someone take it off our hands. Oh yes, I know, I know, so many more jobs with the Casino , revitalize the downtown, it's only taxpayer money etc. etc. Perhaps if the Casino wanted no competition, then they could have helped out too. That's worth a buck or two I would have thought to their bottom-line so they could have thrown the City a few crumbs.

So now that we killed the Cleary, we know the real reason a deal has to be done regardless of what more it will cost:

"It's almost inconceivable, especially in an election year, that our elected representatives could turn thumbs down on downtown's main hope."

What a position to bargain from. Our "main hope!" No wonder St. Clair President Strasser "oozes confidence." He knows he can get "transitional aid and help with parking," since the City is losing $2,000 a day. Fortunately for us he wants "interim assistance from the city but nothing like the tens of millions of dollars other southern Ontario communities have doled out to attract post-secondary campuses. Kitchener, for instance, gave the University of Waterloo $30 million to locate its new school of pharmacy downtown." My goodness if we only give him a few million we are getting a special deal!

Strasser thinks he can turn it around by September 2007 but if he can't....

Who will dare vote against whatever it is that President Strasser demands and on which Eddie caved? It is the foundation of a "successful request for proposals for an urban village!"

Finally, the bus terminal deal wasn't really a dumb and a poor deal with Greyhound (and Councillor Budget better stop bellyaching about it already even though it makes little financial or business sense especially now that it is half the size it was before) because the "location was chosen with students in mind." No bus terminal, No students, No students, no Eddie re-election. No Eddie re-election....perish the thought!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Survey Says

I am trying an experiment with an online survey system to see how well it works.

If you get a chance today, please try it out! The survey is located at:


Chaos In The Star Editorial Ranks

The column by the Star Editor Marty Beneteau "Chaos on Huron Church" raises more issues in my mind than how to solve a traffic problem on that street.

As a politician, Eddie Francis could not have asked for a better friend than the Windsor Star, the leading influence maker in Windsor. Except for an incident involving the police early on and his notable desire for secrecy, I am hard pressed to recall anything that the Mayor has done that the Star has objected to, or if they objected, blamed him by name.

How then does one explain the Saturday column on the Editorial Page under the by-line of the Star Editor, Marty Beneteau. I checked and he has not written very many of them---one on “published photographs” that some think are in bad taste (in this case, a car crash on E.C. Row Expressway) one on Christmas Eve about “miracles" and one on a “mission to Israel, Palestine and Jordan.” It has to be a big event for which we have to take notice.

Is it nothing more than a slap at Eddie to do something on Huron Church? Perhaps. Of course there is the obvious---the “chaos on Huron Church” which will provoke many letters of approval since it is part of the border wars. It will also provoke letters such as this on the other side that a friend wrote to me:
  • “I commute on Huron Church every day. Beneteau's column is hysterical. My wife, who is a bit of a nervous driver, also uses HC almost daily, and rolled her eyes when she read it.

    This editorial is just more "scare mongering".

    I wonder sometimes if these people have ever been out of the city. There is nothing in our city to compare to Toronto, Detroit or other big City traffic hot spots.

    I think they lost "traction" on the "urgency" issue, the truck back ups etc, so now we will be treated to warnings about rolled mini vans and dying children.”
As I have warned you before, dear reader, to understand the Star in key stories, you must read to the end. And there towards the end are the key phrases:
  • Fifteen months after the Schwartz report screamed to "get trucks off city streets," nothing has changed - bloody nothing

    What will it take to get the rigs underground, returning the street to homegrown users?…

    Waiting for a new border route is not good enough. Haggling with politicians is pointless. We can use the laws of the road to protect ourselves - now.”

There was the reference to a tunnel—but hardly a mention since the Star knows that we are not getting a 14 KM one as well as we all do

Is it something more, something more dramatic? Clearly so.

There is the very subliminal message in the Column. It is a message which Eddie hates to deliver (as his comments at the Joint Councils meeting proved). After all, it spoils his operation of the Tunnel dream and shoots down his desire to direct where a new bridge must go.

One does not dare in Windsor give them any credit if one wants to be part of the "in-crowd." However, doesn't it come through loud and clear that there is no truck backup problem on Huron Church any longer.

Here is the "official" confirmation by the Star Editor no less that the Bridge Co. has done such a good job with its new Customs booths and making sure that they are staffed to keep traffic moving smoothly that the real problem on Huron Church is speeders as the Deputy Chief of Police had said before. Eddie has sat around for over 2 years with $300 million available and done nothing on fixing the road to the border such that we have to endure "trucks that think they're cars, cars that think they're at Indy and stoplights that get ignored like a flight attendant doing her pre-flight spiel."

It is an Eddie problem now and not that of the big, bad Bridge Co.! It is recognition, in spite of hazardous goods attack stories, that they have done their job while the Mayor has not! Politicians "haggling?" Not the Bridge Co. They did not snub the Senior Levels as our Mayor and Council did and for which we continue to suffer. In fact it was the Bridge Co. that sued the US Government to get those booths. They did not "haggle" but acted or else the border would be a mess still! I wonder if a "public" authority would have dared sue their Master

Does this mean that the Eddie/Star honeymoon finally is over? Is this a sign that the unanimity in the Star Editorial Board about the Mayor has collapsed and that a split has developed? Can it be that Beneteau finally understands why so many who worked so hard for Eddie Francis to be Mayor of Windsor are now so strongly against him and believe that Windsor can no longer afford to have him as Mayor, even for only one more term!

That is our Mayor: all talk and no action on anything. He is a true bureaucrat, process oriented not action oriented. He studies but never executes. He knew he failed on Schwartz 6 months before Schwartz finally went public with the "revised" Report, he deliberately scare-mongers when he knows we will never get a 14 km tunnel, he threatens lawsuits to stop everything in its tracks for years and yet he demands re-election. Reread my Blog, April 12, 2006, “An Icy Relationship.”

With all due respect, how the Star Editorial Board can continue to support a Mayor who cannot even fix the truck problem on Huron Church in the obvious way disappoints me.

Just as the Star took the dramatic step and changed its position on DRTP, it may be the time that it will change its position on Eddie Francis and lead the Draft Bill Marra for Mayor movement. What better time than just before or just after Eddie's State of the City Speech!

Perhaps Beneteau's column is designed not for us, dear reader, but for his own colleagues on the Star Editorial Board. Perhaps even he has had enough now too!