I am disappointed in the Windsor Star.
The Lansing hearings were on Thursday and here it is Monday and only now is the Star publishing a story on the speech of the Bridge Co.'s President at the hearings. As a story about the speech, at least I can say that it was factual. I must admit though that after all of this time, I was hoping for more. I had hoped the Star was going to investigate some of the behind-the-scenes manoeuvrings I identified in my BLOGs.
However, there were 5 key points that were not discussed by the Star story that Dan Stamper talked about that are relevant:
The Ambassador Bridge Gateway infrastructure in which Michigan and the US Government have invested hundreds of millions of dollars accommodated a twinned bridge next to the Ambassador Bridge for the last decade.
Unlike any other proponent, the Bridge Co. does NOT require a Presidential permit for its Twinned Bridge
The President through his designate, the Department of State, refused to grant his concurrence to DRIC's request to support "the conclusion that the centrally-located alternatives are the only practical alternatives for a new Detroit River International crossing"
The failure to obtain such concurrence has been hidden by DRIC for over 6 months.
Windsor roads to the border is the main problem left to solve
I was quite surprised when the Twinned Bridge project was not one of the DRIC finalists in November after all of the good things said about it previously and given the background of the Ambassador Gateway project. It seemed to make the most sense. Now perhaps we can understand why.
It had to be kicked out since it was the only one the President thought would be acceptable.
I am sure the feeling was that if it was no longer around, what option would he have other than the DRIC option? The Bridge Co.'s recent announcement about moving forward on their enhanced project I am sure shocked a number of the DRIC particiapnts. It probably threw a huge monkey wrench into their plans.
It also makes more sense now that the rejection was blamed on the Canadian side. In this way, the US side would not be at risk when asked how they can justify the spending of the money at the Ambassador Gateway project and then moving about a mile downriver, destroying Sandwich and Delray in the process, for a multi-billion dollar extravaganza. They would say it was Canada's choice and, therefore, Canada's fault! Now we understand why a route that the Ambassador Bridge never proposed and a plaza that they never wanted was used as the basis for rejection on the Canadian side.
Finally, the argument put forward that the Bridge Co. proposal should never even have been part of the DRIC process made little sense as well since it has been part of it for so long. It was needed if all else failed. It was meant to be a carrot to stop the Bridtge Co. from objecting. They were encouraged to move separately and privately out of the glare of publicity. The argument was designed to lull them into a false sense of security and to allow the DRIC members, wearing their other hats, to kill off the Bridge Co. project in separate EA hearings.
Everything was being done to make the Bridge Co. proposal disappear from view so the DRIC option would be the only one left. It was the only way to circumvent the Department of State! That is why the November letter was hidden.
I am amused as well by the difference between the public and private sectors. Those who support the building of a new crossing to be owned by the Government should read the remarks in Parliament by the various MPs. They will read about a litany of woes about infrastrucutre deficiencies respecting public bridges. They will read about concerns about financing them and paying for proper maintenance.
Contrast that with the Bridge Co. which has already spent, according to the Star, a half a billion dollars of its own money for its project and who will spend another $400 million of its money to pay for the enhancement to the crossing.
Who has put their money where their mouth is respecting the future of this region: the Bridge Co. who has actually invested cash or the Governments who promise and never deliver.
Perhaps now people will understand why the Bridge Co. feels as it does. The introduction of Bill C-44 and its re-introduction by the Conservative Government as Bill C-3 is an insult. Read the remarks of certain MPs carefully. The object of those Bills as far as I am concerned was to buy out the Bridge Co. assets by forcing a deal on them by threatening to put them out of business or ultimately to expropriate their assets after reducing their value by driving away their business. It's as simple as that.
I had hoped that the Star with all of its clout would have done some investigation to get at the truth. After all, isn't there a contest every year for newspaper awards that the Star tells us they win? Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps the Star is doing its job and we will read the big expose right before the next Lansing hearings this Thursday.