He is not dealing with small, timid downtown bar owners that he can push around with this issue. The Interim Control By-law, we now know thanks to Councillor Jones' slip, was introduced to achieve a number of objectives of the Mayor. None of them will be accomplished. And it had nothing to do with, as Gord Henderson said in his column today, "preserving one of the most significant historical and archeological areas in North America."
Eddie does not like it to appear that he has failed or lost anything since he is so success oriented. So there is Brian Masse, Eddie's NDP buddy, trumpeting the passing of Bill C-3. Brian's role in it was so insignificant. In fact he was ineffective in having most of his proposed amendments put into the statute as I have written before. Remember that many of his amendments were rejected as "INADMISSIBLE."
Masse introduced a number of amendments on behalf of the City of Windsor in the House of Commons. These were designed to give the City more control over the process if a new bridge was to be constructed. While the idea was laudable, there was too much City "overreaching." One Senator said that changes suggested by Eddie when he was in front of the Senators could "gut the entire bill."
The view taken by the members of the House and Senate during their hearings in this matter was that they were not prepared to give a municipality like Windsor a virtual veto over something that was Federal in nature. They would have none of it.
To be fair, a concession was given requiring the Minister to consult but what a concession:
- "The Minister may, if in the opinion of the Minister it is necessary having regard to all the circumstances, consult with the other levels of government that have authority in the place where the international bridge or tunnel is, or is to be, situated and with any person who, in the opinion of the Minister, has a direct interest in the matter."
For all of Brian's and Eddie's efforts not much was achieved. As for Eddie personally, Dan Stamper of the Bridge Co. was called "candid" while Eddie was called a "politician!" Eddie lost there too.
Now I have to admit that I forgot my cardinal rule when trying to figure out what Eddie is doing. Rarely take anything he says at face value. Look always for the hidden meaning.
I erred, I thought the Interim Control By-law was directed only at the Ambassador Bridge Co.. Clearly it is but Councillor Jones' speech told me I was wrong. It finally hit me that he was inadvertantly spilling the beans. He said that the Interim Control By-law was bigger than the Ambassador Bridge.
It took me a day to figure it out what the Councillor meant. Then I had another "eureka" moment. What the by-law meant to do was to thumb Windsor's nose at Ottawa and Toronto and to try to give Windsor the VETO power over the border that Eddie and Masse failed to get in Parliament. It was designed to thwart what the Feds wanted to accomplish. Stick it to them right in the eye.
Now that is a great way for Eddie to win friends. Instead of supporting Councillors Halberstadt and Brister, Eddie is undercutting them at the exact time they are trying to make friends with the Senior Levels. Demonstrate that Council is NOT united but pulling separately so again no one knows what Windsor's position is.
Would Windsor be successful in any Court challenge about the by-law? Unlikely given the passage of Bill C-3. (Odd isn't it...Masse hurt Windsor that way too by making it even easier for the Feds to beat us!) But Eddie must think that by introducing the Interim By-law that he can stall the process and muck it up until the Senior Levels blink. That must be his rationale for what he did. Would the Senior Levels fold...if they did, wouldn't every municipality try the same game on them. They cannot afford to let interim Eddie do what he is trying to achieve.
Why would Eddie meet only with Minister Cansfield for lunch yesterday. Weren't there any Federal Level people in Windsor yesterday who wanted a good meal? Eddie tried to get her onside to help him in his fight with the Feds I would think. Divide and conquer. As if the Province has the cash or authority to help him realistically. Does he forget that the Provincial Liberals need the Federal Conservatives' cash for the 905 subway extension in Toronto for their fall election!
Look at the timing of the by-law. Eddie could have introduced it at any time after October 30, 2006. Instead he waited until a late Friday afternoon just before the Commons was to vote on Bill C-3 and just before it would be proclaimed in law. That will show them who is boss in Eddie's mind. If Justice Department lawyers had to work on the weekend to prepare a preliminary opinion on the validity of the Interim By-law, they will not be too pleased and their answer may not be too friendly either.
I suggested before that there are rumours swirling around about the fate of the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel too. Was the By-law also designed to help Eddie out by having him mess up the border issue and then have him graciously agree to back off if the Senior Levels contribute to the Tunnel plaza improvements cost over-runs?
Of course, the interim by-law was designed to stop the Bridge Co. but Leon Paroian's "bad faith" speech and Dan Stamper's reminder that there is a public record of Eddie's comments may have scared him off. His backpeddling in the Star is proof of that. I trust that Stamper staring him down when Eddie tried to bully him taught Eddie a lesson in RealPolitik!
The Feds already figured out what Eddie's interim action is all about I am sure and will understand what the new Eddie lunch snub means. Can you imagine if Bill Marra's Tunnel Motion is passed? I would not be surprised to see the Senior Levels say to hell with Windsor and take their $300 Million and leave town OR impose a solution here that no one will want. It is all positioned to be Bill's fault if that happens. No wonder Henderson demands unity but does not state the consequences.
What a mess.....The Ambassador Bridge is angry, the Feds and Province are angry, MPs and Senators ought to be angry, Windsor residents ought to be infuriated as to the stealth manner in which the interim by-law was introduced, Council is split again. Who knows, perhaps Detroit is angry too now.
I think that Interim Eddie may well be advised by his Eminence Grise to back off a bit and be more involved with WrestleMania 23 photo ops such as the one taking place in Windsor on February 2 with WWE Superstars Hillbilly Jim(TM), CM Punk(TM), Carlito (TM)and Chris Benoit(TM). He won't get into any more trouble that way.