Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, May 25, 2007

How Interim Is The Interim By-law

War has been declared. And it is about to get very ugly.

The City may try to deny the Bridge Co. the right to demolish the homes it owns on Indian Road, or at least that is the Administration recommendation. Will the Mayor and Council vote in favour to deny?

Let's pretend and not take the Mayor and Councillor Jones seriously when they said:
  • the interim control bylaw was passed to maintain historically significant structures -- and there are plenty of them in the area -- while the community improvement plan is developed.

    Jones said a committee spent the last 18 months developing recommendations for the Sandwich area. He said some properties are 200 years old and the area could be the site of underground tunnels used by slaves escaping the U.S.
Let's also agree that the real purpose of the by-law is to stop the Bridge Co. or to put roadblocks to the Federal Government in what they want to do with the border crossing or both. Or rather to stall for as long as possible to force the parties to negotiate with the City. Just like with the tunnel from Highway 401 to the border!

I am not going to give a legal opinion in this BLOG, but I would think that the City's chances of being successful in stopping either are rather slim now that Bill C-3 has been proclaimed in law. I know, I know, I should ask what Brian Masse accomplished in Bill C-3 but you know the answer to that already.

Here are some excerpts from the Federal Government's Press Release that should explain why the City's position is shaky:
  • OTTAWA — Canada’s New Government today announced that the International Bridges and Tunnels Act, formerly known as Bill C-3, received Royal Assent today. This legislation will provide the federal government with the legislative authority to ensure effective oversight of the existing 24 international vehicular bridges and tunnels and nine international railway bridges and tunnels, as well as any new international bridges or tunnels built in the future.

    Jurisdiction for international bridges and tunnels was assigned to the federal government under the Constitution Act, 1867. Despite this, no clear authority existed to regulate matters concerning approvals for the construction of new, or the alteration of existing, bridges or tunnels; approvals for changes in ownership, operation or control; and issues concerning maintenance, operations, safety and security. In the past, most international bridges and tunnels were built only after a special act of Parliament was enacted.

    “This legislation will ... also provide the federal government with the powers to grant approval to build new international bridges and tunnels, to alter existing bridges and tunnels and impose necessary terms and conditions to protect the public interest.”


    Construction of international bridges or tunnels:

    As mentioned above, most of Canada’s international bridges or tunnels were created by way of a special act of Parliament...This new act replaces those special acts with a streamlined administrative process that will run in parallel with, or could be used to coordinate, the many permits that already have to be obtained. This new process should not delay any projects currently underway, but should help speed up the process.

    Alterations to existing international bridges and tunnels:

    In the past, any alterations to these international structures did not require governor-in-council approval. As part of this department’s mandate to protect the safety, security and efficiency of the transportation system, it is important that the federal government has the necessary oversight powers to ensure that any alterations to said structures do not in any way negatively affect or compromise the safety, security and efficiency of the system, including the flow of goods and services.

It should be clear on reading this that the Feds are absolutely adamant that they are in charge of the border. Even Ontario Minister Cansfield made a major concession in the Star:

  • "She said that since the border is largely a federal issue, she is in regular contact with her federal counterpart Lawrence Cannon."

Given the reality, the "interim" is over already. Even the Mayor has backed off with his "heritage" talk as the main purpose. One wonders why one needed this bylaw given the initiative of the City re Heritage Desgnation for Sandwich. That's a question that Eddie should answer.

It is up to the Three Musketeers to get the rest of their colleagues on side, or at least three of them so that a new Council majority can be formed. And to do it with or without the Mayor. If not, thousands of taxpayer dollars are going to be spent again on useless legal fees to try to stall both parties... And it is a stall only, to buy time for whatever pressure that Eddie thinks he can impose. It is a dangerous game that can cause unexpected consequences.

If Eddie wants to be another Hurst in his last year as Mayor who could never win a vote, as even Mike admitted in his last CBC interview, so be it! We need investment here, we need jobs here and we need an end to the border matter! Eddie should get onside or get out of the way.

I already heard that some Councillors are very upset about the way the Tunnel deal and the Schwartz involvement is being handled by the Mayor since they are out of the loop. It will be very interesting to see if Council will use this Bridge Co. request to show their displeasure to the Mayor! It would be a good way to get his attention on a small matter to teach him a lesson. In other words, will the kids stand up finally to the School Bully?

There is a sneaky part to all of this by the way that the Mayor may have thought of. Just be warned. I am not going to tell you until after the vote. My Mata Hari tells me that Councillors do not know about it yet. Perhaps, again, they may hear about it in the last second so that Eddie thinks he can maintain his iron control over them! It is a way out for everyone.

Just Doing More Thinking

When it is this warm out so early in the year, there is nothing better than sitting by the pool thinking deep thoughts such as these:


Councillor Halberstadt's BLOG over the DRIC road is really confusing me. He said:

1) "But first up is the decision on the Windsor route to the new bridge, which will see the 401 extended along the existing Huron Church corridor. The key is how this route will be constructed"

2) "City Council met privately last night and the night before to hash out its preliminary position on the DRIC blueprints. New York transportation guru Sam Schwartz, with a full team of technicians, is back in town and ready to engage in intense modelling with the provinces's engineers to hopefully find a compromise on the route's many nuances. "

So we learn that the DRIC corridor is to be used and that Schwartz is here to "compromise" the "nuances" whatever those are.

Now please excuse me but didn't Council demand that the entire corridor be tunnelled? Wasn't that the object of the Marra Motion? Isn't that how certain Council members got elected or re-elected? Wasn't that the basis for so many Henderson columns? Were Windsorites played?

In a letter to the Star, Councillor Marra quoted the Mayor:
  • "Why tunnelling is the best option. "If they are serious about the well-being of Windsorites, they (DRIC) can commit to a tunnel," stated Mayor Eddie Francis on March 29. I could not agree more with the mayor."

Oh well, the legal mind of the Mayor will find a loop-hole in the Marra Motion so big that you can drive a truck through it!


Oh I would hate to see the in camera vs public meetings report for the 2nd quarter of 2007! All of these secret border meetings with Sam Schwartz and his team. At least two days' worth. I wonder what the charges will be for Sam "with a full team of technicians."

I hear some of the reporters were very angry that they found out about the sessions on Councillor Halberstadt's BLOG. It's a tough way to make a living when you are scooped by a Councillor who attended the meetings. Their News bosses must be furious.

Why they allow themselves to be used this way is beyond me. While Eddie may love it, it would seem to me that the way to stop this practice is for the City Hall reporters not to attend anything to do with the Mayor and Council.

A reader sent me this note about the whole event:

  • "Doesn't it annoy anyone that Eddie waits until the 11th hour to pull these stunts? Why not have Sam start doing this work a year ago and give yourself lots of lead time to talk and negotiate with the DRIC. Nope - he waits until two weeks before they are set to release plans and flies in NY consultants and holds two-day strategy sessions. Ridiculous."


It's time that Marty Beneteau, Editor of the Star, slam the Mayor again.

Remember the vicious Guest Column he wrote, "Chaos on Huron Church" complaining about speeding on Huron Church

  • "You could do a brisk business peddling St. Christopher medals to the HC commuters forced to navigate 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...

    Huron Church serves up more where's-a-cop-when-you-need-one moments than any other.

    Take Thursday, 6:30 p.m. Southbound on HC, doing an acceptable imitation of the 60 km/h speed limit, I was approaching the light at Grand Marais. A guttural moan and the gleaming grey snout of a tractor-trailer appeared on my right. I'm being passed like yesterday's news, easily at 80 clicks."

Nothing seems to have changed as we read the other day about the car/truck collision involving a four-door Pontiac G6 that was overturned. We learned:

  • "Last month the Huron Church Road Enforcement Detail issued 131 traffic violations, including 65 tickets for speeding, 20 traffic signal violations and 46 other miscellaneous violations.

    "We are continually enforcing there,"

That echoed what the Deputy Chief of Police had said previously about his problem being speeders on Huron Church.

As I said once before:

  • "There is the very subliminal message in the Column...

    One does not dare in Windsor give them any credit if one wants to be part of the "in-crowd" but isn't one of the messages being delivered 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..."


Who knows what the real story behind this is. The Detroit News reported that:

  • "The [Detroit] council today opted to sell bonds to balance the city's $1.4 billion general fund budget, in lieu of leasing Detroit's share of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. Kilpatrick's team is negotiating a lease deal with the city of Windsor that could lead to a one-time payment to the city of $58 million, but the deal is not done....

    Kilpatrick has said he will approach the council for tunnel deal approval in mid- to late June."

Let's try and figure out what the possibilities are:

  1. Cliff Sutts figured out that the deal made little sense and that he had a risk since he "emphasized the deal will not be completed until he is fully assured local taxpayers will not be hurt. "We will be extraordinarily cautious so costs of the acquisition will be self-supporting of the project itself," he said. "That there will be no need to go to the well of the city to support this transaction."

  2. There never was a deal but this was done by Eddie to help out Kwame at budget time to beg forgiveness for seemingly supporting Freman Hendrix for Mayor. After all, Kwame knows Roger Penske better than Eddie

  3. Kwame (and Council) know Eddie desperately needs the deal. Now that they have suckered him in for US$75M, they may as well see how high they can get him to go.

  4. Kwame knows the Feds will put in a good chunk of the money...Next time they won't threaten him on a Tunnel deal as they did previously

  5. The City of Detroit wants to "relocate three sets of cement silos" for their waterfront project. Eddie was concerned that to make the move easier, Detroit "could fill [the Tunnel] up with cement and our investment would be lost."

  6. Eddie is so fixated on the Bridge Co. that he wanted them to know that anything they can do, he can do better. He can do anything better than them. Of course the money that he is using is our money, not his, but that is a quibble.

  7. Eddie is acting as an agent for DRTP which is trying to corner the tunnel market in Windsor.

  8. Eddie's new favourite reading is about the Chunnel's bankruptcy.

  9. Eddie needs the difference between the $75M and the $58M to help pay for the Engineering complex to get the University to move downtown into the urban village because certain Windsorites will not support a taxpayer levy similar to the hospital levy.

  10. Eddie needs a Tunnel, any tunnel, to get Gord Henderson off his back when Eddie reneges on building a tunnel from Highway 401 to the Ambassador Bridge. I mean, after all "If European engineers can burrow deep under the English Channel and connect Britain to the mainland for the first time in 8,000 years, Canadian engineers can surely find a way to dig a few kilometres along Huron Church Road. "

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Some Thoughts

Here are a few things that I and a few readers have thought about over the last few days:


Councillor Halberstadt's BLOG confirms what I told you already. Eddie needed him back since he has already done a deal with the Province and needs someone to take the hit. I wonder what Sam's fee will be for this job!

But Alan, tell us the real secrets discussed in camera. Don't give us just dribs and drabs to make it appear that you are letting us in on something.

You aren't part of the PR exercise to soften up poor Windsorites for the big news are you?

"This, for the time being, scuttles rumours that the process will be held up until after the provincial election in October, getting Liberal MPPs Sandra Pupatello and Dwight Duncan off the accountability hook.

Hardly. "But there is a hook..."

Everyone knows the border route...the issue is the bridge and plaza location. Which part of Sandwich will be destroyed is the key question outstanding.

If Schwartz is in town "to engage in intense modelling with the provinces's engineers to hopefully find a compromise on the route's many nuances." then we know why Eddie and Donnna Cansfield had a nice lunch recently!

Why else would Eddie say in his State of the City speech "We are continuing to work with the DRIC on a new border crossing solution" and never once mention the word "tunnel" in his speech!

There is no real decision coming out to embarrass Sandra and Dwight. We'll see Eddie and the Ministers hugging each other when DRIC and Sam support whatever it is that is going to be done.


Sam is Eddie's excuse for no tunnel from Highway 401 to the border. Alhtough there will be some tunnelling. He's the world famous transportation guru isn't he!

After all, we have a transportation hub, "shovel-ready" lands, a big brownfield redevelopment, a University urban village and an expensive East End arena to pay for! Never mind that we need huge provincial incentives for jobs.

Get real Alan....the border route works politically for Eddie, Sandra and Dwight. You read it here first... They will take credit for the thousands of construction and spin-off jobs that will be created.

In the end, it will be nothing other than a road to the Ambassador Bridge. But that won't happen until after the provincial election.

Now you know that Eddie never cared about a tunnel other than as a re-election gimmick and why the wording on Councillor Marra's tunnel motion had to change!

Now THAT'S real politics!


This guy is varied.

Not only is he the border writer, but he did he City Hall beat for awhile and was a "talking head" (or is it a "speaking head") on a radio interview show. Now he is critiquing films.

But if you are a loyal reader, after seeing above about Halberstadt's BLOG, you know that the front page scare story is aimed at the Ambassador Bridge and any road to that bridge.

It's just like the cheap shot on "cancer" in the Engineering Building story:
  • "He said the testing might not detect other dangers in the air from fuel residue, Ambassador Bridge truck fumes and solvents used in the machine shops and research labs."

Stay tuned for more of the same now for several more weeks!


What's going on with Detroit Council over the Tunnel deal? Should Eddie be concerned that they may want to cement their side? Are they furious at his insensitive remark?

Today's Detroit News reported that

  • "The City Council is scheduled today to consider a city budget boosting Detroit's deficit to $89 million and setting aside a controversial plan to lease the city's half of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

    Council members have opted to include the sale of $58 million in bonds to help finance the proposed 2007-08 budget, instead of leasing Detroit's share of the tunnel as Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick had proposed. No deal has been reached on a tunnel lease."

Is this for real OR is Detroit so aware that Eddie is desperate for a deal that the price will increase from US$75M to $US100-125M or more? And will Eddie go along with it since he cannot be seen to have failed.

I can just hear his excuse in going higher---"Oh, the $75M was just a starting price. I knew we would have to pay more." If that was the case, why didn't he start at the $25M, a bit more than the Bridge Co. said it was worth!

I really would like to see what the City's advisors said the Tunnel is worth!


Is it true that there is ahe legal battle brewing between the City and the contractor on the new Huron Lodge project. Has the contractor placed a lien on the property?

Oh well, I told you that lawyers are going to make a fortune in fees on City deals.

Was the contractor at fault? If so, has the City sued him? Have the contractor and the City sat down to try and resolve the outstanding issues?

We know that the project is "more than a year behind schedule." Councilor Gignac

  • "chairwoman of the committee of management for Huron Lodge, said the city has sought the help of a lawyer specializing in construction law. "We want to make sure we recover our costs" resulting from the delay, caused by mould that had to be removed and a shortage of building trades." [Note that SOL FURER, President,Essex Kent Building Trades said to the Councillor in a Letter to the Editor "If you think there is a skilled trades shortage in this city, you must also believe in the tooth fairy."]

The losers in this are all of the small sub-trades that are being held hostage for their holdback money while at the same time they starve in this city for work.

Just curious...does the City’s "pay as you go" policy have any impact on this?


I heard this silly comment that the drawings for the arena are not finalized yet. Surely, this cannot be true.

If it is, then how do we have any idea how much the arena will cost in the end?


They must have been since Eddie spoke so long. They must have missed this part:

  • "We need to tell our story.
    But before we do … we need to accept responsibility.
    And realize that every action, every word, every report, every headline, or news story…
    Every conversation…
    Everything we say or do…
    Impacts our city’s reputation – for better or for worse.
    It starts with us. Each and every one of us.
    We are all Chief Public Relations Officers of the City of Windsor.
    Negative messages travel at the same speed as a text message or information on the internet.
    Negative news lands on the desks of corporations and investors all over the world – hand delivered by our competition- leaving a distorted perception about our City in the minds of important decision makers.
    It leads many people outside our city to believe things about Windsor that are simply not true...
    Your City Council is investing in a new branding initiative, that will help crystallize and define what makes us great, and what makes us different from other cities with whom we compete for jobs, tourists, and people.
    Our brand is more than a logo. It is our personality. It helps to communicate who we are to the world.
    But it’s everyone’s responsibility to promote Windsor.
    We all need to be walking advertisements for the City of Windsor. Speaking and reporting about the good things Windsor has to offer, to our neighbours, our co-workers, our friends – everyone.
    It’s time for a new mentality in Windsor. One where we always ask ourselves if our words and our deeds help our city’s image – or hurt it.
    Working together – on our common interests – is no longer an option. It is a necessity...
    Others are listening. Others are watching us. The old era of airing our dirty laundry in public is over.
    We must unite.
    We will build upon our strengths. And we must show the world a proud, confident, and forward-looking Windsor."

Hmmmm perhaps Eddie was asleep as well as he was delivering it. If not, one wonders why he allowed so many Councillors to go on and on with their Statements at the end of the Council meeting telling us what we already know---how bad things are here!

Sure they were trying to support the Jobs rally but as a reader writes:

  • "Well, you would have thought that the sky was falling at the end of last night’s Gruntfest meeting @ City-small. If Windsor has any intention of a “branding exercise” in the near future, our councilors sure did a good job of presenting a half – filled glass.

    Why would anyone want to come to Windsor, let alone invest with such a litany of doom and gloom? Has anyone realized that these messages penetrate the core of our existence and seep out throughout North America?

    We are all aware of the jobless rate here and the impact on the economy of the city, but do we want to air our laundry in public? (again) It’s just another example of a lack of positive spin, a spin that could make everyone and everything around us feel better. City Hall is sending a catatonic message to all that will listen and that’s the first critical error.

    Anyone who understands marketing and advertising knows that you highlight the positives and downgrade the negatives. Sell the sizzle! It’s no surprise that in the years that I have been back here no viable brand has been found. Everyone is too busy burying their heads in the sand yelling “the sky is falling.” And jumping on the entitlement bandwagon.

    I work for myself and I make things happen. I depend on no one and nothing to make my mortgage payments. I have no benefits or RRSP. But my life is controlled by me and I like it that way. I am the author and I can’t finger point and make any excuses if I run short. Through good and bad times, my standard of living remains steady and stable.

    We have much to sing praises for and it’s time our Council woke up and stopped their whining and complaining and actually took a step forward by doing something worthy. Everyone around the council chamber seems to have lost their voice!"

How Ineffective Is Brian Masse

Let's see now how much you have learned about politics and the Windsor Star after reading this BLOGsite for so long.

You know that the Star's approach to its role is:

  • "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."
In other words, the end justifies the means. Accordingly, the Star has a mission and will use its position as the leading media outlet in Windsor to accomplish its goal. The fun for you, dear reader, should be to figure out what the Star wants to do and to see how it tries to accomplish it.

Let's use a specific example----you know what it is going to be---and to see how the Star plays the game. This time the game is a bit more difficult because the results so far are secret and we will not know the actual facts for some time.

The issue is the border (surprise, surprise) and the story is from Tuesday's Star
  • "Border woes highlighted
    Politicians see need for bridge"

This was the story about the weekend trip to Windsor of more than two dozen members of the Canada-U.S. Inter-parliamentary Group meeting

Of course, our Brian has to be made the hero. But the question is what did Brian accomplish if anything. How many readers believe that Brian accomplished many of you, hands up....Hmmm none of you.

You are getting smarter.....Here's how to figure out that the meeting was a disaster for him and how the Star spins stories:

  1. The location---Page 3 and not a huge headline on Page 1. The front page was begging for some big story other than "Fish face identity crisis"
  2. The headline---why was it about "woes" that everyone knows about and not Brian's success
  3. The need for a bridge----did you see the word "public" or DRIC used to modify bridge
  4. Roads have to be modernized---where was the word tunnel? The only roads that need fixing up are on the Windsor side so Eddie and the Senior Levels were made the problem to the border again
  5. Sub-committee was established---shuffle it off, a true poltiical solution.
However, the big item that was not discussed except at the end of the story, as is usally the case in the Star as you know:

  • "The resolutions made this weekend will be carried back to Ottawa and Washington."

What no mention of what the resolutions said? No "leak." No big victory statement. We'll see what they said when they are released publicly but it is no victory for the NDP MP so far.

Oh I forgot one last matter....Did you note what was omitted from the story. Surely you can guess. "Ambassador Bridge." Not one negative word in the story about the Bridge Co. even though there was a bus tour of Sandwich.

Wow, the West end activists and politicos will be unhappy with Brian over that!

Masse's Massive Success

Breaking BLOG news........Here is the followup story. Here is proof of how ineffective my NDP member, Brian Masse is!

Honestly, I don't make this stuff up. No one has an imagination this good.

If you read the Star, you'd think that the border was high on the priority list for the Legislators who came to Windsor over the week-end.

Au contraire mes amis.

IF you can find any story at all in the media on this meeting, this is what was viewed as important and it's not our border crossing:

Press Release
  • "Congressman Paul Hodes is in Windsor, Ontario in Canada today to take part in a series of discussions on trade and environmental issues...

    Among the topics to be discussed is the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which requires all citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico and Bermuda to have a passport or other accepted document."

The Star Tribune reported:

  • "Chairs of the Canada-U.S. Inter-parliamentary group, Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., were in Canada over the weekend for the group's 48th annual meeting.

    Major discussion topics on the agenda were the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, Great Lakes water quality and climate change."

FOX Detroit and CTV news said

  • "Canadian, U.S. Legislators Meet to Discuss Issues

    Canadian and U.S. legislators met in Windsor, Ontario over the weekend to discuss border security and other issues important to people living on both sides of the border.

    The agenda included discussions of new passport rules, Great Lakes pollution, invasive species and softwood lumber."

I was shocked...Where was Brian's big accomplishment reported. I decided to go to the source himself:

  • To: Brian Masse
    Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 4:09 PM
    Subject: Canada-U.S. Inter-parliamentary Group Resolution

    I would appreciate if you would provide me with a copy of any resolutions passed this weekend at the meeting of the Canada-U.S. Inter-parliamentary Group meeting in Windsor.

    I would appreciate a copy of all resolutions as introduced with any amendments that were finally agreed to."

Nothing yet but I did receive the Press Release on the meeting from the Association Secretary. Naturally, I assumed the issue would be right at the top of the release and that I would see several paragraphs about this vital issue. WRONG.

I'll let you read through it and find the mention for yourself. Don't might miss it!

Once you locate the story, see where it is positioned and judge the size of it compared with other matters. You decide how important this was and whether the Star coverage reflected what this story was all about.

Sophocles would be proud!

  • N E W S R E L E A S E



    “We are committed to moving forward on issues that affect the bilateral relationship”

From May 18-21, 2007, members of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group met in Windsor, Ontario for the Group’s 48th Annual Meeting. The meeting was attended by four U.S. Senators and 10 members of the U.S. House of Representatives as well as by two Canadian Senators and 16 members of the House of Commons. The list of delegates is attached.

“This meeting involved the candid exchange of views that always characterizes our annual meeting,” said Senator Jerry Grafstein, Senate co-chair of the Group. “We are very committed to working together in resolving issues on which we may not agree and in looking outward to the global factors that affect our bilateral relationship and North America’s place in the world. Certainly, a number of very important issues were discussed during our plenary and committee sessions, and we were able to identify a number of priority items for the year ahead.”

Mr. Rob Merrifield, M.P., House of Commons co-chair, continued: “We were especially pleased to welcome a number of new delegates from the United States and, in particular, Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota, the new U.S. Senate co-chair. We were also happy to see that our friend Representative Jim Oberstar, also from Minnesota and a long-time member of the Group, has become the House of Representatives co-chair. I join Senator Grafstein in noting that the frank discussion resulted in the identification of areas where we need to work together, both domestically and internationally.”

During the plenary and committee sessions, delegates agreed to the following:

The Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group recommends that the Departments of Homeland Security and State develop and implement the regulations for the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) in a manner which minimizes border delays, harm to business and tourism, and inconvenience for individuals. Delegates urge the U.S. Administration to intensify cooperation with Canada to identify mutually agreeable documentation requirements and ensure a common vision for WHTI implementation. Consultation with stakeholders in the business community, and outreach to the general public, will also be necessary for smooth implementation of the regulations.

Recognizing the growing problem of intellectual property theft, the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group supports reciprocal provisions which would ensure that such theft – including camcording in movie theatres – constitutes a criminal offence. Adequate human and financial resources should be devoted to the enforcement of provisions in respect of counterfeited and pirated goods, particularly at the shared border.

The Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group supports a science-based approach in respect of North American and international trade in cattle and beef products.

The Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group recognizes the enormous sacrifice of those Canadians and Americans serving in Afghanistan as part of the United Nations (UN) mandated international mission to stabilize that country. Delegates affirm the importance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), based on its historical role as the primary transatlantic mechanism for the preservation and expansion of liberty and democracy. Delegates believe that all NATO allies must accept adequate burden-sharing and recognize the challenges of trans-national threats.

The Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group recognizes climate change as an important issue. Individual citizens as well as nations – including developing nations – must be good stewards of the environment. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is critical to our sustainable future and will require efforts by all nations.

The Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group recognizes that a cooperative approach to develop a North American Energy Strategy and solutions is critical. Our future energy security will depend on conservation and the development and implementation of new technologies. The transfer of technology globally will help to address the global problem of air pollution and climate change. Both countries should be encouraged to become world leaders in: conservation; carbon dioxide capture and sequestration; coal gasification; efficient use of fossil fuels; and development and implementation of a wide variety of alternative energy sources. Delegates support efforts by North American trade partners to work toward an energy security plan characterized by self-sufficiency. This plan should focus on both renewable and non-renewable energy sources, and should contemplate minimum standards for renewable energy.

The Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group urges Canada and the United States to find a way to resolve the outstanding issues surrounding the subject of pre-clearance at our border.

The Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group recognizes the need for an additional crossing at Detroit-Windsor and encourages the expediting of its construction.

The Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group urges the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States, within the framework of the existing international agreements, to declare a bilateral commitment to the restoration of the Great Lakes and that a compromise plan be agreed upon between Canada and the United States to achieve this restoration.

The 48th Annual Meeting concluded with agreement on the following statement:

The North American space we share exists within a global context. We work together to ensure North American competitiveness and prosperity, as well as a rising standard of living and quality of life for all our citizens. To ensure this outcome, we must look beyond our North American boundary and assess worldwide events affecting us.

The Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group believes there are looming issues that have yet to be mutually explored. We will monitor them as they affect our bilateral relationship. These issues include: the global environment and climate change; emerging transnational security threats; and manufacturing developments that have economic and trade consequences.

The Group’s aim is to find points of convergence in our respective national policies, initiate dialogue on points of divergence, encourage the exchange of information, and promote better understanding between Canadian and American legislators on shared issues of concern.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Better Than 1,000 Words

Jim Bessey at Frost Byte Studios created this photo. He graciously allowed me to use it saying "I see my picture has been making the rounds... The internet is amazing it never ceases to amaze how quickly info..moves... I have no problem with you using my photo."

Normally he creates photo layouts for "enthusiasts of classic cars, street rods, race cars, antiques, motorcycles of all types, boats, planes just about anything that moves. " Check out his website at and see if he can do some work for you!

The photo says it all. After listening to the Councillors making statements last night at Council in support of the rally for jobs on May 27, I was disgusted to be honest.

For almost five years, this Mayor and Councillors have played border games and have prevented anything significant happening here.

Seriously, who gives a damn about the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel. It seems to be the Mayor's priority for reasons that have nothing to do with the border but for financing his extravaganzas. You know the ones---the countless millions for the East End arena, "shovel-ready" land at the airport and now the undisclosed millions for the University urban village ie the new taxpayer levy {sigh}

The Tunnel deal may be at risk now if Detroit Council butts in to block Kwame's deal. As the Star said today
  • "We have a May 24 deadline to approve the budget and ... it's highly unlikely that we're going to get a tunnel deal by then," Cockrel said.
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick doesn't seem to care since it is not a core asset for him. His spokesperson said
  • "Even if we don't have a deal by then, it's not the end of the world," he said."
Our local politicians' positions are absurd as they chase away investors from this region. One would think that a Council that see its major industry dying would have taken action more quickly on economic diversification Instead, we spend years to find gazelle feeders whose philosophy makes no sense at all in a town where gazelles are leaving for greener pastures in Kentucky as an example.

We should find out on Monday which Councillors have guts and will stand up to the Mayor. Will any support the Bridge Co.'s initiative to demolish homes? Demolishing is not the issue, dealing with the Bridge Co. is.

Thousands of jobs can be created here for infrastructure--road to the bridge--and bridge building never mind spin-off jobs to support this work.

What do our Mayor and Council do instead---spend millions of taxpayer dollars to fight the "enemies!"

I had one reader write today about "a petition to recall their lazy *** A****... Anyway I can help the cause count me in!"

Windsorites are getting restless! And with good reason. Perhaps it's time more readers started to put pressure on Council!

Letters To The Blogmeister

Here are more....I am waiting for the one that you want to send

1) Eddie's Legacy for Windsor

Up until a few weeks ago, you gave us your feelings on Eddie in your own subtle (sic.) way. It appears recently though that your concerns, like most of your readers, have increased significantly through your even greater "no-holds-barred" approach. Forget about the specific issues, it's Eddie's character and inexperience that are really the problem. Keep this stronger approach up as there is a growing number of Windsor (or Alberta) residents who are beginning to see through the Windsor Star's slant on things.

Eddie has four major faults:

1) He loves himself and thinks that he has the solutions to all of the
city's problems.
2) Politics is what drives Eddie. He could care less about the residents of
3) Listens to inept advisors, paid or otherwise, but cannot make a decision.
He is too inexperienced and lacks business savvy. The Windsor Star has
created this monster.
4) Eddie is not a leader. A leader is one that can motivate through
persuasion, not by fear. He hires his own puppets (yes men) and no one on
council is willing to take the political (Windsor Star) repercussions for
standing up to him.

There are many supporters of Eddie who look at their own wealth or prestige first and know that Eddie cannot get the job done in these extremely tough times. I am hoping that their conscience will eventually tell them that the decimation of Windsor is coming and it may be the right time to jump off Eddie's band wagon. This applies to the Windsor Star also.

So many jobs have been lost in Windsor because of Eddie's ego. So much taxpayer money has been wasted because of his inexperience. Windsor cannot afford this any longer. The time required to clean up Eddie's legacy after he hopefully leaves by the end of this term will scar this community for many, many years.

I'm not sure how Eddie can sleep at night knowing the damage that he has caused.

2) Just read the Windsor Star and the Brian Masse love-in about modernizing the border. I understand MP Masse's educate outsiders that have some sort of influence, to take a look at the border and get a feel for what goes on. But I think a bigger question needs to be raised after reading this article. And that is "Is the Windsor Star relevant anymore or should they disappear"?

- witness the headline and the substance of the article about modernizing the border. The border is more than the Bridge. It's the tunnel too and I was looking........NO...straining for any mention of that. Did the Star omit something here......or even a mere mention of the train tunnel. That counts too.

- The Michigan half of the Bridge is modernizing. They are completely re-doing their ingress/egrees to the Bridge. I have read articles in the Detroit News and Free Press about it. Come July, the party even starts and Windsor commuters will discover this pretty soon.

Question: Was nobody at the Windsor Star allowed to mention this or talk about this or do they even know (but of course they do...)

Let's switch subjects and start a new game on Windsor City Blog. It can be played every few weeks or even once a month and its called "Are you smarter than a City Councillor"? Questions will be drawn up from the previous weeks leading up to the game and all who read Windsor City Blog can join in. Even Eddie.

3) Still no mention in the media about the Sewer Surcharge implications to the 35% increase in the water rates for WUC. Based upon the 180% of water rate sewer surcharge, the 35% increase adds $12-15M annually to City coffers. Due to similar timing, this would have been anticipated in the City's budget or are they planning on reducing the 180% back to 140% as it was before Eddie became mayor. I think not.

Windsor supplies water to LaSalle and now to Tecumseh. What is the impact on their charges going forward? I would doubt that Gary McNamara would not have assumed this eventuallity when he negotiated the contract with Windsor a few years back and would have protected the Town of Tecumseh through its agreement. Is it now possible that large industrial users in Windsor will be paying a much higher rate for water than the Town of Tecumseh???

4) Even if/when Windsor takes over control of the other side of the tunnel, that does not mean it will stay open.
They could "fill it with cement" or even just use cement dividers and Windsor would be running a tunnel with one entrance for the next 75 years.
There is no guarantee. If anybody says that they are foolish.
Seems like an extraordinary risk.
I guess you can do that when it's not your money.
I think fear takes over and inexperienced futility causes an extreme hazard.
Prudent fiscal responsibility.
Accountability is no good unless you look in a mirror.
Transparency is when you don't want to be found.

5) [An interesting observation by Warren Buffett as posted in the Star that Councillors and University of Windsor Board members should remember]

"Q: How should a board of directors function with a company?

Buffett: "Overwhelming the job of the board is to have the right CEO; that takes care of 90 per cent of itself. And you have an obligation to make sure there's no over-reaching by the CEO, because the CEO can have different interests. The third thing a board should do is bring independent judgment in on major acquisitions."

A Press Release And A Trucker 101 Quiz

Has the Bridge Co. learned something and will Brian Masse ever learn?

Dan Stamper admitted on Face-To-Face that the Bridge Co. did a good job operating the bridge but did a poor job communicating to the public what they were doing. Obviously the Bridge Co. is a "quick learn" by demonstrating they now how to do something with public relations. The 2 1/2 page spread with a front page colur photo in the Globe and Mail is proof of that!

To continue forward and build on their momentum, they are now starting to issue press releases more often. Here's the latest one and why it's significant:

  • Comdata(R) Card Now Accepted at Ambassador Bridge

    BRENTWOOD, Tenn., May 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Comdata(R) Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ceridian Corporation, has announced the Comdata Card is now accepted at the Ambassador Bridge, the international crossing located between Detroit, Mich. and Windsor, Ont. Drivers can now swipe a Comdata Card to pay for tolls. Product fees apply.

    "Comdata is pleased to expand our transportation expense management footprint so drivers can pay electronically and minimize cash advances," said Scott Phillips, senior vice president and general manager, Comdata. "Trucking companies will be able to better manage their driver expense, because the data elements will be captured and reported back, just like fuel purchases."

    "We are very excited about our relationship with Comdata and the new opportunity that allows drivers to just swipe and go," said Dan Stamper, president of Ambassador Bridge. "This is yet one more tool that will speed up the process of crossing between the U.S. and Canada. Drivers no longer need to carry cash or worry about lost receipts."

Pretty boring to most of us I bet (but not to truckers). The point is that the Bridge Co. is telling the world that they are moving forward with their enhancement program through the press release. It is meant to signal to Transport Canada to work with them finally or to become irrelevant as the City of Windsor has become except as an irritant.

Speaking of irritations, how would you like to have been a trucker crossing the border as this happened. The Detroit News reported:

  • "Traffic backed up at Blue Water Bridge coming into the U.S.
    Santiago Esparza / The Detroit News

    There are delays about 8:45 a.m. this morning of as long as two hours to cross the Blue Water Bridge into the United States.

    Blue Water Bridge Authority officials said heavy commercial vehicle traffic is causing the delays. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are heavy traffic days, the officials said.

    The Ambassador Bridge early this morning also experienced heavy traffic but it cleared up by 8:55 a.m., officials said."

Let's give Brian Masse a little quiz:

  • Trouble with US Customs at the border
  • Ambassador bridge truck backup cleared up by 8:55 AM
  • Blue Water bridge truck backup is 2 hours at 8:45 AM
  • Cost of operating a truck about $125 per hour
  • Cost of tolls higher at the Ambassador Bridge and all kinds of stoplights on Huron Church Road

Brian, you are a trucker and can choose either crossing, one "private" and one "public." Which one would you choose?

Poor Brian, I wonder if he would still say Blue Water. He just does not understand about ensuring that your border traffic flows smoothly and investing dollars to make sure that continues. I guess he would prefer our crossing to be like the one in Sault Ste. Marie:

  • "Like most toll facilities, the International Bridge gets no government subsidies for operations and maintenance.

    It forced the Joint International Bridge Authority to announce an April toll hike including a $3 US per axle increase for trucks and buses.

    Becker would welcome more trucks to raise money for new facilities. But more traffic also means the bridge takes a heavier physical pounding.

    “They (truckers) pay the higher toll because they literally take a toll on the bridge with their axle loads.”

    His engineers estimate the 45-year-old structure needs $115 million US for painting, replacing the concrete decking and to reconstruct the American toll booth plaza."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Here's The Latest News

Here is the latest news about the key events in our region from BLOG Central:


I am sure that you saw the front page story in the Windsor Star:

  • Parliament Buildings crumbling
    Maria Cook, Tuesday, May 22, 2007

    OTTAWA - The Parliament Buildings are in such bad shape a minor earth tremor or lightning strike could set off an avalanche of stone and brick that could injure or kill someone, says one of Canada's leading stonemasons.

    "The state of disrepair is truly alarming," said Robert "Bobby" Watt, whose projects include the Library of Parliament, Centre Block and the Ontario legislature.

    "There's $500 million in emergency repairs that needs to be done now before people get killed. You can't just let it fall down."
I wonder if Brian Masse and/or Jeff Watson will stand up in the House and ask a question during Question Period to ask the PM or Minister of Transport if the damage is due to trucks going through the Ottawa/Hull region on the way to the Ambassador Bridge.

May as well blame that on the Bridge Co. too! Everything else is blamed on them.


I feel like an announcer at a basketball game.

"Ladies and gentlemen,

Here are your world-champion, 2007 Windsor City Council priorities:
  1. improving the city's branding and image [hiring a staff of PR flacks for the Mayor]

  2. improved relations with Essex County to enhance regional marketing [Work for the gazelle feeders]

  3. beginning a service delivery review [son of 311...whatever happened to Citistat? Union busting at its finest coming up. Will Junior support it?]

  4. a new engineering school for the University of Windsor [Can you say our new urban village]

  5. the city's broadband capabilities through the Maxess fibreoptic network [I had a client who was prepared to do this several years ago at its cost and which would have made Windsor a "showcase" city. I am still waiting for a Maxess quote].
I am not sure what happened to the border, increasing reserves, the arena , the Tunnel deal, the transportation hub, developing "shovel-ready" land, jobs, jobs, jobs as concerns.


From what I hear from my inside moles, morale is quite low still at City Hall. However, if you want a good-paying job and want to live here, then if you are a public servant, you "grin and bear it."

It gets somewhat concerning however when people like John Tofflemire and Brenda Andreatta decide to pack up and go.

Now let's give people a real shocker...which two senior managers are rumoured to be actively seeking new positions? With all of those resumes out there, expect more announcements about personnel changes and retirements


Take a look at By-law 68-2007

  • "A By-law to rescind the appointments of Brenda Andreatta as Clerk and George Wilkki as Acting Clerk, to appoint Helga Reidel as a Deputy Clerk, and to appoint Gary Cian and Steven Vlachodimos as Acting Clerks"
The interesting part was appointing Helga Reidel as Deputy Clerk. It seems unusual to have the supervisor of the two Acting Clerks appointed as their Deputy. Could the purpose be to have her attend the closed meetings since she is part of the senior management group and avoid having an impartial statutory officer i.e. the Clerk present.

Did Brenda Andreatta as Clerk attend those meetings?


As at 12:15 PM on May 22, 11,925 is the number of hits on the Ambassador Bridge animation of its new enhancement project. If you still have not seen it, go to

For a different version of the animation that shows the minimal impact on Sandwich, go to and click on "View Fly Over Rendering." It's even better.


It's a double whammy!

Our delay over the border is falling right into the hands of the economic isolationists in the US. Instead of making it easy for traffic to flow, we are making it harder through petty Windsor Mayoral irritants.

Not only that, we are making it easy for our gazelles to leave us too since we cannot match the incentives of US states.

Here is part of what the Times of London wrote about the desire to end free trade in the US. I guess that means traffic numbers won't grow according to the DRIC projections and may even decrease.

That's OK...Let's still spend billions on a new bridge!

The end of free trade as we know it
Irwin Stelzer

SO it does indeed end with a whimper rather than a bang. Free trade, I mean. Thanks to a president too weak politically to withstand the protectionist surge of a Democratic Congress, the era of ever-freer trade has come to an end. It expired quietly, with few mourners, and with some of those who have done it in claiming that the corpse is alive and well...

The deal, still subject to congressional approval, is this. The Democrats will agree to approve two minor trade agreements, one with Peru and the other with Panama, in return for a Republican agreement to include in trade pacts a series of environmental and labour-market “reforms”...

More important is what this deal signals about the shift in the balance of political forces that determine future trade policy. Until now, the administration’s supporters of free trade have been able to fight off Democrats’ attempts to incorporate these restrictions in trade agreements. No longer...

In one sense, the free-trade advocates in the administration have nobody to blame but themselves. They have been unable to craft and to explain programmes to transfer some of the gains of free trade to those who suffer from it ...That created an opportunity for critics to claim that globalisation and free trade raise corporate profits and executive pay, while exposing ordinary workers to competition from dollar-a-day labourers in Asia and Latin America.

Then there is China, increasing its wealth and, equally important, its political power on the back of an export boom sustained in part by an undervalued currency...

Trade-union leaders disagree: no trade deals so long as Bush is president or, better still, never. John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, America’s largest trade-union confederation, has promised to oppose any trade agreement with South Korea or Colombia, as well as any extension of Bush’s fast-track authority. With elections pending, that matters.

All of this is a pity. Just when the falling dollar is boosting American exports, a tit-for-tat trade war, closing markets to US goods, is the last thing a slowing American economy needs.


Speaking of spending billions on a public bridge, here is an interesting story.
A public bridge in Michigan means that up to $1.5 billion or so is needed (Michigan's share is 20% while the Feds need cash for the War in Iraq) and about $2 B in matching Federal grants are lost. Do you really think that is going to happen?

Michigan's budget hole deepens to $600M
State budget director calls number a 'wake-up call'
Chris Andrews, Lansing State Journal, May 19, 2007

State government's budget hole grew by about $100 million Friday after top financial officials downgraded Michigan's already grim financial outlook.

The new revenue estimates leave the state confronting a $600 million problem in this year's general fund budget, up from $500 million.

In addition, the state faces a $200 million shortfall in money for public schools, even though the school year is almost over.

"This is a pretty clear wake-up call. We are almost to the fourth quarter of the fiscal year," state budget director Robert Emerson said. "I think there's more pressure on all of us to figure out a solution."

Gov. Jennifer Granholm and legislative leaders have been battling over the budget for months. The big stumbling block: whether to raise taxes.

It's still too early to tell whether the solution - or the lack of one - will lead to a partial government shutdown or other temporary layoffs this summer.

The Court of Appeals already has said it will close for four two-day periods, most of them revolving around holidays. Similar plans could be in store for other state employees.

"If we are going to do it, it will be done pretty soon," Emerson said.

But he said savings from a shutdown are limited because programs that protect the public - such as prisons, state police and child protective services - would have to continue.

Granholm has said she wants the complete budget solution in place by June 1.

Solutions grow more difficult by the day. That's because with each passing day, there is less time to spread out budget cuts or raise revenue from any tax increases."

Shot Heard Round The Region

Oh it is not as dramatic as "the shot heard round the world," the shot that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand and marked the beginning of World War I but it is just as significant for the region.

Years of fighting and not addressing the border issue will not only damage Windsor's image world-wide but will hurt the region as well and the Canadian and US economies based on the stats from the US Government Report I quoted the other day. The Ambassador Bridge is by far the biggest and most successful border crossing in North America.

Instead of sharing in their success and building on it for the good of the region, some people, including those in positions of power, want to put them out of business for their own selfish purposes and are prepared to spread misinformation to do so.

It is all so bizarre to me. It just does not seem right.

Are our local Councillors, regional and Senior Level politicians and those in Michigan and Washington too blind to understand this yet? Do the not understand that the exodus from the region of people looking for work and businesses pulling up stakes to move away is a major problem? Haven't they figured out that hurting the Ambasssador Bridge kills Ontario-Michigan trade? Do they care if even if they do?

We have heard about the behind-the-scenes actions by the City of Windsor to try and stall off the Bridge Co. from building their enhancement project. The City is continuing to spend millions of taxpayer dollars in legal and consulting fees to fight their "enemy." We hear after the fact, after it is discussed for hours in camera, about Estrin's presentation to the US Coast Guard in Cleveland, the EA submission to Transport Canada and its snub of the Bridge Co. presentation.

We see that Eddie on his own is prepared to pay US $75M to take over the Detroit side of the Tunnel blaming it on the need to ensure that the Bridge Co. does not to have control of it notwithstanding that its President said they had no interest in it. He is prepared to help us out so much by paying over three times more than the Bridge Co. offered for a longer deal.

  • "In fact, Windsor recently offered to buy Detroit's half of a nearby car tunnel, just to keep it out of Moroun's hands." and

  • Fearing that billionaire Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun was poised to gain a stranglehold on Windsor's two border crossings, the City of Windsor has entered into a US$75-million agreement with Detroit to take full control of the Windsor-Detroit tunnel.

    "That connection for 75 years has been vital to our residents, our region, tourism and our security," said Mayor Eddie Francis. "All of that was threatened by a proposal to turn it over to a private enterprise that would have destroyed that vital link."

Then the grossest of insults:

  • "If someone acquired the other half they could fill it up with cement and our investment would be lost," Francis said. "It's in the best interests of our citizens to protect this asset and ensure control of the tunnel remains in the hands of the public."

Demonizing them again to justify a deal that seems to make little sense economically.

Sure, let's keep it in the hands of a Mayor/Chair of the WTC who loses over 60-80,000 vehicles per month in volume and under whose watch the Tunnel dividend has almost disappeared. He said it was worth $200-300M awhile ago...Now it has sunk in value on the Mayor's own numbers. This hardly breeds confidence.

We can now see the public manifestation of all of this finally, the beginning of the war. The "shot" that starts it all officially. It is nothing huge, just a minor event but it will change Windsor and the region fundamentally:

  • Council Agenda for the Monday May 28, 2007

    Item 1 686, 718, 738, 750, 778 and 784 Indian Road - Request Exemption from Demolition Control By-law and Interim Control By-law for the Olde Sandwich Towne Community Planning Study Area

That item is the Bridge Co.'s request to tear down some homes it owns, the ones that neighbours are complaining about.

Now I warned you how the Star works....Remember the quiz. [BLOG: May 14, 2007 "Where's Perry Mason"] I told you that the story that came out of the blue re heritage was significant and guessed that it had to do with demolition of homes. I said also that there would be other anti-Bridge Co. stories.

I was right

There was another story as the build-up to the big event. On Page 2 of Saturday's Star, we saw:

  • "State agency delays bridge bid for bonds"

You should know that this took place on May 8 yet was not reported by the Star until May 20, twelve days later. Truly "late-breaking news!" Why would the Star wait that long to report the matter?

I am also rather cynical. The Bridge Co. ran ad in Saturday's paper on Page A-10 "BUILDING A Better Bridge." Sheer co-incidence I am certain that Dave Battagello's story on Page A-2 was run Saturday, after the Star knew an ad was coming into the paper from the Bridge Co. Read the negative news first on the "news" pages and then expect that the Bridge Co. is dead so why bother reading their ad.

The other fascinating thing to watch is the cozying-up by Eddie with the Feds. Remember that relations between the City and the Feds have not been good. But Commander-in-Chief Francis needs their money for his Tunnel deal and does not want to fight a war on two fronts with two "enemies." So we heard the suck-up sound in his State of the City speech:

  • The recent federal budget made commitments of funding and expertise to help get the job done. And I want to recognize and thank [Federal] Finance Minister Jim Flaherty for committing the dollars required to get the job done
  • We are continuing to work with the DRIC on a new border crossing solution.

Flaherty committed no such thing and the DRIC seems to be anti-tunnel yet Eddie can make the big switcheroo compared with his previous remarks since he thinks we suffer from his forgetfulness disease too:

  • "When it comes to the Detroit River gateway, both the federal and the provincial governments have indicated to us from all of their speeches ... that this is their top priority, yet they fail to act," Francis said Monday night. "

I cannot believe that the Feds are this dumb so as to believe our Mayor. We saw how he treats Sandra and Dwight---nothing they do is good enough. He will turn on them on a dime to get more (ie cash for the arena, then cash for the downtown Engineering building and then the Border--Henderson already signalled that). After the Tunnel deal, there will be the increased demands for the Tunnel Plaza Improvements since it has to be way over budget for it to have been pulled and then the tunnel to the border.

Oh and don't the Feds understand that once they have served their purpose, the City's by-laws and heritage actions will be used against them too UNLESS they do what Eddie wants. He cannot beat them but the strategy is to stall and wear them out as with the Bridge. Get a pay-off to walk away in other words.

So the war has been started publicly and the first shot made. It will be interesting to see how the Councillors react, especially the Three Blind Mice. Have they been bullied enough by Henderson to flip-flop? What will the Bridge Co. do? If they litigate, will tickets be sold for Eddie's Discovery Examination?

As in any war, the only people hurt are the civilians. Let's assume that the majority of Council knuckle under to Administration's recommendation and oppose the Bridge Co. Let's assume that the Bridge Co. appeals. and whoever loses on that appeal, appeals again to a higher Court. The end result for those on Indian Road are a bunch of vacant houses in limbo for years on end.

If one is concerned about the well-being of Sandwich as some claimed at the Bridge Co.'s Public Open House, then what good are having these buildings remain. It won't prevent the Bridge Co. from building their enhanced bridge. It has nothing to do with Sandwich but a mere stalling device that is an irritant of no real consequence.

I must admit that I would have thought a Green Corridor project with the Unviersity is a lot better for the area than a bunch of vacant homes but what do I know. Anyway, I guess the purpose is to keep getting those anti-Bridge Co. stories in the paper. Except this time it would be the City that is destroying the neighbourhood by keeping the homes there.

Someone will have to explain to the residents why they will have to continue living with these homes. I assume that the Commander-in-Chief will delegate this important job to Windsor Councillors, Privates Postman and Jones, to explain to their constituents the news. They will be told that their suffering will be for the good of Windsor.

But you know what, I think we are all being played. I just have this hunch that the Commander-in-Chief has another plan up his sleeve that he and General Estrin have worked up. I will check with my Mata Hari and get back with you soon about it to tell you if I am right or wrong.

War is Hell!

PS. You must read Chris Schnurr's BLOG today. He absolutely "demolishes" the City's Report