Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, September 14, 2007

WUC INQUIRY Media Advisory

And you thought that the WUC matter had been buried! How wrong you are.

It is clear that very few at City Hall have understood the depths of anger that this issue has caused. Not only is it the huge increases but it is the appearance of trying to prevent the facts from coming out.

Does anyone know where this will lead....are the sewers next as the Minister suggested in his about Enwin and the role it plays in this?

Obviously there has to be something new about to be disclosed or there would be no need for a press conference. What that will be remains to be seen.

I noticed one interesting expression in the media advisory "no alternative but to take the appropriate action." That is the polite way of saying some kind of legal action might be taken!

I expect that some may have a restless weekend wondering what is the next step!
If you have time, come out and watch. It's at lunch time and there is a nice park nearby. Don't you want to see the site of Windsor's next museum and Family Destination spot while you are there!

NOTICE OF Press Conference

Windsor, Ontario, September 14, 2007


Chris Schnurr will be holding a press conference to outline the reasons why he is demanding that a full financial, business and operational investigation into the affairs of the Windsor Utilities Commission take place instead of what appears to be a narrowed scope financial audit designed merely to provide assurances to the public that the rate increases are warranted.

"Citizens of Windsor have been completely shut out of the process by all levels of Government," Schnurr points out. "We have had changing and conflicting stories being fed to us for too long by our leaders. What appears to be the proposed solution is completely unsatisfactory and will not lead to uncovering the truth about what has taken place."

There has been a major controversy surrounding the Windsor Utilities Commission and the huge financial burden being placed on taxpayers. Our elected leaders must stop "playing games," using the Mayor's terms, and step forward to support an immediate and full investigation. If they continue to refuse to do so, then there is no alternative but to take the appropriate action to ensure that Windsorites learn the true facts.

Taxpayers need to be able to make an informed judgment as to who bears responsibility for the fiasco and what action needs to be taken to mitigate the financial hardship.

WHERE: The Junction
1200 University Ave. W.
Windsor, ON

WHEN: Monday, September 17, 2007, 12:15 PM

WHO: Chris Schnurr and fellow Windsorites

The Real Border Story

I'll bet that you are eager for more good border BLOGs now after all of this watermain and sewer business. I'll bet the Mayor will be happy too that I am diverting your attention from his problems, even if temporarily.

From what I hear, just wait until next week when that story heats up again!

Did you go to the DRIC meeting the other week? If you did, it was to find out if your home or business was to be expropriated. Otherwise, it was all a waste of time.

Digging in my garden gave me the time to try and put matters into a perspective. It is starting to make some sense to me now.

The back-ups all across Canada are almost as bad as after 9/11. Was it really US Customs computer glitches or extra security? Or was it really Canada's worst nightmare: the US flexing its muscles to teach us a lesson. Was it Senator Kenny's "Dirty little Secret!"

Are these the non-trade barriers designed to force our manufacturers to move into the US to stay in business or to keep US companies home? Who needs the border hassles that can arise at any time.

It's all been a big joke. The whole border fiasco in Windsor. It has had nothing to do with roads, security, traffic volume and redundancy. It really has nothing to do with a new DRIC bridge either except on a personal level. As for tunnels or shunnels or land bridges or at-grade or below-grade, who cares! It's all part of something much, much bigger:

In this BLOG, I am going to

  • set out Canada's "new" policy
  • let you know the Government objective
  • explain why Windsor is so important in the trade picture because of the US, and
  • then tell you how the Ambassador Bridge fits in and why it is such a problem for the Government.


It is a new policy being put forward by Transport Canada for which a position paper has been released to the public. Let me set out what the Minister says it is all about:

  • "Canada is a successful trading nation. Our economic growth and standard of living depend on the export and import of products and resources as part of global supply chains...

    That is why we are moving forward decisively with our gateway and corridor approach. It’s a new policy direction, more aligned with the way business operates in today’s global economy. It promotes coherent planning among governments and partnerships between public and private sectors...

    The Framework will guide investment and policy measures ... and enhance
    infrastructure at key locations, such as major border crossings between Canada and the United States, and the Atlantic gateway."


What does this all mean. Canada is a huge trading nation both for imports and exports. A new international business model has developed which

  • "uses lower trade barriers to distribute production around the world through out-sourcing and off-shoring to maximize efficiency and reduce costs of each component...The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association states that...We must put in place the infrastructure and logistics systems that will enable Canada to become the logistics hub of North America — the preferred point of entry and exit for trade between North America and the growing Asian market."

And here is the key element that explains what is going on in Windsor as one of the important gateways for Canada:

  • "In an increasingly connected world, the key will be an integrated approach to physical and policy infrastructure. This approach places transportation infrastructure at its core, but goes further to encompass other interconnected issues of public policy, regulation, and operational practice that directly impact how well the infrastructure works and how well Canada takes advantage of it. As for investment, the crucial role of private investment will be highlighted, along with a commitment to policies that foster a positive climate for it to increase, while safeguarding the public interest."

We have the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative "to strengthen Canada’s competitive position in international commerce by more effectively linking Asia and North America." Then there is the Atlantic Gateway which is not well developed yet and has untapped capacity but which could grow with container trade, increasing use of the Suez route for Asian exports to North America and the expansion of the Panama Canal.


Finally we come to the major corridor and gateway with the US where the vast amount of our wealth is created and why Windsor/Detroit is an important focus of the Government:

  • "The Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway and Trade Corridor encompasses a system of land, air and marine transportation assets, including the Saint Lawrence River and Great Lakes, that offers a competitive and attractive gateway for international trade. The two central Canadian provinces represent approximately 60% of Canada’s exports and gross domestic product. Major transportation infrastructure assets of all modes, as well as four of Canada’s six highest volume border crossings, underpin this economic heartland."

To understand the scope of the Canada-US trade

  • "With over $1.9 billion worth of goods and services moving across the border daily, Canada and the U.S. are each other’s largest customers and biggest suppliers. To put this into perspective, in 2006, Canada exchanged more goods with the U.S. each month than with any other country throughout the whole year.

    Transportation systems are key to Canada’s successful relationship with the U.S. Maximizing the free flow of goods, services and capital with the U.S. is a key priority for Canada."


So this is what the border issue is all about. We have to make sure that our corridors and gateways are developed to maintain our trade position and especially the US-Canada route where most of our trade is still done. This is why Transport Canada is so interested in our crossing. It has nothing to do with a DRIC bridge whatsoever.

As an aside, here is why Ambassador Michael Wilson has taken on a bigger role as the power of Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon has diminished as a result of his political failures for the Conservatives:

  • " Recognizing the importance of these connections, the federal government is working to further enhance stronger bilateral relations with the U.S. This includes expanding Canada’s official network in the U.S. With the opening in July 2006 of the new Canadian Consulate General in San Francisco, Canada’s network in the U.S. now includes 13 consulates general and six consulates, in addition to the Embassy in Washington."

Windsor and the Ambassador Bridge are specifically mentioned in the Policy Statement that demonstrates our importance for the country:

  • "Even though Canada-U.S. trade is important to all regions, an effective gateway and corridor strategy must be highly targeted where volumes and values are most significant for Canada’s economy overall."

And what could be more important for land crossings than Windsor:

  • "The Windsor-Detroit corridor is Canada’s busiest artery of trade. With the area handling almost 30% of total Canada-U.S. trade and more than 2.5 million trucks, an efficient and secure Windsor-Detroit gateway is essential to the Canadian economy.

    The Government of Canada is working with partners to develop additional border capacity to support this trade. The federal government will be responsible for the Canadian half of the new international bridge, including the Canadian plaza, and plans to create a new public entity that will oversee and manage this Infrastructure.

    In concert with Michigan and its U.S. partners, Canada is exploring working with the private sector to design, build, finance and operate the bridge and plaza. While responsibility for the access road to link the bridge with Highway 401 rests with the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada has also set aside an initial $400 million to cover 50% of the eligible capital cost of building the access road to the new crossing."


This is all part of a strategy so that:

  • "[Governments'] Actions should complement current market-oriented transportation policies, with governments creating a positive climate for private investment in gateway infrastructure, while safeguarding the public interest."

And finally we get to the Bridge Co. Its role is really incidental to the entire Transport Canada strategy but the new approach is seen as a way by some in Government and the private sector to avenge what they see as the wrong done by the settlement by Canada and the Bridge Co. over FIRA so many years ago that allowed the Bridge Co. to stay in business.

It is personal frankly, those people and groups against Matty Moroun! There is no other delicate way to put it. It galls them that he, an American private enterprise entrepreneur, can run the biggest and best border crossing between Canada and the US. His crossing is the model for the others. Every time he does something first or there is a problem at a public crossing that his crossing does not have since he solved the issue long before, they get angry at his success.

I find it ironic that Moroun is his own worst enemy too. He is the one who has made the crossing work so well with him being the one investing his money into it , not the Governments of Caanda and Ontario. If the Governments had invested, we would not be having the fight over the road to the bridge. It would have been solved before.

Because the Bridge Co. has spent its money opening booths and processing centres and adding capacity as needed when volumes rose and after the terrorist attacks, Moroun has allowed the Government the luxury to do nothing but try and beat him and take away the business that he built up to make the Windsor/Detroit region Number 1! Governments have not had to solve the border probelm here because he solved it himself at his cost, even suing the US Government to get booths to end jams on Huron Church! Eddie would have spent a billion out of our pockets with Schwartz, while he did it out of his for pennies on the dollar in comparison!

The Government hypocrisy is mind-blowing. Their policy is

  • "governments creating a positive climate for private investment in gateway infrastructure, while safeguarding the public interest."

This so-called positive climate is trying to force the Bridge Co. to sell so they Government can take it over and then do a P3 lease to another private entrepreneur. Does this make sense? is this rational? If it is not personal to Matty Moroun, then what is it? It made no sense to a Senator during the Bill C-3 debate:

  • "...this government and governments will be going forward with PPPs in the future. We are hoping that more public-private partnerships will exist to share the responsibilities between the public and the private enterprise, whether it is Highway 50 or Highway 30 in Quebec or other bridges to be built. If we are not going to have respect for private projects that exist and that have been going well for 60 or 70 years, how can we expect private investors to risk, whether it is the "competing" project or the "existing" projects?"

It is all a question of respect. One can understand Canada's desire to safeguard our trade by protecting Corridors and Gateways to minimize disruptoions as we are having now at land crossings. One can understand Canada's position to safeguard a vital link in our trade to the US, our most important customer. One can also understand the desire to have it under Government control too or "oversight."

However, where is the respect for a public- private partnership that has lasted for almost 80 years and has made Windsor/Detroit what it is today. Where is the respect for the private individual that has spent the money to help Canada and the US prosper? Where is the respect for taxpayers who may be asked to spend billions on a DRIC bridge that is not needed?

The whole DRIC process is nothing more than a lie, a giant fraud designed to hide the Governments' true objectives. The increasing role of Ambassador Wilson demonstrates to me at least that Transport Canada's overall strategy may be working but its Ambassador Bridge policy has failed miserably.

What it means to me is that Canada and Moroun need to talk soon. Canada cannot afford a dozen more years of litigation when our economy is at stake. Windsor cannot afford this mess when our region is at risk. Jobs are needed that infrastructure can supply now as we finally develop this region as the prime distribution centre in North America!

It's time to put this issue to bed.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Public Authority Indictment

Oh my goodness. No wonder the Star ignored Brian Masse's meeting last night.

If I did not know any better I would think that Brian had seen the error of his ways and was really supporting the private enterprise Bridge Company. The things that Brian and his speakers from the Blue Water Bridge and Peace Bridge put forward helped the Bridge Co. so much that the cause of a public bridge and bridge authority was put back dramatically!

In fact, one close observer of the border issue suggested to me that Brian should have checked the speaker's speeches in advance! The answers to audience questions were not that helpful either.

There was a good crowd, probably 150. Unfortunately most probably thought it was a "DRIC" meeting rather than a "governance" meeting from questions asked. What a disappointment for many but hey, Brian got his photo-op and his interview on A-Channel News so the night was a success for him.

We heard first from Chuck Chrapko from the Blue Water Bridge. Amongst his zingers, were such comments as:
  • Expects traffic to double over the next 30 years (I thought the BWB was around its previous volume high in the late 1990's an d had not gone much higher since)

  • They built a twinned span (Gasps for breath...he said the word "twin" and the ground did not shake)

  • Once the twinned span was built, they rehabilitated the old (exactly what the Bridge Co. wants to do)

  • I believe it was his bridge that had 3 lanes across the river including one lane for FAST and NEXXUS vehicles to speed them on their way (exactly what the Bridge Co. wants to do)

  • The new span was built right beside the old one rather than downriver since that is where the highway to the border was (Isn't that the case in Windsor with the road to the Ambassador Bridge which has been the road to the border for about 80 years)

Then Ron Rienas from the Peace Bridge spoke and included in his remarks what a Public Authority here should look like. Of course some of us know that the PBA and the Bridge Co. are battling over a new crossing in the Buffalo area but I do not remember him mentioning that at the session:

  • To his credit, he admitted that back-ups were due Customs reasons (What was weird was that Huron Church was jammed up by 7 PM when the meeting started but all cleared up by 8:30 when the session ended. Clearly, whatever happened with Customs, again, was solved)

  • His Authority is an international compact entity which he claims is not subject to the laws of Canada or the US or the Province or State (except for health and safety but they "voluntarily" agree to comply with certain statutes. Wish I had the power to decide which laws apply to me)

  • Tolls are lower than here (Sure they used Government money under the BIF for their plaza rather than toll monies)

  • He said a Windsor Authority should have the right to expropriate property (I won't even comment on that power)

  • The Authority should be run like a business (say, like the private Ambassador Bridge)

  • Must have the right to set own tolls (since it is beholden to its bondholders, htey have to be more important than users or the public)

  • Its "tax-free"status means, in effect, that all taxpayers pay for the operation and not just users.

  • The Authority built a lovely riverwalk since they "encroached" on the community (Didn't the Bridge Co. want to do something similar with the University's Green Corridor group but was rejected by Council)

  • He did not like the references that I and others keep making about a FHWA report saying the Ambassador Bridge was the best border operation and that others should learn from it (Sour grapes perhaps because his operation did so poorly in comparison)
Greg Ward of the Truck Ferry was supposed to speak but although he was in the audience, he did not say anything.

I wonder if Brain had the guts to invite Dan Stamper of the Bridge Co. to appear and give a talk too so that people could get a different point of view about private operators. Naaaawwwww he would not do that. Why confuse people with facts, especially those that do not prove your case.

Good to see that Councillor Jones was there to hear all of these negatives about Public Authorities. Perhaps now he can vote for the Green Corridor initiative with the Bridge Co.

Councillor Dilkens came for a few minutes but could not stay since he had a Convention and Vistors Bureau meeting to attend. I wonder what function in Detroit they are going to sponsor with thousands of dollars in taxpayer money next. Those US functions are so much more fun than family-oriented Buskers Festivals in Windsor.

What's The Deal

The lightbulb came on very brightly!

Come on now. You know now that there is a deal between Eddie and the Liberals to help them elect Dwight and Sandra but over what who knows. Even Gord said that they are the winners over the no-names so you know they don't have to worry.

In passing, there is one matter that shall be disclosed soon that could cause major damage to their re-election chances if they do not play the issue properly. And I do NOT mean over the border! Windsor is a small town in many respects and issues can catch the public's imagination almost immediately.

It is the only chance the no-names will have to beat them!

My guess is that the deal has something to do with the DRIC road (probably a "break-through" announcement about a City-Provincial deal since Sam has been working so feverishly hard to redraft his Report after DRIC came out with theirs). Once that is announced look for claims of thousands of jobs to be created, high-paying ones too before the election.

Of course the bad guys who may kill the deal would be the Feds who have to pay for half of it and they will not be interested in supporting something that will be outrageously priced just to get Sandra and Dwight re-elected. So whatever the Province and Eddie agree to may be nothing more than election smoke and mirrors unless the Feds are onside.

My guess as well is there is something cooking re using E C Row for Montreal-Tijuana trucks but it will be put in the context of the transportation hub so that many people will be not outraged. Anyway, once it is uploaded to the Province to fix up the overpasses and roadbed and to expand it to 6 lanes, it is out of Eddie's control so he cannot be blamed.

Of course it may have something to do with the Provincial audit of WUC too. We know that Sandra and Dwight have spoken to the Minister of Municipal Affairs but we do NOT know what they talked about do we?

Why, you may ask, am I so convinced that there is a deal. First, Eddie sent a letter of support for Sandra for her nomination meeting.

Now this press release with Dwight just before the election. We will SAVE so much money BEFORE the election and SPEND so much on Smart metering AFTER. Do they all think we are that gullible:
  • Energy efficiency campaign to generate up to $3.5 million in energy savings for Windsor residents

    OTTAWA, Sept. 7 /CNW Telbec/ - An award-winning energy efficiency campaign was launched today in Windsor, part of a province-wide campaign to deliver 500,000 free energy-efficiency light bulbs to Ontario households. Project Porchlight is working with the Ontario Power Authority, the Government of Ontario, EnWin Utilities Ltd. in Windsor, and the Ontario Trillium Foundation to spread an important message: Everyone can conserve energy, save money, and help the environment with simple, effective actions.

    "This is about more than changing light bulbs," said Stuart Hickox, Executive Director of One Change, the organization that runs Project Porchlight. "Everybody can change a bulb, and once people realize that simple actions like this really do matter, they want to do more. A light goes on. So we are asking the people of Windsor to be a light in their own communities by delivering bulbs door-to-door."

    Switching just one old-fashioned incandescent bulb to an energy-efficient 13-watt compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb will save $50 in electricity costs over five years. With 70,000 bulbs in use, the collective savings for Windsor residents will be $3.5 million over that time. Because CFL bulbs use 75% less electricity than incandescent bulbs, their use reduces greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired plants. If every household in Windsor switches just one bulb, 3,968,933 kg of coal won't have to be burned to produce electricity
    and greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 35,000 tonnes.

    Dwight Duncan, MPP for Windsor-Tecumseh and Minister of Energy, Mayor Eddie Francis, Maxwell Zalev, Acting President and CEO of EnWin Utilities Ltd., and Edward Weinstein, CEO of Globe Electric, were at Princess Anne School in Windsor today to help launch Project Porchlight's campaign.

    Funding of $1.5 million from the Government of Ontario will enable local volunteers to deliver 500,000 CFL bulbs to Ontario homes. In recent months, Ontario has launched a range of new programs encouraging homeowners to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes. "Windsor is the perfect place to launch this campaign because of our proven commitment to energy conservation," said Minister Duncan. "By making just one change - like switching to CFL bulbs - we can all save energy, money, and help improve our environment."

    The Ontario Power Authority is also a key contributor to this volunteer-led initiative. "This program will help Windsor residents save on their electricity bills and will encourage a culture of conservation," said Peter Love, Chief Energy Conservation Officer, Ontario Power Authority. "Ontarians are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of electricity conservation and programs such as Project Porchlight help them make smart electricity choices."

    EnWin Utilities stepped in to ensure that Project Porchlight volunteers will be able to deliver bulbs across the whole city. "I am proud to see Windsor taking a leadership role in conserving energy," said Mayor Eddie Francis. "This conservation program is an example of EnWin's commitment to creating a more energy-efficient community, and I salute EnWin for taking an energy challenge and turning it into an energy opportunity."

    Windsor bulb distribution will begin in mid-September; Project Porchlight will continue to deliver its half million bulbs to communities across Ontario over the fall. Volunteers and community groups can visit the web site to sign up to volunteer.

Firefighters And Water For Safety

The Mayor has made a big deal about the need for water availability in case of a fire. Therefore we have to spend money to ensure that the water system is safe. Cannot argue with that.

Well how about the firefighters... aren't they needed too. We can have all the water in the world but if there is a fire we need experienced people to fight it. Do we have money for them?

Here is a letter that a reader sent to me:

  • "I know that you were interested in and wrote about the shabby treatment Chief Fields received from the City and I thought that you might be interested in this as well.

    The Windsor Fire Fighters contract expired at the end of 2005 and, I believe, is the only one with City employees that hasn't been settled as yet. Could it be because no pressure can be applied (no strike, can't stop writing tickets) or is it possibly a test case for the AMO to see what an Arbitrator will decide regarding some of the City's proposals?

    It has happened in the past with various bargaining units where one or two municipalities seem to have been chosen to push one or two issues in order to set a pattern for the rest to follow in the future. They have constantly changed negotiators and cancelled meeting and seem determined to "force" arbitration. So we see two years, possibly going into three without a raise and both sides having to shoulder considerable expense going through this process.

    It seems that when other unions in this city are without a contract for 10 days, it is in all of the media and other union leaders are up in arm but this has been dragging on for over a year and a half, and not word from anyone."

To be truthful, I have no idea what is going on in this matter and what is not since the whole story is almost invisible. I expect however that there is more involved than my reader suspects.

I do know that in November, 2006

  • "A tentative agreement has been reached between the city and the Windsor Police Association...

    [Michael] Duben said negotiations with the Windsor firefighters association are also underway, but the issues differ from those that were relevant for police."

Back in 2003, I saw a quote from the president of the Windsor Professional Firefighters Association that said

  • "Wage improvements are generally tied to those achieved by the Windsor Police Service."

So presumably there should have been a contract by now. However, the Fire Dept. has had problems with the City. Could it be payback time by the City and that is why there is no contract?

As an example, remember in December, 2005, we had the big "scandal" with firefighter overtime

  • "Firefighters are calling in sick too often, according to a city councillor who is raising questions about the fire department's overtime costs of about $800,000 this year.

    "There's a suggestion there might be some abuse there and I think we're obliged to follow up and make people accountable," Coun. Alan Halberstadt said."

And if you remember, an outside consultant was brought in to review the Fire Department's operations.

I suspect that there may be some bitterness that goes back to the 2003 negotiations. As quoted in Gord Henderson's column

  • "City council was advised in July by its Toronto lawyers that a proposed reduction in the firefighter work week to 42 hours from 48 hours, a move that would have necessitated the hiring of an additional 36 firefighters at enormous cost, "would very well be supported by an arbitrator since Windsor remains one of the few if not the only department on the 48-hour schedule."

    Faced with a potential financial disaster, council opted for a carrot and stick strategy. The stick? It was spelled out for firefighter negotiators that if the union extracted a 42-hour week, its members would be required to work as many as four shifts a week, a development that would play havoc with the moonlighting that's a treasured way of life, courtesy of the prevailing two 24-hour shifts...

    Little wonder the firefighter association decided the timing was wrong. Little wonder the demanded reduction in the work week just "went away."

    But the carrot, the consolation prize for agreeing to retain the 48-hour week, is nothing to sneer at. It includes a "senior firefighter" classification for all firefighters with 10 years of service who've completed an annual qualification test. On top of firefighter salary increases of 3.97 per cent this year, 3.5 per cent next year and 3.5 per cent in 2005, the 50 senior firefighters are getting an extra six per cent this year and 4.5 per cent next April 1. A bonanza."

If you want to read an exchange of letters between the City and the Firefighters Association that shows the futility of their negotiations, go to

I have no solution since I have no real grasp of the situation. My reader stated: "this whole exercise is going beyond ridiculous and I feel that some people should know about it."

Now you do!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Is Windsor's IT Dream Over

Windsor's IT dream is over. You better believe it!

There is no way that Sandra Pupatello will ever be able to convince a call centre company to move to Windsor after the Windsor Star and CAW got through with Sutherland! And why should she bother after she got shafted royally!

Is the CAW leadership that hard-pressed for members? I guess they are after the auto companies had reduced their numbers.

Is the CAW leadership that dumb to believe that a company that pays minimum wages for jobs with high turnover is going to allow unionization resulting in salaries approaching that of auto and Casino workers so that they become uncompetitive in the call center marketplace? Get real.

One wonders why the Liberals would want Buzz Hargrove as a "partner" after the actions that CAW tried in Windsor.
  • "Canadian Auto Workers president Buzz Hargrove encouraged the workers to support McGuinty and bashed the federal government for refusing to meet with the union to discuss the auto industry's woes.

    "Dalton McGuinty is, I believe, the only political leader in the country that's got it right in terms of investment jobs and the environment," said Hargrove.

    "Dalton McGuinty is saying, 'look we're all for saving the environment but we can't do that at the expense of the workers who work in the auto industry.' "

    Hargrove, who was thrown out of the New Democratic Party for supporting Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin's failed re-election bid in 2006, encouraged the auto workers to support Ontario's Liberal premier in the Oct. 10 election."

The Star and CAW have virtually killed Windsor's call centre chances. And then we saw the damage control trying to stuff the genie back into the bottle. The question now is whether it is too late?

We saw first 2 stories from the Star detailing complaints against Sutherland:

  • "Call centre conditions poor, say workers; Cancelled lunch breaks, payroll shortfalls alleged" and "Agency voids call centre deal; Ministry of Labour cites violence at troubled Sutherland Global"

We saw the real reason for the negativity in a following story:


    The CAW is tryng to recruit workers at Sutherland.

    "We've been getting phone calls over a number of months from disgruntled workers not happy with how the place operated," said Colette Hooson, the union's national representative.

    The CAW handed out information pamphlets last Friday to workers. Some were ripped up when discovered by management, Hooson alleged."

Then the people who helped bring the company here saw all of their efforts turning to dust. They obviously got upset and realized what the CAW's actions could do to Sutherland. After all, the City itself built a nice new parking lot for them too at a cost equivalent to Super Bowl and Grand Prix sponsorships.

  • "MPP Sandra Pupatello and Mayor Eddie Francis, who played a key role in using subsidies and incentives to bring Sutherland to Windsor, have acknowledged problems, but labelled them "growing pains."

We then saw a Henderson column with an interesting title don't you think. It put the CAW on the spot...Back off or kill a thousand jobs

  • "Growing pains

    This week I met with senior Sutherland Global executives in the company's 10th floor operations centre at 500 Ouellette Ave. They included Phil Madden, vice-president and head of operations in Canada, and Thomas R. Stuewe, senior vice-president based in Rochester, N.Y. And good grief, was the mood ever different. We're talking contrition over past glitches and a commitment to do things differently.

    They still believe they've been slagged unfairly by vengeful former employees who either didn't measure up or couldn't hack the work environment, and don't speak for the entire workforce. But they concede, flat out, that the start-up process was flawed and mistakes were made in the pell-mell race to service clients.

    "If we're honest with ourselves, did we launch perfectly? Absolutely not. We could have and we should have done certain things differently," conceded Stuewe. He said the company, in retrospect, made a serious mistake in not bringing in a large crew of experienced Sutherland Global staff to help get the operation up and running...

    The bottom line, said Madden, is that the company wants to put these growing pains behind it because it intends to double in size, hiring as many as 1,200 more Windsor workers to meet client needs...

    But, and there's always a but, Stuewe and Madden were adamant the company will pack it in if the Windsor operation becomes unionized. "There's only one event that could precipitate that decision (to leave) and make no mistake. That would happen," said Stuewe. He said the company is "performance-based" and could not survive being organized, given that it services clients trying to "get out from under" such constraints.

    The mea culpa has been issued. And the hiring sign is out from a company that says it can and will do better in its drive to become one of Windsor's largest employers.

    Give them a second chance? That sure beats adding a thousand names to the Windsor unemployment and welfare rolls."

Now if that was not a threat to the CAW, then I do not know what is! Just in case anyone thinks they are kidding, the Star reported:

  • "About 170 call-centre employees in Windsor will soon lose their jobs to Utah and India...

    The call-centre jobs serving Chrysler customers will temporarily remain in the same building at Giles and McDougall streets. But they will leave Windsor in about a year for Convergys call centres in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Pune, India -- known as the "Detroit of India" with a booming IT industry...

    "I'm wondering where the mayor (Eddie Francis) and (Windsor-West MPP) Sandra Pupatello are," said customer service representative Chantal Couvillon. "I mean, all of the concern is focused on Sutherland," a taxpayer subsidized call centre being investigated by the Ministry of Labour.

    "But we've got a call centre here that pays more, we're established, our customer service is proven -- and yet our jobs are leaving. What about the call centres like DMG that are going by the wayside?"

And then to prove the point, just weeks after Sutherland said how well Dell and others liked Windsor workers "best-in-class" performance:

  • "Sutherland shifts work out of city

    "Troubled call centre Sutherland Global Services has announced it will relocate several dozen jobs out of Windsor when it moves its Dell technical support operation outside Canada.

    Although the company did not reveal Tuesday the exact number of jobs affected, documents obtained recently indicated there were at least 70 workers affiliated with Sutherland’s local Dell support program, working at its College Avenue location...

    Although top company officials have said Sutherland will leave Windsor if a union is formed, they insisted Tuesday that moving the Dell jobs out of the city was unrelated to the union threat or workers’ allegations.

    “Dell has made a business decision to shift volumes from all Sutherland Canadian locations to another location within the Sutherland global footprint,” said Phil Madden, vicepresident and head of the company’s Canadian operations."

Finally, we saw the bizarre correction, clarification, "ON THE RECORD" piece in Henderson's Saturday column which was clearly a reaction to the Chris Schnurr BLOG [Anti-Union Intimidation? Sutherland Global will pack it in if unionized]

  • "As I said at the time the $20 million we have invested here is a measure of our commitment to the community. We do not intend to close our Windsor operation because of union organizing. We believe we are best able to work with our employees and respond to our customers -- and to their customers -- if we retain the union-free advantage we enjoy over other operations. I apologize if my remarks conveyed anything other than that."

The threat was out there already. There was no need for Sutherland to have a Labour Relations Board fiasco as well.

Can't Buzz control his locals? Doesn't he understand that Windsor has the highest unemployment rate in Canada and needs jobs, any jobs, right now to bring the percentage down? If not, then what does it matter if he throws his support behind the Provincial Liberals?

No one, it seems, is listening to him in his own union. Or perhaps Buzz is a double-agent, getting people so mad at the CAW and its Liberal connections that they will vote NDP instead.

As for our economy, who is going to invest here with a militant union around that seems to have no sense. So much for the "Our Jobs, Our Community, Our Future" labour rally for jobs!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Arena Naming Rights

Oh please...regular readers of this BLOG can hardly be surprised that the Windsor Family Credit Union has won the contest to be the owner of the naming rights for the East End arena. Back in June, I wrote:

    Is it true that a major Financial Institution has the inside track on buying the naming rights for the East end arena. I have heard though that the bid price is NOT very high but then again who wants to bid much in this City with this economy?

    Mind you, a low bid means that the charities in town and the University fund-raising could suffer as well if people don't have money. How will the University, as an example, ever pay for their stadium, a new medical school (whose costs are much higher) and a more expensive downtown Engineering complex?

    My guess is that some people will be quite upset if this Firm wins. It may explain a whole bunch of actions that have taken place in this City recently."
Credit Union members need not get too upset. The WFCU is not really paying out $1.62M upfront---the number looks BIG in the Star headline doesn't it--- but $40,000 a quarter over 10 years. Doing a present value calculation, it probably works out to around a million or less depending on the interest rate chosen. It's like Greyhound paying out money over a number of years for its 50% interest in the funky bus terminal or how the Ontario Government is financing the Medical School. ie NO upfront lumpsum.

WFCU probably got a good deal too. I believe that the arena in London makes $250,000 per year from the sale of rights there. The arena in the Soo gets $135,000 per year. Guelph got $1.1M for 13 years.

There are some questions that need answering as a result of the Star story:
  1. Will the naming rights contract be kept confidential from both citizens and credit union members? City policy requires that "Processes must balance the need for information to be freely available and directly accessible to the public with potential requirements for confidentiality in negotiations." WFCU should know that after the brouhahas on confidentiality that their deal would have to go public
  2. Does the City get all of the naming rights money or is it shared with the Spits? If the City gets it all, why were the Spits involved in the negotiations?
  3. What steps were taken to ensure that the process was "fair" since the Spits are part of the contract and the WFCU is the Spit's official financial institution and with "close connections." [Being "official" cost the WFCU $100,000 for 3 years] The City's policy requires that "2.1 The purpose of the policy is to ensure consistency and fairness in the naming/renaming or dedicating of municipal property, buildings and park elements. "
  4. Why aren't RFPs going out for "the remaining naming rights" but instead being handed out by some new Committee? Who is on this Committee?
  5. Will the City tell us how many people applied under the "Expression of Interest", what their proposals were and why "none was deemed to be worthy, the mayor responded."
  6. One of the requirements of the EOI was "The monetary contribution the entity/corporation is willing to make to purchase the said naming rights." What were they from the other interested parties?
  7. Why was the time period for the EOI extended?
  8. Wouldn't you like to see the "Purchased naming rights will be subject to the following additional procedures:
    • An asset analysis and value assessment to determine the value of the naming rights
    • A risk/benefit analysis
  9. Will we ever find out the arena lease terms?

Oh I forgot, this is Windsor and the Administration of Eddie Francis. I should know the answers to all of these questions already....unless the Councillors stop being such wusses!

I wonder if Marty will again say, after his negotiations with Eddie for the naming rights, the same nice things that he said in April when he was talking to Eddie about moving the Engineering Building downtown as Board Chair. As Gord Henderson reported, things like:

  • Komsa said he marvels at the co-operation he's seen among the city, the university and the province
  • Komsa heaped praise on Mayor Eddie Francis and Windsor cabinet ministers Sandra Pupatello and Dwight Duncan for their "superb" work on this file.
  • Are we ever lucky we have people like the mayor and Dwight and Sandra. On a scale of one to 10, they're a 12.
A good lesson in life: if you are nice, good things happen!

There is no reason why University people should be mad at Marty or WFCU since money was given for the City's arena but not yet for the University stadium. WFCU Coliseum has such a nice ring to it when WFCU wins the naming rights there too.

I bet that Amanda Gelman who raises money for the University will be thrilled. She will probably call up today the Chair of the UniversityBoard of Governors, WFCU's Marty Komsa, and ask him to contribute an equal amount for the University's stadium. How could he possibly say no now! He would not want the University to be mad at him would he. After all, there are thousands of students every year who need accounts and loans etc. If he can give to a commercial venture, then he can donate to an educational one. ["WFCU will direct $30,000 a year over the next three years to the club's [Spits'] player education fund.]

Surely helping out "his" University when it needs funds is something he should feel obliged to do. Heck if he can fundraise for the arena, he can fundraise for the University too. I wonder if he will ask for money for the Unviersity or the arena first? Such a dilemma!

What could be better for WFCU than name recognition at the University's stadium! After all, its location on Huron Church would be cheap advertising of the WFCU's name to thousands of commuters every day.

Amanda, do you have Marty's number? Better call now while he is in the giving mood.

Private Enterprise vs. Public Authority

I am upset now. I send out my BLOG email every day to Brian Masse. But when he sends out a "Dear friends" email, I do NOT receive a copy as one of the first recipients.

I finally received mine around midnight last night after several of my friends had already sent me a copy.

I guess I am no longer that good a friend, dear or otherwise.

Anyway, bruised feelings aside, you ought to go out to his session to hear the stories about why a Public Authority can run border crossings so much better than the operators of the private Ambassador Bridge.

Why they run such good ones that the "the Ontario Ministry of Transportation has set up six portable toilets along Highway 402" for people waiting to cross the Blue Water Bridge. "

----- Original Message -----
From: "Brian Masse, MP"
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2007 2:51 PM
Subject: INVITATION: Public Border Meeting Wednesday September 12, 2007

September 10, 2007

Dear friends,

As the border crossing issues continue in Windsor, and the selection of new routes and crossing locations are being devised, I thought it might be an appropriate time to share with you again the important information about public border authorities.

Because of the pressing need to make the right decisions for Windsor in this process, I am writing to invite you to a town hall meeting on the issue of a public border authority that I am holding this Wednesday evening, September 12, 2007, at the Holiday Inn Select at 1855 Huron Church Road. The meeting will start at 7:00 p.m. and I have three guest speakers who will highlight the importance of border authorities. Light refreshments will be provided.

Ron Rienas from the Peace Bridge, Chuck Chrapko of the Blue Water Bridge, and Gregg Ward of the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry Company, will all be on hand to answer your questions and concerns and to share their viewpoints from their respective crossings.

I invite you to come out, ask questions and learn from the experts what public border authorities are, how they work, and why Windsor should pursue this as we make the final decisions for our next border crossing.

I look forward to seeing you there. This information is also available on my website at Please feel free to call my Windsor office for more information at (519) 255-1631 or e-mail me at

Yours truly,

Brian Masse, MP
Windsor West

News Items Of Interest

Here are some items that may not have caught your attention


I hear that there a new family is joining the South Windsor ranks. The Mayor and his family have moved out of their temporary home in Chuck Mady's Glengarda condos. No wonder Sandra Pupatello wanted his endorsement. It could mean two more votes for her in the October election.

I guess that the Mayor and one of his colleagues who lives in the condo complex must have had many a night talking politics and about WUC in the Library, billiards room or perhaps at the Glengarda Club.

I wonder if the Mayor's new neighbours are still paying for a security service to patrol their neighbourhood so that they can feel secure in their homes. Will he contribute too? If so, it's a bit of a slap at himself since he is the Windsor Police Services Chair.

His neighbours will be happy to have him move there I am sure especially after the first big snowfall!


I have to tell you that there is a bit of a double standard in this City.

The Mayor has a family, more space is needed and so he moves to a new and bigger home.

City Hall needs improvements and more space, we get a new building, 400 City Hall Square.

The Tunnel needs improvements since it is getting older and Eddie has a US$75M deal to do, so taxpayers spend a fortune on getting it as good as new. The Tunnel Ventilation Building renovations cost about $18M
  • "The tunnel ventilation building and its Detroit counterpart have been exchanging air in the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel every 90 seconds without interruption since the 1930 opening. This air exchange is necessary to keep the air clean and breathable...

    But while the system never failed to operate, it was clear that the building was in an advanced state of deterioration, said officials.

    "Its like your car," said St. Louis. "If it keeps breaking down, there will be a point in time when you need to get a new one."

    St. Louis said that he is happy with the upgrade.

    "Before it looked like you were going back in time to a Frankenstein movie," said St. Louis. "We had all these big arm switches, lights, dials and gadgets.

    "Now, it is like going into a brand new state of the art facility," he said."

Here's the double-standard. The Bridge Co. wants to carry on with their Enhancement Project and, in effect, upgrade their home so they can have a state of the art facility too and they are refused. All the arguments that apply to the Tunnel project apply to the bridge but the Mayor and Council refuse.


I guess that Greg Baggio must be gearing up to make a run at some political office. Setting up a new tunnel website and getting a story in the Star just before DRIC and Schwartz come out with their reports seems to be very opportune timing.

I wonder if Greg is still a DRTP supporter as he was when he ran in Ward 1 in the last election and if the only tunnelled route he wants is along the DRTP corridor.

It's a shame that he does not say this on his website and the Star did not ask the question or neglected to print the answer to the question if given in the pro-Tunnel piece.


One would have thought with a multi-year investigation, OMERS would have done more. That is why Terms of Reference are so important in the WUC file too.

Here is what FSCO did or rather did not do:
  • "The findings in the Report are not a commentary on the allegations or complaints that prompted the examination. They are reflective of issues FSCO identified as relevant to the administration of the OMERS Plan and the OMERS Fund for the purposes of the PBA. FSCO reviewed a large number of documents and files on identified activities, transactions and investments, but has not commented on every matter reviewed in the course of its examination."

Gee, I would have thought the complaints were "relevant to the administration of the OMERS Plan and the OMERS Fund for the purposes of the PBA."

And FSCO were very kind to OMERS too:

  • "FSCO and OMERS communicated throughout the examination process. At each step of the process, OMERS was made aware of issues of concern to FSCO and provided with an opportunity to submit documents addressing the issues and make submissions. Further, after FSCO’s examination was concluded, OMERS was provided with FSCO’s draft findings and given an opportunity to meet with FSCO and make submissions relating to the draft findings before this Report was finalized...

    During the examination, FSCO was notified by OMERS that “it maintained privilege over documents that record solicitor-client legal advice concerning the transactions under review.” OMERS submitted that sufficient non-privileged documents and information had been made available to enable FSCO to conclude that OMERS conducted appropriate legal due diligence during the review period. Without contesting OMERS’ claim over privilege, FSCO limited its review to these “non-privileged” documents and information."
Now that is a hard hitting multi-year investigation isn't it! I wonder if that will be similar to the "audit" which the Ministry of Municipal Affairs is planning for Windsor.


You know the answer already by now don't you? I can hardly wait for the August numbers


For the parking lot for the new Call Centre, here is what was presented at Council and was passed on the Consent Agenda.

Even though the Bridge Co.' s project started over a decade ago, and the City has opposed it for years, no exemption was granted when the Bridge Co. sought one.

I also found it interesting that the City is building a parking lot for the Call Centre employees if any of them stay around after the Star's stories about the poor conditions there or if Sutherland pulls out because of the CAW. Are the Gazelle feeders involved in this deal or was it strictly a political decision?

What I do not know is whether the parking is to be free or not. Perhaps someone could tell us.


Thank goodness for this story from CKLW:

  • GLENGARRY CONCERNS 2007-09-10 14:50:46

    Tenants at a Windsor Housing apartment building are furious about unsanitary living conditions. Cindy Wilson lives in the Glengarry Apartments on University Avenue East and says there are bed bugs, cockroaches, ants, mice and garbage in the chute has pilled up to the third floor.

    Wilson says she's expecting the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit to inspect the building this afternoon (before 1pm). Carrie Schofield is the Communications Officer with the Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation and says they're doing everything possible to keep the building in good condition.

If you will remember, I predicted that the buildings will have to be torn down when the new City Hall is proposed. The police have said :

  • "We have some very unique policing issues in this city with... some of the downtown housing projects like Glengarry." and
  • "Mayor Eddie Francis took note of the situation and the city joined the Windsor Housing Corporation in vowing to help rid the complex of drugs, prostitutes and crime."

Moreover, a reader suggested that

  • " Glengarry projects will need upwards of $20 million in renovations in the coming years."

If it is now unsanitary, then we have a reason to demolish it and hey, rebuild it as the start of our urban village. After all it would be right beside the bus terminal!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Eddie's Grand Vision

I figured it out finally. It all came together like a bolt out of the blue. I understand what is going in his mind now. I can explain everything that seem so absurd to us mere mortals and taxpayers but are all part of his grand over-all scheme of things. And if taxpayers suffer in the interim, well as they say, short-term pain for long-term gain.

One really does need to be able to do in-depth Internet searching if one wants to do big exposés to keep one's readership interested. It is not that Bloggers are lonely; it is that we spend so much time researching sources that we do not have the time to socialize. It is a tough life.

As an example, in doing my online reading of dozens of newspapers all over the world to find interesting items, I found the following in a Timmins, Ontario newspaper:

  • "Sorbara offers experts, not cash, to help cities
    Saturday, July 21, 2007

    Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara is throwing struggling municipalities a lifeline - but not by writing a cheque or by letting municipalities keep more of their own property-tax dollars.

    In a move critics are calling patronizing and unnecessary, Sorbara said the province would be happy to send in professional number crunchers to help municipalities like Toronto that are grappling with budget deficits or hefty tax hikes to balance their books.

    "Rather than make quick, poorly thought-out decisions, the better course would be to engage the province," Sorbara said, adding the province has experts who could help municipalities find savings.

    "The province has got a great deal of experience in value-for-money audits to determine whether or not we are achieving the kind of values we want for the money that we're spending."

Now I thought that was very kind and decent of the Finance Minister. But that was not the reason why this story caught my interest. Let me add on the interesting part:

  • "Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis said his city has already moved to zero-based budgeting and has managed to slash its debt in half over the last three years. This year, the city is looking at all its services from "A to Z" in search of cuts to its $1-billion budget, Francis said.

    "We're at a tipping point. We've gone to the wall as much as we can to cut to the bone. ... They can send all the experts they want. The experts will come to the same conclusion."

    The simple fact is municipalities should not be paying for provincial programs like disability support, welfare and social housing through the property-tax base, Francis said. Whenever an automaker lays off employees, Francis said the social services cost increases, but the property-tax base doesn't.

    Windsor - like most other municipalities in Ontario - doesn't even have the new taxing powers the province gave only to Toronto to raise more revenue, he added.

    "It's not sustainable," Francis said."

Wait a minute...a billion dollar budget! Last time I looked, our 2007 operating budget was around $310M while the 2007 capital budget was $75M. That adds up to around $400M. How the heck are we going to add on $600M to get to a billion?

I read something in the Star coverage of our budget discussions:

  • "Windsor's tax rates are higher in many categories than the provincial average, but that is offset by local property assessments which are lower than most municipalities, Colucci said."

I then got a sharp pain on my pocketbook that almost required calling 911 or is it 311, I keep forgetting. I re-read what the Mayor said about the taxing authority Toronto will get but which we do not have...yet. He wants to be able to tax us more as they do in Toronto!

So don't you see now....Eddie wants to be in the big leagues of budget spending. He has three more years to go to get us up to a billion dollar budget. Now you can understand why he wants to do so many expensive projects. He needs a huge spending binge. As was said in the Henderson column the day after the last election:

  • "the next term can be "about making the investments we want and building the city we want."

Sure , like huge and costly investments in projects like the following ones. Eddie will build them and then depart as Mayor as we have to pay for them.

  • city beautification

  • "shovel-ready" land at the airport

  • $US 75M Tunnel deal with Detroit

  • Schwartz border extravaganza

  • East end arena at $65M and counting

  • $15M plus University Engineering complex

  • Zalev brownfields redevelopment

It's hardly a surprise that the arena is delayed again....Eddie can escape the blame for its cost and operating losses by saying that when he was here as Mayor, it was projected NOT to cost us any money.

You may want to read this excerpt from the Toronto Star and its Mayor David Miller to see what our future might be like UNLESS our Council stops acting like wusses:

  • "In the eight months between his overwhelming victory over challenger Jane Pitfield last November and the start of the final council meeting last Monday, Miller had carved out a strong executive committee, convinced the province to endorse his plan to install streetcars in parts of Toronto ill-served by public transit, bought a new garbage dump, established ambitious climate change targets, launched a highly publicized national campaign for a share of the federal GST and helped set up a new garbage collection scheme. Things were marching along better than he could have hoped.

    "I had a very different vision than my opponent in the last election," Miller said over a lunch at a west-end restaurant two weeks ago, a time that seems much simpler in the context of the latest budget battles. "I was elected and the people expect me to implement that vision, and that's what I'm doing."

    But any chance for the mayor to spend his summer basking in glory was shot down this week when the budget crisis blew up in his face. Instead of a pliant council, he's now faced with a revolt from some of the middle-of-the-roaders who helped him implement that ambitious agenda in the first half of the year.

    Many councillors suggest Miller should have seen the TTC funding crisis coming and that council would have approved the $356 million in new taxes on Monday had there been talk of subway closings.

    "It looks like he put together these budget cuts on the back of a napkin," charged frequent critic Denzil Minnan-Wong, councillor for Ward 34, Don Valley East. "And it's just poor management. He knew this was coming. He knew this before the election. And he should have told us about the tax increases or the service cuts before the election.

    "So either he was lying to the voters or he didn't know and he's sending us over a cliff. What this is showing is he's just not up to the job. It's managerial incompetence..."

    Critics suggest spending at city hall is out of control, noting that Miller pledged to keep property tax hikes in line with inflation but heaped a 3.8 per cent increase on taxpayers' backs earlier this year. Not to mention the attempt to levy $356 million in land transfer taxes and vehicle registration fees.

    Miller doesn't apologize for his attempts to raise new revenues.

    "We're at a moment today where we need to choose to invest in the city, to invest in things like Transit City, poor neighbourhoods, the fight against climate change and in fixing our roads," he said recently. "If you look at our competitor cities, they're investing massively.

    "My mandate in the election, taken broadly, was about ensuring that Toronto moves forward and took its proper place in world, which is about being prosperous economically, about being liveable and it's about being a place where opportunity is available for everyone. You can't make that happen without investing."

    Miller said he was clear in last fall's election campaign that he'd use new powers granted by the province to levy taxes. "It's true I wasn't specific (about the level of taxes or what would be taxed) but ... I didn't know what the regulations would be or what we would be able to tax. But I was very clear that I'd use the City of Toronto act for public policy purposes..."

    Asked if there was anything he could have done to improve the climate this term, Miller shook his head. "We have a system now where the mayor has more responsibility, and I think there's been a reaction by some to that."

    Councillor Brian Ashton, who was named to the executive committee but earned the wrath of Miller's supporters this week when he voted to defer the new tax plan, said Miller hasn't reached out to council members.

    Ashton said he was involved in the process that gave the mayor the new powers. "I understand a certain degree of commitment to his programming is needed. But there also is supposed to be a commitment to make the executive a truly functioning, hard-hitting debating forum, and I don't know that we've been successful in that area."

    Miller often says party politics have no place at the municipal level. But Councillor Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence) said that, given the strong-mayor system Toronto now seems to have, there might be no choice.

    "There are supposed to be checks and balances in the system," she said.

    "If you try to build a consensus, that's not as critical. But if the mayor is going to go it alone, the opposition might have to form an actual party."

Conspicuous By Their Silence

Did you know that the WUC has outside Commissioners that actually outnumber City Politicians on the Commission? Did you know that there is a City of Windsor Audit Committee?

Here are the outside Commissioners

James Drummond, P.Eng.
Golder Associates

Rocco Lucente, P.Eng.
R. Lucente Engineering Inc.

Loretta Stoyka, B.A., L.L.B
Senior Counsel, Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C.

Karen Behune Plunkett
Walkerville Brewing Co.

George Sandala
Retired Vice President
TD Bank Financial

What are they doing about all of this WUC fiasco? What are their concerns about this mess? What actions have they taken so far? Have any of them said anything publicly?

The City of Windsor has an Audit Committee whose outside members are:

Maxwell Zalev, Chairperson (also Acting General Manager of WUC)

Bill Carter

George Sandala

Councillors Halberstadt and Marra (who is also on WUC) are members

What are they doing about all of this WUC fiasco? What are their concerns about this mess? What actions have they taken so far? Have any of them said anything publicly?

There's A Border Authority Meeting Here Soon

Just to let you know, Brian Masse will have a discussion about public ownership and border authorities on September 12, 2007 at 7PM at Holiday Inn Select - 1855 Huron Church Rd featuring representatives from other border authorites.

I have written about Public Authorities before so it should be interesting to see how Brian addresses all of their negatives.

What is interesting about the Authorities that I have quoted before is how much they wanted to give the impression that they were acting like private enterprise companies in how they operated. I guess they were trying to follow the Ambassador Bridge model to try to become better border operators since the Bridge Co. is the best in North America.

Now Brian wanted politicians sitting on those Authorities. I guess he would expect to be one of the appointees too as the MP for the area. Hey, why not...he is just copying what Windsor Councillors do. He was one before he became an MP too.

I wonder what his salary would be as a Board member and would it be on top of his MP salary? Would he get a pension too from it?

And speaking of Authorities, didn't Steve Tobocman the Michigan State representaitve want to set one up there too? Perhaps he will attend Brian's meeting as well to learn a few things.

Hey I just remembered, Steve is term limited too. Perhaps he could get a nice job with the Michigan Authority so he could earn some income given his vast border expertise.

Can you imagine, Brian and Steve controlling the just boggles my mind to even think about it!