Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Blogmeister Looks At The News

Here are some new stories that you may have missed as you were chasing around in the snow looking for Easter eggs during the holiday week-end.


You have to pity Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Sandra Pupatello. Not only is she the Cabinet Minister who has to try and get the Ontario economy moving, but also she is the Windsor West MPP.

Imagine her job now after she heard the comments of the Economic Development Commission CEO, Matt Fischer. All that anyone will know, as I am sure the heads of the various Commissions in neighboring cities have already copied, is what was posted on the CKLW website and in the Star.

Imagine Sandra trying to get us a new auto plant. Fischer effectively made it impossible for her to do so whether it is due to the fact that we have no employees who can work there or because of the fact that a new plant would not want to come into a city where the Big Three already operate. The one saving grace is that he did not blame our situation on the CAW.

I wonder if Roman Dzus would have said the same thing that Fischer did. Probably not. All he did was help Windsor win the prestigious English award that Eddie keeps shouting in everyone's face. I wonder how many new jobs Fischer was able to have created with that award.

I wonder if the Board of the Commission is going to do anything about this. Perhaps they have figured out that our future is call centre jobs but are just too ashamed to tell us that.


In case you missed this priceless line in the Star story about Windsor and London pulling out of the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championships, I thought I would repeat it. It is so preposterous that it is unbelievable that our Mayor would dare have the nerve to say it. I know that Kwame has more important things on his mind yet:
  • "Originally touted as an unprecedented example of Southwestern Ontario cooperation, Mayor Eddie Francis announced in early February that Windsor was joining London's efforts to hold the tournament, competing with bids from such cities as Toronto, Edmonton-Calgary, Winnipeg and Halifax.

    "Our track record speaks for itself to host these events," said Francis at the time. "From the Super Bowl, to Wrestlemania, to the Grand Prix."

I must admit I don't understand this whole issue about the guarantee. In 2012, Windsor will be rolling in dough... we will have so much money we won't know what to do with it. According to Gord Henderson when he discussed the hundred million dollar job fund:

  • "The fund envisioned by Francis wouldn't require an annual levy or taking on new debt. Because the city is in relatively good financial shape, courtesy of its debt-reduction plan, it will have an extra $20 million available in 2011-12 and tens of millions more at its disposal in subsequent years."


No, that is not the name of a new Canadian TV series, a sort of Canadianized version of the hit US TV series Wagon Train that was on television in the 1950's and 1960's.

No, that line was the editorial headline in the Vancouver newspaper, The Province.

They quoted this line from our Mayor

  • "It's a win-win situation for all involved, Francis said, but details still need to be worked out."

It's those darn devilish details that can hurt you every time. Eddie has already changed when our workers will come home. Let's see what else he changes by the time this is done.


I written several BLOGS about this subject and have pleaded for DRIC to do an investigation into this subject as part of their study. Nothing so far. However, I wonder if there's a connection between these two stories. I will let you, dear reader, try to figure that out:

1) "Windsor Star 03-08-2008
Cows' carbon footprints

So, which government wants to be the first in Canada to put a climate tax on beef...?

According to a 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all the driving and flying that people do.

In fact, 18 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions come from meat and dairy production. Since global meat production is expected to double by 2050, this is something we should be thinking about.

Yet, when people talk about carbon taxes, they never talk about meat. This strange silence is partly attributable to a vocabulary problem: we talk about carbon dioxide so much, we forget that it's not the only greenhouse gas, or even the most dangerous one. Livestock rearing does release carbon into the atmosphere, in particular through the razing of forests (cattle need a lot of land and food). But that's nothing compared to the scary amounts of methane and nitrous oxide emitted by cattle herds and manure."

2) Cow shot dead after police chase near Toronto
Bal Brach, Windsor Star, Thursday, March 20, 2008

MISSISSAUGA - What started as a seemingly lighthearted story of cattle roaming through a Mississauga, Ont., neighbourhood Thursday morning quickly turned deadly serious after a police officer fired more than a dozen shots and killed one of the animals...

"We were following him to see where he was going and he turned and started going head-on at one of the officers," said Woodford. "We had no choice but to open fire."

The officer who was being pursued fired more than a dozen bullets at the animal, Woodford said.

Woodford added that police were unprepared for this type of encounter, and therefore did not have a tranquillizer gun to use as an alternative to live bullets."


I am sure that you remember the BLOG that I wrote about how a key part of that State is doing so well by being a distribution centre I strongly urged that we solve our border issue and take advantage of our geographic location to try and duplicate their success.

Here is something else that we might want a copy from them as well. It has to do with staging areas and marshalling areas:

  • "New Jersey bills address loading delays at ports, road safety

    Land Line

    March 21, 2008

    A couple of bills in the New Jersey statehouse are intended to improve port operations and safety on roadways.

    Truckers forced to wait in line at ports to load or unload are the subject of a bill offered by Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex. The bill – A1023 – would prohibit ports from making a truck wait longer than 30 minutes before beginning loading or off-loading container cargo at a terminal.

    Terminal operators would be subject to a $250 fine for making a truck wait longer than 30 minutes, and each delayed truck would be a separate violation.

    Terminals attempting to avoid requirements in the bill by diverting a truck to area roadways, alternate staging areas or forcing the truck to wait inside the gate would be subject to a $750 fine."

You see, Eddie and Sam wanted a Horseshoe Road costing I don't know how many hundreds of millions of dollars as our staging area. Eddie's plan for the Tunnel Plaza is very similar. It is managing lineups the way they do at DisneyWorld. The Province has an RFP out there for a marshalling yard as well.

What they have not yet understood is that the object of the exercise is to allow trucks to cross the border as quickly as possible, not to allow Customs on both sides of the river to reduce staff at the border points because they know that trucks will be kept in some location and not clog up the City roads. We want to force Customs to staff Customs booths so that trade and commerce and tourism will not be harmed by the lack of officers.

We do not need marshalling yards nor do we need more lanes across the river. We need to be able to move trucks through the border as quickly and seamlessly as possible. That was the message of the Brookings Institute.


We should take a pool about how much the Minister of Finance in Ontario will put forward to pay for the road to the border. The Feds anted up $400 million but the Province so far has put up nothing other than money for the Border Infrastructure Fund.

Sure there is a new billion dollars set aside for roads according to news stories but do you honestly believe that Windsor will get $400 million PLUS of that.

Even if the Province puts in $400 million, that is a far cry from the $1.6 billion needed for the "cheap solution" according to Eddie.


I guess no one in Windsor/Detroit asked any questions and that is why DRIC is moving ahead so quickly here. After all, it appears that the people in Delray must be pleased to have hundreds of their homes and businesses destroyed. Contrast our situation with that in Port Huron:

  • "The Michigan Department of Transportation has pushed back the Blue Water Bridge Plaza expansion timeline by about six months. That's welcome news.

    MDOT's decision is a significant victory in the public's effort to obtain state and federal answers about the project's massive size and its necessity. Expanding the plaza to 65 acres would destroy substantial portions of north-end Port Huron. Homes and businesses would be lost.

    The new plaza supposedly is necessary to better accommodate bridge traffic. Although the bridge is one of the busiest crossings on the U.S.-Canadian border, its traffic counts have declined since 2001.

    MDOT's reason for delaying the $433 million project is the right one. What sometimes appeared to Port Huron as a state and federal effort to push the expansion as quickly as possible has been slowed down to ensure public concerns are accorded proper treatment."


I'm surprised no one has been able to put this idea forward as a reason why Eddie came up with this scheme to send our citizens out West. There clearly was a reason why he wanted to do so. It had nothing to do with jobs and bringing back money to Windsor. That was merely the cover story since the after-tax amount after deducting the cost of commuting by airplane and accommodations would almost eliminate any savings.

As you know, the problem that Windsor has is that it is viewed as a union town. Some wags have suggested that the plan is a good one since it ships laid-off unionized auto workers out West. It helps reduce our situation by getting rid of the problem, the pro-union workers.

Clearly however that is not the case. That would not solve Windsor's branding and image problems even if it could be accomplished by finding jobs for thousands of former autoworkers. Oh no, the plan is much more diabolical than that.

It would not surprise me if most of the people who would be sent out West are strongest union supporters. Their real objective is to go out and unionize the workplaces out West.

In other words, the plan may to level the playing field by organizing businesses out West and unionizing them. If all the workplaces everywhere are unionized then Windsor is not at a disadvantage anymore!

Who better to be a spokesperson denouncing the big companies than autoworkers who used to be making so much money and have now been forced to accept buyouts and possible loss of benefits.

It should be interesting to watch what happens.

Naw, I'm not really serious about this in case you are wondering.