Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, March 28, 2008

Used And Abused

What a trite cliché my BLOG title is today. But how appropriate.

Did you feel the same way that I did when I read the headline in the Star yesterday about the 19,000 man years of work that Greenlink would produce. Man years mind you, not number of jobs. [I refuse to use person-years]. Do you feel like a jerk to be blunt?

I could just picture in my mind's eye the Mayor, the Eminence Greasie and their legions of cheerleaders and sycophants laughing at what fools we have been since the Mayor's State of a City speech. How dumb we were to believe that the Mayor's Jobs Today plan was a serious one.

I wonder also whether the Mayor's colleagues at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities feel the same way when they read what the Mayor just announced. I wonder if the Mayors of Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, and Calgary, think that they have been played as fools the same way Windsorites have been played. But who knows, perhaps they were in on the joke as well.

Can you believe it, on March 17 the Mayor is preparing to send everybody out of town who was looking for work and then, barely 10 days later, there are jobs, jobs, jobs totaling 19,000 man years in town, working on the City's solution for the border road. No one has to move from Windsor at all now. Hallelujah. We are saved.

I am not sure if this is the worst case of cynical, political manipulation that I have ever seen but it comes very close to it. I cannot believe that any caring person would play with the lives of so many people this way, all to score a cheap political point for himself and his future career.

Can you believe it, the Mayor in his speech on March 17, especially when he was talking about Greenlink, did not mention anything about 19,000 man years of jobs coming out of this project. Instead, he fed us the crap about Jobs Today.

And please, do not try and tell me that he had never seen the consultant study by then or did not know about it! I may have been foolish but not that much of a fool.

Why did he hide the info from us? Why couldn't he give us hope? Why didn't he tell us about this? Why did he make people think that their homes might have to be split up, families torn apart or things were so bad that people would really have to move out of here. Simple.

The headline...that's all it was. It was all for the headline, a misleading one too!

We were all nothing more than cannon fodder, including the Mayors of the Western cities, between the time of Eddie's Speech and the Budget. He needed a diversion, some amusement. We were being used as Jobs Today was nothing more than a tool to put pressure on the Minister of Finance and to embarrass him, and Sandra, so that he would fold on Budget Night and give in to our Mayor. The timing of the ad about Greenlink was so coincidental right after the budget, the setup at the mall just happened to take place right after the Budget. And then the announcement, the big announcement right after the budget.

I guess the money that Eddie must have spent on polling confirmed to him that jobs really were the priority for Windsor. So he fed us BS in his State of the City speech and then gave us the carrot subsequently of all these jobs if only Greenlink is approved.

What have I been arguing on here for I don't know how long. What has the Construction Association said even before I did. What did Dwight Duncan talk about. What is the Bridge Company actually producing with its Ambassador Gateway project now, today, at this very moment on the other side of the river. I have said that the construction of the road to the border and the Enhancement Project would produce between 10-15000 infrastructure and spinoff jobs.

Congratulations to the Mayor for finally confirming the proof of what I have been saying. I would have appreciated a thank you at least. Too bad it took him so long to find that out but he need not worry with his salary!

Here's what the Mayor said in his speech about his conversations with the Mayors of the Western cities:
  • "Recently, at a meeting of the Big Cities Mayors’ Caucus I spoke with my colleagues about our challenges. And in turn the mayors of Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon told me of their issues and challenges.

    They told me about how there is an ever-increasing labour shortage out west. They need skilled tradespeople, and people to fill any number of construction-related positions...

    So we’ve started to develop a plan. A plan to help long-distance commuters living in Windsor to access jobs that exist today in Western Canada but to keep their roots at home in our community."

I was curious to try and find out when Eddie spoke with the Mayors. I went to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities website and saw that the Big Cities Mayors last met on February 8. Presumably therefore, they had their discussion on or about that day. Eddie did tell us in his speech:

  • "But planning is well under way."

Tell me, from February 8 until today, what have you seen of this plan? What are the details? We know that the Mayor changed from having people come back every weekend to working several weeks and then coming back because otherwise it would be way too expensive. We learned that there may be a problem getting houses for people out west. We learned that many Westerners were not very happy about people taking money and then leaving and spending their money in Windsor. We heard that there might be a job fair. We just heard, we never saw any action, no results... a typical Eddie "THINK BIG DREAM" that fell apart once we learned from Henderson that there would be no money until after Eddie left in 2010 as our Mayor.

Then, when it became time to produce or else, the conversation was changed. Greenlink jobs became our saviour. By the way did you notice the word "jobs" in the first full-page Greenlink ad? You did not because it was not there when the ad was first produced. Jobs were nothing more than an afterthought, a political afterthought. Throw up a big number and fool the citizens, or try to.

Let's see now, the construction project is to take six years. SIX YEARS. Not starting tomorrow mind you, but who knows how long from now because Greenlink would have to undergo an environmental assessment since it is a completely new alternative. Again, another typical Eddie manoeuver. Get the glory today by making the announcement and talking about it and let someone take the blame tomorrow when they cannot fulfill what he promised. After all, after he leaves as Mayor, it would not be his fault if jobs could not be produced.

If it starts in 2010...our border is not finished until after 2016, longer than the DRIC timetable.

Want to bet that the total Greenlink cost will be at least $2.6B, Gord's number, when you add in an inflation factor (the new Greenlink revised number may probably still be in 2007 dollars as is shown on the website), and add in the part from E C Row to the border that has not been factored in yet. I bet DRIC has priced it out by now! Maybe they can tell us.

Even forgetting that, apparently "The jobs would include 6,760 person years of direct construction work." That it works out to jobs for about 1100 people. The Ambassador Gateway project alone produces work for 2800 people for about two years according to a Michigan story I saw. Greenlink, therefore, while a benefit, doesn't seem to me to be that much of a huge benefit the way the Mayor would like us to believe, especially when we have no idea when the first person would be hired.

Throw up the big number in the headline, Windsor Star, when it comes to jobs for Greenlink just as you threw up the small number when it comes to costs for the East End Arena. People will remember a number and not really understand what it represents. Play the game. Help out the Mayor. Help fool the people. But it's okay. As Marty Beneteau said:

  • "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."

By the way, did you like the photo of Eddie on the CKLW website too. What a nice treat for the Mayor from his strapped on "W" radio station.

Honestly, I cannot understand the other media in town. Why are they so subservient, why do they allow themselves to be scooped by the Star all the time. Want proof. Here's what Gord Henderson wrote on February 28 right after the federal budget:

  • "Maybe it's none of the above. Maybe this government has made a ruthless decision to retain the Windsor area as a surplus labour pool, a mini pre-Hibernia Newfoundland, to provide a reliable reservoir of workers for red-hot B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan."

Does that sound familiar, echoing Eddie's State of the City speech.

I really have had enough. I'm sick of the shenanigans. There is no need for them. 60 more days of spending $300,000 of taxpayer money for what? $4.3 million of taxpayer money spent on consultants and lawyers with what results achieved? Cynical political opportunism, stalling and delays to what end?

And where are the Councillors? Oh I know, they are manning the booth at Devonshire Mall. Perhaps they should be selling Lottery tickets instead.