Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, April 04, 2008

All So Strange

Is there a full moon or something outside? So many bizarre occurrences in this City that seem so difficult to understand. Let me set out a few of them:


Aren't you tired of reading all the excuses about the Tunnel bus another time. I know my daughter was stuck once for a couple of hours before the bus was able to clear US Customs.

Again, there was a problem when a "judgment call"-- whatever that means-- by US Customs caused more problems.

Did you know that
  • "Transit Windsor, 311, the Detroit Canada Tunnel Corporation and the CBP of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are committed to finding a solution to the lengthy delays that transit buses sometimes face. "

The Star story said that

  • "Delays in moving sports fans across the Windsor-Detroit border on Transit Windsor buses last week have been solved and shouldn't happen in the future, a spokesman for the transit company said Wednesday."

Take comfort from that....Don't. The City Press Release states:

  • "Due to traffic congestion in downtown Detroit, periods of heighten security or other circumstances beyond the control of Transit Windsor, delays may occur on the tunnel bus service."

As I have suggested before, the way to solve the Tunnel bus problem is for the buses to take the Ambassador Bridge!


Now we understand that in fact Mr. Fischer, or rather his company, was not hired for three years but three years subject to an early termination clause.

We also learn that the Commission is headed in a new direction. I wonder what that is... towards oblivion.

Don't you find it strange that when Mr. Fischer was hired that the Board did not seem to have a three year view of what they were supposed to be doing. It seems that the Board was happy with his initial work but now have decided that they need someone with "private sector business experience" to take the Commission to the next stage.

Did they think it would take Mr. Fischer three years to do his initial work? Mind you, it took years for the Commission to be set up in the first place and a year for them to find out they had no brochures to hand out to investors. If so, they are following the Eddie Francis timetable for jobs creation... remember that there was to be no money for the Jobs Today $100 million Fund until after Eddie left office in 2010.

Did they merely bring in Fischer to build a Business Plan for them for a period of just over a year knowing that they were going to dump him before the end of his contract? Here is a shocking comment that may support this:

  • "Our board took all the advice and experience that he had, and tried to use that to its maximum potential said Dr. Albert Schumacher. "We're ready for other ideas and ready to move in different directions "
If so, who would even think of coming here in the first place now!
Unless they did not read his CV, they knew that he did not have this kind of experience business experience when he was hired. In fact, as you may recall, he wrote the following when he was hired as set out in my BLOG:
  • "This will be a chance for me to put my theories into practice in a real-life, fast-paced environment."

There obviously is a very big story that we do not know about. And please don't give me this nonsense about confidentiality and all that. Saying someone was fired is very strong language. Citizens have a right to know what is going on. After all the Vice Chair said that:

  • "the decision to terminate Fischer was discussed by the board "for some time,

    "We can say that over the last several weeks, we moved in that direction," Schumacher said."

I am so thrilled with their decisive and timely action.

As a taxpayer who is funding this farce of an organization, they should be made to come clean in front of our City Council if they want any more money and explain what is going on there. They need to justify why they should not be wound up. Who could possibly have any confidence in this Commission? My only hope is that the County itself decides to pull the plug on it because the City does not have the guts to do so.

As for Mr. Fischer, if everything is so cut and dried, then why did he retain counsel?

This episode is very strange to me as well because of the similarity to the Windsor Utilities Commission matter where Eddie Francis did all the talking rather than the Chair, Councillor Lewenza. Where is the Chair, Remo Mancini, to explain to us what is going on rather than the Vice Chair. It is the Commission's future at stake, not just the job of one person.

This waste of time and money at a time when this Region is in serious difficulty is shocking and disgraceful. How many more millions do we have to waste!


I wish Brian would stick to federal politics and try to accomplish something there rather than sticking his nose into everybody else's business. I must admit that, when I first got involved with STOPDRTP, I saw Brian running around so much doing municipal things that I thought he was running for Mayor!

Just look at the first paragraph of his Guess Column in the Star:

  • "The need for the City of Windsor's campaign for the province to fund the GreenLink proposal is an unfortunate situation that is the end result of a failed decision-making process set in place years ago. Compounding this tragedy was that it was predicted to happen at that time."

If it was predicted to happen years ago, then why didn't our illustrious Member of Parliament do something about it. Why did he sit on his rear end for years, especially when the NDP had the balance of power in the Federal Parliament. He did nothing on the border file while the NDP had the future of the Government in its hands. It demonstrates that he is totally powerless as an NDP MP to do anything for his riding where the new border crossing will go through, for his City or for the region.

Brian's call for "public ownership, public control" did not happen. If there is a P3 deal for the new DRIC bridge, that bridge will be under the control of a private operator for up to a hundred years just like other toll roads being built with private money. Moreover, that bridge will result in the financial destruction of the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel and perhaps also severe financial hardship for the Blue Water Bridge. Brian has clearly not yet read the US DRIC report where that is demonstrated. I guess Brian can take credit for public institutions going into bankruptcy.

"These victories are significant" claims Brian. Sure, wasting billions of dollars of taxpayer money for an NDP Member of Parliament is a victory. Socialism at its best. Why use private enterprise money that will build a bridge at the owner's risk and expense and from an operator who actually knows what he's doing being the best in North America.

Again Brian demonstrates his failure to achieve anything for this City

  • "The full tunnelling option, which was demanded by residents and which I advocated as the best possible solution for the city"

DUHHHH, we are not getting that either. So much for his advocacy on our behalf.

For the remainder of his Column, Brian focuses on the Province:

  • "first the provincial cabinet still has to exercise its mandatory responsibility and make a decision.

    Hopefully they have been listening to the residents of this area."

Brian, they're not going to listen to you either. Perhaps you should get Howard Hampton to do something or are you looking for his job because you are afraid that you may not be re-elected once Joyce Zuk announces she's going to run against you.

A note to Sandra and Dwight. Do us all a favour, please. If you want to make sure that Brian keeps his nose out of your business, then have Buzz Hargrove speak to him. Did you see the way Brian backtracked so quickly when Buzz took a shot at him over the Ford story in the Star. Hargrove said:

  • "I am furious that you could not rise above partisan politics and support Ford laid-off workers and the country's most important industry, especially in your own riding."

    Later Wednesday, Masse played down the apparent rift...

    "I appreciate where Buzz is coming from and, in fact, we spoke today and have agreed to meet in the near future to discuss the problems facing not only the auto industry but also the parts sector in Windsor and the surrounding area," said Masse.

To paraphrase Eddie's State of the City speech:

  • "I must be blunt and direct regarding exactly what we need.
    Sandra Pupatello, Bruce Crozier and Dwight Duncan – help us out!
    We have seen what you can deliver for our city and our region...
    We ask you to come to the table. To work with us.
    Today, I am asking … I am pleading … on behalf of 218 000 people in Windsor …for you to hear our call. You’re well-respected and senior people within the provincial government – and others senior within the CAW like Buzz Hargrove will listen to you.
    Work with our City to advocate for our community. Come back to the table, and help us keep Brian quiet."


He better be careful in supporting a tunnel concept, even a Schwunnel, for the new road to the border or he may cause severe financial problems to the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel resulting in its closure or, at the least, resulting in all trucks being sent to the bridge. Frankly, Transport Canada has no guts even though it has new legislation or else it would be looking seriously at the future of the Tunnel in my opinion.

As I have said before so many times, it is a "unique security risk."

I've written here several times recently about why Greenlink will never happen. It is a shame that our emergency personnel are not free to say what they think about the concept of Greenlink. Fortunately Gord has now said that for us:

  • "According to his sources, Exhibit A in this scare-the-rubes campaign will be a fiery pileup last October in a Santa Clarita, Calif., freeway tunnel which claimed three lives and closed a major interstate highway for days. GreenLink will be presented as a disaster-in-waiting that could paralyse international trade and cost Canada and the U.S. countless jobs."

It is such a huge risk to the border, as US Customs identified already with another crossing in the Region where there is not going to be a tunnel.

Gord makes this claim as a rebuttal:

  • "After all, Windsor has eight decades of familiarity with one that's longer, deeper and far less sophisticated than any of the proposed GreenLink tunnels."

If that is the case, and Gord is saying that this is effectively a non-issue, then why did his good buddy Eddie and Mr. Sutts see the need to incorporate a new Tunnel Corporation. After all, the big point raised by Sutts was:

  • "Sutts said the move to incorporate is intended to insulate the city from liability.

    "For example, if there should be a terrorist act that causes extensive damage and injury to parties, it wouldn't be a burden on the taxpayers of the City of Windsor," he said."

Eddie said the following as well:

  • "What we will be dealing with is a recommendation from legal counsel to put the tunnel into a corporation to protect the taxpayer from any financial exposure that might occur from an act of terrorism or accident," said Mayor Eddie Francis."
There is a new world out there Gord where the rules have changed. Eddie as Tunnel Commission Chair knows or ought to know it. Incorporation is merely a reflection of the obvious thereby demonstrating the heightened risks with tunnels. Limiting of liability is so important now.

Give it a rest Gord. Greenlink is dead along with the gazelles who are no longer going to be fed!