Can The Government Be Trusted
I really wonder how the Bridge Co. people feel. They have a serious dilemma facing them that they have to deal with almost immediately
Oh, I don't think that they are too concerned about what the Federal Government said in Windsor about where the location of the new bridge and plaza is going to be. It was to be expected. After all, the Government has to play through as well their charade of trying to force them out of business. This was just another step in the comedy.
I am sure that they will expect as well attacks such as the following to increase over the next few months:
- "there may be self-interests who will want to try and delay construction through legal action."
A person who says something like that obviously does not run his/her own business and is not concerned about having government compete with him/her and take away what he/she has achieved through his/her own money and efforts. That person has a different self-interest that somehow is commendable.
How many times has the Windsor Star stated in news stories the expectation that the Bridge Company will litigate in the last few weeks. Make them the bad guys. I must admit that our Mayor has threatened litigation a lot more than they have but no one seems to take him to task for that.
I think that their real question has to be how one can trust the Government of Canada.
I know that this is a very serious statement to make but this has to be what is in their minds right now. Minister Cannon disclosed what you and I, dear reader, already suspected, that Senator Fortier is now the lead guy on the border file and he has been down here speaking to the Mayor and now we learn, to the Ambassador Bridge Company.
One would think that, unless they have already had lots of conversations, the discussions between the Bridge Company and the Senator have been fairly preliminary, feeling each other out one might say to understand each other's position. I am sure if it is in the normal course of how negotiations are carried out either the Bridge Company or the Senator would be coming to the other party soon with a proposition for resolving the dispute. Both sides would expect that the other side is going to be acting in good faith in doing so.
It is interesting to me that the Federal Government needed to make its announcement about the DRIC bridge and plaza at this time, before the Americans had made their final decision. Whatever happened to acting in a coordinated fashion? Why would they make the announcement when presumably they are still negotiating with the Bridge Company? That does not make too much sense to me.
Clearly, Canada must feel threatened. Someone has identified that there is the need to act immediately and to arrange something with the US president over the Border before Senator Obama is elected President. If that is true, and given the Radio-Canada news story it would appear to be, then there is a need to get a decision out of the Bridge Company as soon as possible.
And the only way to get them to back off is to try and scare them. Or so some in Ottawa must think. When one lives in a rarefied atmosphere, with indexed pensions, one tends to think that way. They are after all the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!
If you were the Bridge Company, what would you think about the Government today? Would you think that the Government is acting in good faith? Would you consider this to be fair dealing or would you consider this to be a pressure ploy to force you to sell out cheaply:
- "And Cannon vowed nothing will stand in the way of the federal government completing the project - not finances, legal challenges or constructability.
Discussions involving federal government authorities have been taking place with Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun, who has threatened to derail the DRIC effort, claiming that it will steal much of his truck traffic revenues.
"I don't want to make statements in terms of discussions with Mr. Moroun's group, but I do want to assure you those discussions are taking place," Cannon said.
He indicated the door is open for the bridge company to be among those considered for private sector investment of the new bridge."
The Transport Minister's statement is really quite laughable. But it is also very sad. He's going to have that bridge built in that location no matter how many salt mines and brine wells there may be or how many power plants are around the Bridge on both sides of the river or how many families and businesses have to be uprooted. It doesn't matter to him either if that DRIC bridge bankrupts itself because there is no traffic and the other crossings as well. He wants to be there for the ribbon cutting ceremony no matter what.
Now we did hear the Transport Minister say that Canada was "committed" to building the new DRIC bridge. Even though he is the messenger of the Senator, presumably so that he and his comments can be dismissed out of hand if needed as a negotiating tactic, it seems to me that effectively the Government is saying that they have no intention of dealing in good faith with the Bridge Company anymore. How can they be when they are going to move forward regardless. What is there to negotiate?
One would have thought, at the minimum, that one way to try to structure a deal with the Bridge Company is to promise them that they could run the new DRIC bridge as the P3 operator. I am certain that our Mayor could explain to Senator Fortier all about single source agreements. After all, the Government, according to US DRIC, will be taking away the vast majority of their business. I must admit that I don't remember Transport Canada saying that in front of the Senate during the hearings on Bill C-3 but that is a whole other issue.
Now the best of the Government will do is to "consider" them. Would that make you feel comfortable? To me, that is hardly an inducement not to litigate. Rather, to me, that is an invitation to litigate so that Brian Hicks can finally do something in his new job.
Here is what the Government is saying:
- We know that you have spent a half billion dollars of your own money over the last decade getting ready to build your Enhancement Project. We know that Governments on both sides of the river have led you to believe that they were in favour of you moving forward...the Ambassador Gateway project being the prime example on the US side and the $300 million Border Infrastructure Fund to build a road to your bridge being the obvious example on the Canadian side.
It does not matter now. We have decided to build a new crossing a mile away from you for reasons that do not stand up if scrutinized but who cares. We intend to take away the vast majority of your business and not pay for it but we will graciously allow you to bid in competition with other companies around the world to try to get it back!
If I am the Bridge Company Owner, I would throw my hands up in the air and say I cannot figure out what this Government is doing at all. And then go back and continue to move forward on my Enhancement Project bridge and forget about this childishness.