Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, March 23, 2009

Just-In-Timely Stories

I can hardly keep up. There are so many stories that are of interest that you should know about. All I can do is try to bring them to you in as timely a fashion as I can!


Honestly, I would never have expected it. Joe Comartin has effectively signalled the end of the DRIC bridge and it seems that he has thrown his support to the Owner of the Ambassador Bridge!

Say whatever you will about the Windsor NDP MPs in Windsor, they certainly know how to grab an issue and back a winner! No wonder they have been re-elected so many times with hardly any opposition.

The Star story stated:
  • “Windsor is the logical place to test pre-clearing vehicles by U.S. customs facilities, Windsor-Tecumseh MP Joe Comartin said Thursday.

    "If you really want a meaningful pilot project you do it at the busiest border crossing," Comartin said.

    Comartin was responding to news that Canadian Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan said he had "gained a commitment" from the Obama administration to open talks about pre-clearing vehicles to unclog the borders. Van Loan has suggested using the Detroit-Windsor border for a pilot project…

    If talks are successful and Windsor is chosen to test the pre-clearance of vehicles, Comartin said the move would probably eliminate wait times.”

There is only one location that would be chosen and that is at the Ambassador Bridge. Clearly, MP Comartin knows what he is talking about if he said that wait times would be eliminated. Accordingly, why is there a need for a new DRIC bridge? The answer now is that there is none! There would be no issues in Windsor with respect to backups since obviously there would be sufficient capacity.

Normally, one would have expected Brian Masse to have made the comments but he was probably away doing extensive research on whatever his next issue is going to be to help him get re-elected. There is no doubt though that Joe and Brian are speaking as if they are one voice on this matter. Perhaps they could convince the Mayor that he should come onside as well.

When the NDP have effectively dropped their support of a public bridge because they have recognized that there is no need for it, then Matty Moroun has been proven correct all the way along! It would seem that certain people owe him an apology.


With their own website paid for by taxpayers and with the PM going to places like Sarnia for a paltry $13.5M investment, you know the Conservatives are going to get great mileage out of this economic disaster that they did not know about before the last federal election!


Where has our Mayor been during this tumultuous week in Windsor? He has been invisible.

Why, he has not even picked up the telephone and made a personal phone call with Prime Minister Harper or the Premier to deal with the Chrysler crisis. There have been no words from his Office to calm us in this time of potential disaster when it appears that Chrysler may pull out of town.

How I am I supposed to know what I am to think about the Bridge Company and their bonds or the RFP for DRIC. I assume that reverse customs is a good idea because of security reasons but I dare not say anything until our Mayor has spoken first. Is there going to be another advertising blitz to oppose all of this and some more postcards to be filled in?

I am told that our Mayor was in Mexico. I do not know if this is a VACATION FOREIGN rather than a VACATION CANADIAN. However, I expect that it is really a working visit by our Mayor to Mexico.

There is no doubt in my mind that he has been visiting all of the maquiladoras in Mexico, especially the ones related to the automobile industry. In case you did not know what maquiladora means, here is one description:
  • "There are over one million Mexicans working in over 3,000 maquiladora manufacturing or export assembly plants in northern Mexico, producing parts and products for the United States. Mexican labor is inexpensive and courtesy of NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), taxes and custom fees are almost nonexistent, which benefit the profits of corportations. Most of these maquiladora lie within a short drive of the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Maquiladoras are owned by U.S., Japanese, and European countries and some could be considered "sweatshops" composed of young women working for as little as 50 cents an hour, for up to ten hours a day, six days a week. However, in recent years, NAFTA has started to pay off somewhat - some maquiladoras are improving conditions for their workers, along with wages. Some skilled workers in garment maquiladoras are paid as much as $1-$2 an hour.”

I am sure that Eddie is way in front of the marketplace in this matter. Consider these factors:

  •  Windsor of course is right on the US border just like some of these factory areas in Mexico
  •  CAW auto workers’ salaries are being slashed,
  •  our unemployment rate is the highest in Canada
  •  “Windsor's new immigrants rank among the lowest income earners across the nation
  •  the only jobs that we seem to be getting from our Undevelopment Commission are minimum wage ones.

Expect when our Mayor comes back that we will hear about him proposing to set up a maquiladora zone, probably around the airport lands to tie into his idea of having a US and Canadian Customs Plaza near there for perishable goods.

Now we will truly be the Tijuana of Canada.


Which one is treated more seriously by the new American Admnistration.

I suspect that it is the one with Mexico. As you know,
  • "Congress included language in the recent omnibus spending law (PL 111-8) to shut down a Bush administration pilot program that allowed approved Mexican trucking companies to send their vehicles beyond a narrow border zone."
The Mexicans retaliated by imposing tariffs on about 90 goods of of 10 percent to 40 percent. Naturally, American exporters are upset since they are losing business.
I read that
  • "Obama has said he is interested in revisiting a cross-border trucking program to honor NAFTA. The president is planning a trip to Mexico in mid-April, where he is expected to discuss the topic."
IF the President decides to trump the Congress – say by issuing an Executive Order or by continuing with the previous USDOT policy - what would this say to our PM? It would say that he doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. After all, Mexico’s President didn’t have a cozy meeting as PM Harper!


Every so often whoever lays out the front page of the Star demonstrates that he/she has a sense of humour. Here is another example that I am certain must have made the DRIC people upset.

I do not know how the Bridge Company people do it but they always have an announcement to counter anything that the Governments do.

If one wants to have another reason why P3s make no sense, the RFP sets out that money will have to be spent by DRIC on more consultants!


I wonder how much work some of these parking ticket agencies are getting from Windsorites who have been tagged at the East End Arena.

Speaking of poor parking, the Councillor formerly known as Councillor Budget is very fortunate. When the City is forced to buy more land for parking from Mr. Farhi, since the project is “complete,” the cost will not be charged to the Arena project so that it is now over-budget!