Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Border Blunder of Monumental Proportions

Thank goodness the border lies are almost finally finished.

Now we definitely know why there were all of those anti-Moroun stories in the papers over the last month or so. It was not by chance but planned, involving people on both sides of the river. The purpose was to demonize Moroun and draw away his support. If everyone hated the man, then who would be concerned or care if the Government of Canada finally acknowledged that the real purpose of DRIC was to destroy his business. Which politician would dare stand up and support his bridge project over that of DRIC? Pressure the Michigan Republicans!

It is so obvious that it was politically driven, like a negative ad campaign in an election. I will tell you how bad it was. While Gord got his car scratched over CUPE columns, I was threatened over my BLOGs! Since I am insignificant in the scheme of things, it just goes to show the extremes that some will go to ensure that any dissent is crushed. That is what is scary to me about what our Society has become. This file is symbolic of our breakdown.

It should be plain who went after me too. The threats came right after I was quoted recently in the Detroit Free Press and my Blogsite publicized:
  • “Ed Arditti, a Windsor resident who has blogged about the bridge controversies for years, said Canadian opposition to Moroun stems from distrust of private ownership of a border crossing.

    "Philosophically, Canada is not as free-enterprise as the United States," Arditti said. "It didn't matter who was the owner of the bridge, whether it was some saint in the United States or the devil. I think the bridge was an issue of economic nationalism for Canada."

That was a No-No on my part. No one is supposed to let the cat out of the bag that this is part of a 50 year old process by the Canadian Government to take over the running of the most important border crossing in North America.

50 years to try to take over a bridge with both major political parties have been involved and they still have been unsuccessful. Do you wonder why politicians and bureaucrats should never be allowed to run anything since it is not their money at stake and they are completely unaccountable for massive waste!

Of course it means effectively destroying the business of a US citizen and without proper compensation if that is what the Government’s plan is. Gee, that makes us like Cuba or Venezuela doesn’t it. And we are right on the American’s border too.

No wonder the Americans are upping the ante against us as a result of the Government’s policies and remarks like this from the PM in Chile:

  • “While most nations are turning toward economic reform and political openness, too often some in the hemisphere are led to believe that their only choices are - if I can be so bold to say - to return to the syndrome of economic nationalism, political authoritarianism and class warfare, or to become “just like the United States.”

    This is, of course, utter nonsense. Canada’s very existence demonstrates that the choice is a false one.

    Canada is an open, free and democratic society with the strongest economy in the G8 today, while also being a proud and independent country with our own way-of-life.

    Canada’s political structures differ substantially from those in the United States. Our cultural values and social models have also been shaped by unique forces and we've made our own policy choices to meet our own needs.”

I am still reeling from the remarks made by Transport Canada Minister John Baird to the Hub conference and to the media as well as the news interview by Dave Wake.

Unlike the Saturday Star where the Editors fell over themselves to praise Baird and Watson and their wonderful relationship with Eddie, they should have been slammed and our Mayor condemned for not speaking out against a level of Government that is killing our City by its continued inaction

So far the Minister and Wake have not been disowned so I take it that their remarks are absolutely accurate. The gist of it:

  •  Federal Transportation minister John Baird said Wednesday his government is committed to building a downriver bridge in Windsor and dismissed the Ambassador Bridge's twin span proposal…

  •  Baird said the federal government is "committed to move full speed ahead on getting a new Detroit-Windsor bridge built and will do everything we can to move forward quickly…"

  •  Asked about the Ambassador Bridge's twin span proposal, Baird responded: "I don't think it works for the community's best interests or environmentally."

  •  It is now 2015 for completion, 2 years later. Maybe. You see, 2013 was never the real deadline for the end of construction; 2013 was merely “a goal to focus on”

Do you understand the significance of what was said? We have been lied to for years now and they just do not care!

Read it again slowly and note the devastating impact on Windsor:

  • 1) The DRIC bridge will be at least 2 years late

  • 2) The Ambassador Bridge Project will never happen

  • 3) Accordingly, who needs a road to the bridge now


And you wonder why John’s new bestest little buddy friend, our Mayor, had to offer up the promise of municipal infrastructure work, $650M of it, and a canal out of the blue to keep people locally from going crazy if jobs were to disappear. The timing was impeccable too. Eddie’s pre-announcement about $300M, the increased amount announcement and the canal diversionary tactic.

Everything is all right as the Star article at the end stated (that is where all the key facts are hidden):

  • “According to Francis' presentation, Windsor's own stimulus capital spending will begin winding down by 2011, when such megaprojects as the new bridge crossing are expected to begin.

    He used the example of Calgary's building boom earlier this decade to illustrate why Windsor shouldn't be competing for contractors and labour when construction begins on the new border crossing.

    He said that city saw some contracts shoot up 50 per cent while others were cancelled because of skyrocketing costs.”

Do you see how beautifully everything falls together. No wonder Windsor can ignore deadlines for canal jobs and the Minister can say:

  • “The deadline has passed, but Windsor still has an opportunity to receive federal funding for a $48-million downtown canal project, Canada’s transportation and infrastructure minister said Wednesday.

    City council declined Friday to place the canal on a list of federal stimulus projects, missing a May 1 deadline.

    But John Baird suggested Wednesday the project could be included when Ottawa reveals its infrastructure allocation to the city.

    “The deadline was Friday, but we hope to come forward in short order on further economic stimulus for Windsor which badly needs it,” said the minister, in Windsor for a border transportation conference.”

I think it is a pretty fair assumption to make now that the Feds and Eddie have been working together, probably for some time. I think we can figure out now what was the subject matter of their airport meeting a few months ago.

Back to blunders. The Minister was clearly acting in a deliberate fashion. No fooling around here. Telling it as it is!

I will give him credit at least. Finally, a politician telling the truth on the border file and in effect whistleblowing on his colleagues at all levels of Government on both sides of the river. I guess when the trouble comes, he does not want to take the hit for deception. Who knows what the consequences could be!

Why do I say this? His comments were so out of left field that I still cannot believe he made them. He confirmed

  • 1) The Enhancement Bridge project environmental assessment was a phony given the bias he just expressed

  • 2) Windsor was “Delrayed” on the DRIC project ie we were promised something that they had no intention of ever living up to

  • 3) Parliament was deceived

  • 4) The anti-Americanism of the Canadian Government.

Did the Minister and the Government have enough? They played the charade long enough about a second bridge needed for traffic, security, redundancy, oversight etc etc but when Matty Moroun said he had no intention of selling out and cheaply they had to do something drastic.

In effect was Baird telling the world that Moroun was done and that his Company’s statements that the Canadian Government would treat them fairly was no longer true if it ever was.

There is some support for this perspective since the Transport Canada spokesperson, Mark Butler, said just recently in the Detroit Free Press:

  • Canadian federal authorities remain adamantly opposed to Moroun.

    "We believe that the new crossing should be subject to public oversight, and that would mean, in effect, a publicly owned bridge," said Mark Butler, a spokesman for the federal agency Transport Canada, on Thursday.”

When was this "oppostion" ever expressed before publicly? That was a lot different than the line that he espoused constantly before:

  • “Mark Butler, spokesman for Transport Canada, which must approve Moroun's primary Canadian permit, said that government is committed to a public crossing. Nonetheless, Butler said his agency won't discriminate against Moroun's permit when it considers issues such as noise and air quality. A decision could come by year's end.

    "There's no conflict and certainly no prejudice," Butler said.”

Do you remember this statement out of MDOT:

  • “MDOT's Mohammed Alghurabi, said only one span will be successful. The private plan is further along in the process.

    "We've been clear that the intent is not to have two bridges," Alghurabi said. "If the Detroit International Bridge Co. were to succeed (in getting cleared for construction), then the (public project) will not continue."

Why did Minister Baird make the remarks he did and why now? Does anyone in Ottawa understand the significance of this stupidity? It is going to rock the country. And the United States once it is publicized. Our anti-Canadian foes have just been given an issue on a silver platter by the Minister "to blame Canada."

To understand that more fully, dear reader, you will need to read my next chapter.