Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Canada Got It All A**backwards

Stephen, you just have to shake things up in Ottawa or you will lose that nice house in Ottawa, the limo and the Government jets too.

  • “Canada's opposition Liberals maintained their narrow lead over the ruling Conservatives in an opinion poll released on Saturday, though Prime Minister Stephen Harper is still seen as the best leader for the country.”

It is not enough to be popular. That can change. And those attack ads against IGGY----are you that afraid of him? You have just made him a serious candidate to be PM. You gave him the credibility he never had. Listen to me, you need new advisors Stephen. As you will read, not only you but some of your Ministers as well.

I suspect that Iggy’s people are reading this BLOGsite for tips on the border file and how to deal with Eddie. I am disappointed that the Conservatives are not and suggest that they better do so soon. If they are, then they seem to have a severe understanding disability.

As an example of a Department that needs a stirring up, take Transport Canada. Please.

What a mess they are making of the border file. They are doing it all wrong. Whether it is the bureaucrats or the Minister’s staff I do not know. But Stephen, you better tell Minister Baird to clean house, pronto. With him and Jeff Watson and their newest, bestest buddy Mayor Eddie Francis, you are cruising on our proposed $48M and counting canal for a bruising!

I am telling you, Iggy is sharpening his blade over this scandal as are Brian and Joe. The only question I have is who will embarrass you first!

Take a look at this story and you will understand exactly where I am coming from:

  • Town battles U.S. protectionism

    Other municipalities may join Halton Hills in refusing to sign contracts with U.S. companies

    OTTAWA -- An Ontario town -- population 58,000 -- is vying to be the mouse that roared in the battle against big bad U.S. protectionism.

    Upset that one of its biggest manufacturers is being shut out of municipal infrastructure projects in the U.S. under Buy American legislation, the Town of Halton Hills is taking matters into its own hands.

    Town council has unanimously passed a resolution that would have the Toronto-area municipality discriminate against any country that discriminates against Canada…

    Buy American clauses in President Barack Obama's $800-billion US stimulus package have raised the ire of international government that accuse the administration of preaching free trade but practising stealth protectionism.

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper believed he had exacted a concession from the U.S. administration in February when Obama pledged to honour international trade obligations, in the application of Buy American provisions.

    But Canadian firms and observers say the U.S. is getting around the letter of the law by filtering billions of federal dollars, which are subject to NAFTA through municipalities, which are not.

    The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters says there are seven bills before Congress with protectionist provisions…

    Hayward said the Conservative government is only now awakening to the seriousness of the problem. Not only is do the provisions hurt current Canadian manufacturers, he said, they will discourage foreign investors from locating plants in Canada that would also serve the U.S. market.”

This is hardly new. It's the real reason for the 50 year Government policy trying to take over the Ambassador Bridge. Control the corridors and gateways into the US for our goods and those from foreign countries shipped via Canadian ports.

This is revelation is merely a variation of Senator Colin Kenny’s “Dirty Little Secret” where the Americans say one thing but do another in their own interest:

  • “American leaders are very good at saying the right things in public…

    But there is a dirty little secret behind some U.S. politicians’ lack of interest in rushing to make Canada-U.S. land border crossings more secure, and it is this:

    Border uncertainty serves the interest of certain businesses and some local politicians in Michigan by making Canada a less attractive place to invest capital.”

    If industry perceives the border crossings at Windsor-Detroit to be unreliable, then in time Canada will see negative impacts such as less investment, and even disinvestment…

    But to some American communities that would like to see investment in Canada move south of the border, this may amount to patriotic talk that disguises where they would actually like to walk.”

The Transport Minister and Dave Wake certainly did not help the case with them saying that the Ambassador Bridge would be stopped cold and the DRIC bridge postponed which means no Highway 401 connection to the border in our lifetime. That kills the border and makes it so easy for the Americans. PM, I heard the ads for investing in Michigan while driving in my car!

What were the geniuses of Transport and DRIC thinking? Have they no brains? They are killing our economy out of their own mouths. They seem to be working for American states to send business southward. Who were the ones who convinced you that a pricey Canadian dollar was good also?

Oh sorry, I forgot. The bureaucrats have the answer. They got you, PM, to hire two former American political appointees:

  • “The Canadian government paid George W. Bush's former press secretary $24,500 to help communicate with Americans before this month's G20 summit.

    Ari Fleischer was paid to help promote the strength of Canada's banks, its positions on trade and the economy, and to set up interviews with U.S. media.

    Canada's Prime Minster, Stephen Harper, hired both Fleischer and Bill Clinton's ex-spokesman Mike McCurry to help spread message about Canada in the United States, reports the Canadian Press.”

Now that really helped! You got a bunch of interviews for $50,000.

Stephen, Stephen, Stephen. Get a grip, man. That was a waste of money! You need a “vested” interest in the border file, someone whose interests match yours to help you out with the Americans. You cannot do it alone. You need a fighter. Of course you know who I mean: Matty Moroun.

Instead of vilifying the man through smears in the US and trying to put him out of business, you ought to be working with him. For heaven’s sake PM, all of the negative things you say about him are exactly what helps out Canada! The attacks are: a**backwards!

Seriously, he has made the border work here to make our crossing #1 without Canada’s help and in spite of you not doing what Canada promised eg build a BIF road to his bridge to make traffic flow more smoothly. He has been able to overcome your roadblocks and still some in Ottawa think you can beat him. Heck, you are really beating yourself!

Don't you get it...notwithstanding the opposition by your Government, the Province, Eddie, some of your American buddies, the Windsor Star and some of their writers and some other US media, notwithstanding the lies, deception and the mis- and dis-information, notwithstanding Bill C-3 and the Interim Control and Demolition by-laws and Sandwich Heritage designation, most people in Windsor expect him to build his bridge and are tired of Transport Canada blocking it. Transport helped create Citizens for Jobs Now!

So he wants to make a few dollars in tolls. It is “user pay” so what’s the big deal. People can go elsewhere. People are prepared to pay more to get through the border more quickly. After all, there is the Tunnel as competition for cars and certain trucks and the Blue Water Bridge for trucks as even they admit. Why don’t users go where it is cheaper---because they do not want to spend a horrific amount of time waiting to save a few pennies. That keeps the economy moving PM and tourists coming, exactly what you want.

With the money he makes, HE maintains his own bridge without the need for Government cash. His profits have allowed him to enlarge the plaza, build new Customs booths which your colleague will not staff with CBSA officers and to build an Enhancement Project bridge without taxpayer money. Look at what the Transport Minister’s bridges have done according to the Auditor General:

  • “We found a significant deficiency in the Corporation’s ability to maintain and repair existing bridges and facilities, given the status of current funding. Significant capital investments are needed at several bridges in the Montréal area and at international bridges. FBCL estimates costs to maintain and repair existing bridges and facilities at $615 million over the next five years. FBCL estimates that it will lack about $371 million in revenues to cover these costs and other operating expenses over the next five years. Because FBCL and its subsidiaries do not have borrowing authority, federal funding will be needed for the repairs. If the repair programs do not proceed in a timely manner, the ability to safeguard the bridges and maintain current levels of service could be compromised and could increase the safety risk.”

He likes to sue people to get his way. That helps you out, PM. You do not need another softwood lumber case. Let him go to court with you as his invisible partner.

So he sues. That is why HE was not afraid to sue the US Government to get Customs booths built to end the border backups in Windsor. Please do not tell me that you would have done that. We both know better. You would not dare create an international incident while he can do it as a “private citizen.” If Ambassador Wilson was your representative to get the booths built, we would still have miles of truck backups here and you know it.

You cannot contribute to politicians’ campaigns but he can and does. Oh my what a crime to do what the law allows. If that helps facilitate trade then what do you care? The best you have going for you in DC is the Ambassador and NAFTA-gate. Who will the US President take more seriously?

Your interest in keeping traffic going across the border is exactly his. That is the point of the news article I posted above. He wants cars and trucks crossing his bridge, as many as possible. Your motivation may be the economic well-being of Canada and his may be the economic well-being of his Company but you both want an efficient and smooth-flowing border. Why then are you arguing and fighting? I just do not understand it any more Stephen.


If he can use whatever poltiical influence he has and use his friends to pressure Washington and Lansing to keep the bridge open to Canadian trade as he has done in the past, then you ought to be applauding him and having the G-G offer him the Order of Canada or an honourary citizenship or something.

Look PM, I can only say this so many times to help you out. If you won't listen then I know Iggy will. Airplane terminals are so tiresome.

PS. Stephen, your people may think I am kidding and will ignore me again. Read this article printed in the Windsor Star today. It explains what I have been saying is correct:

  • "Emerson's new border push

    Some Canada-U.S. border impediments, Emerson says, are 'blatantly protectionist.'

    By Barbara Yaffe, Canwest News Service

    Influential former federal minister and leading business executive David Emerson is calling on Canada to lead a new charge on continental integration. He calls his idea Project North America.

    Says Emerson: "I think the process of integration has to begin with the two leaders, perhaps three," outlining a joint vision for closer collaboration.

    "Probably from there to a high level emissaries model to put meat on the bones."

    Canada's former international trade and foreign affairs minister in the Harper government is among a rising tide of voices in recent months expressing concern about a thickening border and growing protectionism in the U.S., despite the smiling face of Barack Obama.

    But even as Emerson is urging greater co-ordination between Canada and the U.S., and secondarily Mexico, the trend line is going in the opposite direction."

Your former Cabinet colleague and former Liberal as well has made it clear that both major Canadian political parties understand and are working together to ensure that Canada has access to the US. It is "non-partisan."

Both parties think that the symbolic key is the Ambassador Bridge and that is why both parties introduced legislation to try to force the Bridge Company owner to sell out. It was your third Bill introduced into Parliamant, Bill C-3, after all!

Oh my, both parties failed to understand that it was the wrong strategy. They should have been working with him, not against him.

It is clear that the Ambassador Bridge is part of Canada's need to gain entry into the US. Instead of working with Moroun, the border fiasco is soon going to become a flashpoint in the deterioration of our relationship with the US. Can you say "softwood lumber."

Stephen, you are getting the wrong strategic advice. Ask who in Government feels the need to be "vindicated" personally on dealings with the Bridge Company and why. You will understand better then and will be able to develop the proper strategy!

I am around. My phone number is in the book if you need some help.