Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's ON: Eddie Vs. Brian

Nothing like making complete jackasses out of the 7 Council members who voted to put Eddie's canal vision back on the wish list for infrastructure money.

Remember how local Conservative MP begged Council to put the canal project on the list:
  • "several councillors later said was Watson practically guaranteeing Ottawa's approval should Windsor submit a marina-canal application."

Then we saw in the Star on May 11 so Eddie could have another chance:

  • "Cities tardy with wish lists
    With extension, Windsor can still get federal infrastructure cash for canal, MP insists

    Windsor, with its $48-million canal project, is not alone in getting an extension on the deadline to apply for federal stimulus funding, says local Conservative MP Jeff Watson.

    Toronto and many smaller communities across the country also didn't get their wish lists in by the May 1 deadline and are being given more time to make their pitches for some of Ottawa's $4-billion infrastructure program, said Watson (C--Essex).

    "We are in a brief period of flexibility of getting applications in," he said. "I would suggest that's probably down to hours and days, rather than weeks."

Of course, NDPers Brian and Joe started asking embarrassing questions which could have required the Auditor General to come in and investigate and perhaps cause problems for Minister Baird.

However, true to form, our Mayor got his way as Councillors flip-flopped but unfortunately too late it seems:

  • "Is it too late for downtown canal application?

    It may be too late for Windsor to apply for federal economic stimulus money to pay for its $48-million canal project, said local MP Jeff Watson (C — Essex).

    “We are two and a half weeks past the deadline and I'm not optimistic the application will be accepted or added to the process to be examined,” Watson said Wednesday.

    Accepting the city’s canal bid 20 days after the May 1 deadline for funds under Ottawa’s $4-billion infrastructure program could open a pandora's box.

    The infrastructure program is overseen by Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities John Baird who can decide whether to accept the canal bid.

    But, a spokesman for Baird said Wednesday they will at least look at the proposal.

    “If and when we get a formal request, we will consider it according to the eligibility criteria and on its own merits,” said Chris Day.

    If deemed to be too late or fails to meet program qualifications, there is also a chance the canal may get bumped to another federal funding program, Day said.

    He listed eight projects submitted by Windsor as including improvements to the airports lands, city centre streetscaping, Walker-Wyandotte intersection improvements, city sewer rehabilitation and upgrades to the Lou Romano sewage treatment plant."

Wait a minute, only 8 projects....I thought we had submitted 22. What happened to the other 14? From virtually guaranteed, Watson is now saying

  • "I'm not optimistic the application will be accepted."

Wow, Watson and Baird are off the hook since Windsor was too late ie the Mayor and Administration screwed up. We do not want a scandal for the Conservatives while they are giving out pre-election goodies: "a pandora's box" of problems that would need explaining.

What I find amazing though is that Watson did not run right down to the Council meeting and tell them they were too late. He knew. Why did he not save them from looking stupid? After all, he came before and virtually guaranteed its acceptance earlier. He did not hesitate to go to that Council meeting.

Of course we can try and guess the reality. Watson has probably been told that Eddie may be the Conservative candidate to run against Brian Masse and to do whatever he can to help him. I wonder who Eddie's campaign manager might be too.

Watson did his job at the infamous "Susan Boyle Halberstadt" Council meeting but went too far and caused the Minister problems.

The new vote took place at Council without the "too late" information being given to Councillors so Eddie has his $50M project on the table for which "the canal may get bumped to another federal funding program." Or more likely, the canal will be killed since it was "too late" but that $50M will be found to fund the reasons why Eddie wanted the $50M in the first place as I had predicted long ago!

This whole canal project and the way it was handled should cause grave concern! Oh my goodness, it apparently required the Mayor to go on the radio to take this action:

  • "On Wednesday the mayor called into Lynne Martin's morning show on AM800 to defend himself against what he described as a widespread rumour he will somehow personally benefit from construction of the canal."

    Yes I will benefit," Mayor Francis said, tongue in cheek, going on to list the ways in which Windsor would be a more successful city if a canal is dug parallel to Riverside Drive.

    That's not exactly the kind of personal benefit the rumour-mongers were inferring, but never mind."

Oh dear. Has it come to this in Windsor? The Mayor has to justify to us that he is honest.

Brian Masse can smell an issue that he can use for his re-election campaign. He was in the paper today saying for the third time:

  • "Local MP Brian Masse (NDP — Windsor West) said the latest twist around the canal project and lack of clarity around the deadline is another sign of disfunction around the stimulus program.

    He previously expressed concerns projects were being rushed for approval too quickly without due diligence and would leave a legacy of debt to taxpayers.

    “This shouldn't t be a three-ring circus,” said Masse.

    “It’s an attempt to stimulate the economy, but its being done fast and loose with no clarity of what or when anything is eligible. This is another example that strikes at the lack of accountability and proper process in place.”

Brian used the word "circus" deliberately. He knows what a circus Council is with its ringmaster, the Mayor. He knows the word "Clowncil."

Brian knows that the election campaign has started already! No wonder he was never a strong supporter of Greenlink! If Eddie keeps up the fight with CUPE as well, Brian will have so many workers to help him out that it will be a shoo-in for him!