Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, June 05, 2009

"Feds Say Bridge Treated Fairly"

Oh it is sooooo good to do a border BLOG again.

I was getting tired about writing about irrational actions like the City/CUPE strike. It is so much easier to go back to writing about irrational actions in the border file.

Like the letter talked about in the Star article the other day.

DUH!!! What did you want the letter from Canadian Ambassador Michael Wilson to say:
  • "Feds say Bridge Company Screwed By Canada!"

Oooops. Transport Canada Minister John Baird and spokesperson Mark Butler had already said that a few weeks ago. I guess that His Excellency, the Ambassador, was called in for damage control to pretend so that the truth will not spread any further. It's easier to repeat the make-believe remarks told to the Canadian Senate about how important the Ambassador Bridge is while taking away all of its business!

  • "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."

  • "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."

  • "He [Baird] also left no doubt about how he viewed the Ambassador Bridge's twin span proposal.

    "I don't think it works for the community's best interests or environmentally," he told reporters."

Fairness eh. Transport Canada is the judge, jury and executioner on the Enhancement Project file and a competitor too for the new bridge. Why it is almost as fair as the Windsor Mayor/Head of the Tunnel Commission deciding whether the Bridge Company can tear down their homes on Indian Road while trying to get a big price from the Feds for its Brighton Beach lands where the DRIC plaza is to be built.

It is no wonder that Canada can say with all honesty:

  • "In Canada, the bridge company does not have any of the approvals necessary to proceed with construction," Wilson said."

Why is the Canadian Ambassador to the US still around in his job to be direct? And to be writing letters to American politicians too. Is that proper protocol not to go through the US State Department? Imagine if that happened in Canada. Hasn't PM Harper heard yet about the consequences of NAFTA-GATE? I can hardly wait for another international incident to ruin our relationship with the US even further.

To me, this letter tells me that the border war is just about over. I hope. Canada's position now is so weak vis-a-vis the Bridge Company that the only hope that Canada has is for the Americans to kill their project and allow DRIC to move forward. Or at least delay it for several years so that traffic might grow again and so that there might be some P3 money around.

Remember, the DRIC Bridge lie of being finished by 2013. Now we know that 2013 was merely a target date. Who knows when it really will be built. Terrific, jeopardizing our economies!

Rubbish! How could the Ambassador dare write what he did after the DRIC rep completely undercut him. I assume that His Most Royal Canadian Excellence did not receive the memo or watch the EH-Channel interview when he wrote:
  • "The Canadian government has assured Michigan lawmakers that Canada is committed to building another border crossing as quickly as possible."

Sorry, I am wrong. For Canada, delays are normal in this file since they have been so wrong with everything. For the Bridge Company, once they get their permits, their bridge will be up in around 30 months!

The reasons for all of the orchestrated anti-Moroun actions that hit the headlines in the Detroit media are obvious and make sense. Demonize Moroun so that no Michigan politician would dare support him as I speculated before.

Too bad that this tactic did not work. It would have been so much easier to negotiate a deal with Moroun 7 years ago. And a heck lot less expensive for taxpayers and less stressful on Windsorites. Clearly, that was never done because Canada is afraid to deal with the Bridge Company openly and honestly since apparently they are such shrewd negotiators. Transport Canada only knows how to deal with airlines and railways that they can bully or bridges whose Boards they appoint!

Seriously, step back a bit. Do you really want the same people running our border that the Auditor General slammed? The Federal Bridge Corporation Limited does report to the Transport Canada Minister after all and he must take full responsibility for the mess there. Wasn't it one of the companies that the Feds want to get rid of!

Wouldn't it be a hoot if the Bridge Company made an offer for it!

I am not going to deal with everything in the Star article but just the lowlights.

Here is the funniest part of the entire letter. It is so absurd that Jay Leno's ex-staff writers must have penned it while they are looking for new jobs:
  • "The bridge also failed to develop a master plan for the Canadian plaza over the last 18 months even though Canada Customs offered to hire an engineering consultant to help -- "an extraordinary measure" never before taken by the Canadian government, Wilson said."

Yes the Bridge Company is that stupid to have a Government-hired engineer design their plaza and thereby require a several year extension of the EA process. Talk about a bad faith offer!

But here is why it is so ridiculous. Other Government hired engineers (this time in the US) designed the Blue Water Bridge plaza that now requires a half billion dollar improvement because it did not work properly. The quasi-Governmental Peace Bridge people want to destroy a chunk of Buffalo for a new plaza there. The Americans spent a quarter of a billion on the Ambassador Gateway project and now want another one built a mere mile away!

Are they all mad?

Here is a knee-slapper if you happen to live in Delray, Michigan or if you are one to whom Environmental Justice applies:
  • "The Canadian government believes the DRIC crossing proposed for the Brighton Beach industrial area provides the best approach to "addressing our two countries' long-term cross-border security, mobility and trade requirements, while protecting local communities from significant negative impacts," he said in the letter."

Oh Michael, you ought to be on CBC's "Just For Laughs" with lines like that or on the Comedy Network on cable.

As for environmental impacts, since the Bridge Company's bridge does not add capacity but allows for the smoother flow of traffic, how can there be any negative changes? We are told anyway that most of Windsor's pollution comes from out of town. The traffic that the DRIC Bridge is supposed to handle is much higher if the DRIC numbers are to be believed and yet there are no environmental issues with it. The logic that His Excellency is using escapes me.

Respecting the P3. That concept is dead meat. I am not going to repeat what I have written about the MDOT Australians, Macquarie, not being able to find the cash for the Port Mann Bridge or the BC Government being able to bring it in a year earlier at a cost of about a billion dollars less. All I will tell you to do is to read the articles in the Sister newspaper of the Windsor Star, the Vancouver Sun, and read all of the things that the Star has refused to let Windsorites know about.

I have had enough about the letter already. And I have not even talked about the phony 120 acres of the DRIC designed Plaza that was to wipe put Sandwich, the reason why the Ambassador Bridge project seemingly cannot be approved.

Oh my goodness. Now I know which engineer Canada so generously wants to hire to help destroy errr assist the Bridge Company design a master plan for the Canadian Plaza.

Except I think it may be Tranpsort Canada's Master Plan that is being carried out behind the scenes.