Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Is Transport Canada Using The Globe To Scare Moroun

You may have read Jeffrey Simpson's column in the Saturday Globe and Mail respecting the border file. He's their national affairs columnist. His article came right after one in the Wall Street Journal. Someone has been very active earning his/her salary!

I am not certain if he has written something before on the border file but if he has I do not remember it.

It's a shame though that he was so misinformed in his column. I therefore took it upon myself to help educate him by sending him this note. I trust he appreciates it.

Mind you, the story may have come from another Governmental source. Transport Canada is a rather unimportant Department to be speaking to a Globe National Columnist. I suspect that to get this column the PMO may have had a finger or two in it!

Here are some excerpts:

"You might want to check out my BLOG on the border file. I literally have hundreds of BLOGs on what is going on.

I am afraid that you have been listening to Transport Canada reps too much. You ought not to believe everything they tell you:

  • you ought to read about "fair competition" that Canada has been promoting compared with what the DRIC EIS statements say in reality about how much business DRIC says they will actually capture of cross-border traffic ie almost all of Moroun's business
  • the 2 bridges argument is a phony one--terrorists would attack every crossing as they have done before. Why is Canada supportive of a new Peace Bridge right beside the existing one!! If it was a real issue, then the Governments would have introduced reverse customs as Minister Van Loan proposed in Windsor but now seemingly has abandoned
  • Unless there has been a deal that no one has been told about, Windsor opposes the Province's road
  • Windsor has been "Delrayed" over the border road
  • Detroit's new Mayor during his campaign supported the Moroun project
  • the Michigan Senate is opposed to the DRIC bridge and supports Moroun's project
  • The Coast Guard is merely asking for information
  • Even MDOT is not opposed to Moroun's project and wants it built although one has to get that information kicking and screaming out of them since they are a DRIC participant
  • The PM has tried 3 times to get the US Presidents onside (Bush twice and Obama once) at their meetings and failed each time
  • The Department of State on behalf of the President has already turned down a Presidential permit for DRIC to build a bridge but the Ambassador Bridge does not need one
  • The lawsuit started already should be read by you. It is an indictment of the way that Canada has acted and once the Americans figure out what Canada is doing could well turn into our next softwood lumber dispute with the Americans
  • A number of community groups in Detroit are co-plaintiffs
  • Michael Wilson's strategy with the Americans over this project is an abysmal failure and, to be direct, is one of the reasons why Canadians are dying in Afghanistan (you will have to read my BLOGs about that one!)
  • The whole project on both sides of the river was to be a P3 and you know what has happened to that market--dead (Check the Vancouver Sun for stories about how the $3B Port Mann bridge P3 project died)
  • Michigan has no money for the project or even to repair their roads, and there is no P3 legislation in Michigan to allow this to go forward
  • Michigan has no money to get federal matching grants to build roads and may lose $800M worth of grants. Moroun's project would give them $2B in grants!
  • Obviously they have not told you about the Michigan/Moroun partnership called the Ambassador Gateway project, the biggest one ever in Michigan, designed to handle twice the existing traffic on its own and which was designed to accommodate Moroun's second bridge
  • Even Transport Minister Baird in a speech admitted there was not enough traffic for a second bridge and in fact under an ATIP request of mine has refused to provide me with 2 investment grade traffic surveys they have undertaken. Obviously, they do not support the reason why the bridge was to be built in the first place
  • The last FIRA lawsuit with Moroun over bridge ownership went on for a dozen years and he won! He is NOT afraid to litigate against Governments (His action against the US Government allowed the traffic tie-ups in Windsor to end)
  • Transport Canada's policy is completely contrary to what they told the Senate and is in violation of the Senate Observations re the International Bridges and Tunnels Act
  • Oh and for years, we have been told that the DRIC bridge will be finished in 2013. It was only a few months ago in a TV interview that we learned the DRIC bridge would be delayed for a few years. 2013 all of a sudden became a "target." I believe that your column is the first time that 2015 has ever been used by anyone in the traditional media, including the Windsor Star.

Regretfully, you were used! In the same way that a 2 1/2 page spread in the Globe by Brent Jang about Moroun terrorized Transport Canada when they learned that their plans to force him out of business did not work, Transport's hope, if they gave you the story, was that your comment would scare him into sell out cheaply to them. Unlike a bureaucrat playing with taxpayer money with no accountability, he is using his own. He does not scare that easily.

The story is not just about Windsor/Detroit. It includes the Blue Water Bridge that Canada is also trying to sell off---except they cannot do it because Moroun's bridge is their biggest competitor and he takes a huge amount of business from them. PLUS he wants to build a new bridge in Buffalo to compete with the Peace Bridge which Canada also opposes. PLUS Canada opposed his management of the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel.

This is all part of Canada's "Corridors and Gateways " policy. Believe it or not , Canada has tried for 50 years to take over the Ambassador Bridge---it started under Diefenbaker and was most aggressive while Herb Gray was in Government until the recent turn of events under both the Federal Liberals and then the Conservatives. It is part economic nationalism and now is just greed for profiteers---the P3 road project alone would cost taxpayers billions of extra dollars if it ever goes forward as proposed now.

You ought to go to Detroit and meet up with the Bridge Company. You might learn some shocking details about the border file that would make for a column or ten!

PS. Do not hold your breath. You might turn a very deep shade of blue!