The Speech That Gave It All Away
Forget public vs. private ownership for a minute. Take an overview.
In a strange twist of irony, left-wingers ought to be applauding both the CUPE workers and Matty Moroun. They both have a lot in common, fighting for individual rights against the forces of an Oppressive Government structure out to defeat them and to take away what they earned through their hard work over the years.
For one, it is benefits and salary, for the other, his business. For both, respect.
Shocked, you should not be:
- Both are fighting "City Hall"
- Government is trying to crush both
- Money is no object in order to win since it is taxpayer money being used
- There has been a Government plan to do so for a very long time
- Fairness has been a victim in both struggles
- Propaganda is completely one-sided with distorted information being given out as disinformation as if it is the truth.
I have explained to you my theory concerning the reason for the public service strikes and why CUPE Windsor is a target. [BLOG Monday, July 06, 2009, "It Is Time For CUPE To Surrender"] Now let me talk about the border file.
Another report came out yesterday from the US and Canadian Chambers of Commerce:
- "Finding the Balance: Shared Border of the Future"
Nothing in there about building another bridge in our area. The Free Press reported:
- Border regulations threaten 10 million jobs"
As the Chambers stated, here is the problem and it has nothing to do with the need for a second bridge:
- "Feedback from Canadian and U.S. businesses shows an increase in border costs and a “thickening” of the border resulting from increased wait and inspection times, the imposition of direct fees for crossing the border, increased complexity in regulatory requirements, and costs that arise from participation in trusted shipper andtrusted traveler programs.
The layering of these costs has made crossing the border more expensive for both businesses and travelers alike."
Solve those issues and there is no need to spend billions on infrastrucutre.
But of course, that does not fit in with the Government objectives for Windsor/Detroit and will be ignored.
Here is what to me gave away the Government plans respecting Matty Moroun. The speech is remarkable, especially coming from a person in this high a capacity.
I had promised to post this BLOG before. However, there were too many intervening events so it had to wait.
It sets out clearly in one place at one time what the border fight amongst the Governments and the Bridge Company is all about. And how the public on both sides of the border have been used and abused and millions in tax dollars wasted.
I believe that I have done a pretty good job in trying to uncover what is really going on in the border file, what's motivating the different players.
However, a lot of the themes I have suggested in my BLOGs have now been confirmed as driving forces in a speech given by Ontario MoT's Bruce McCuaig, You remember him of the Joint Management Committee fame back in late 2002/early 2003. He is now Deputy Minister of Transportation in Ontario so you can see how important a role he has played throughout
Read the excerpts of his speech carefully as I fisk along in it. You will note:
- the desperation that Canada has to take over the Ambassador Bridge. After 50 years of effort, it is viewed as now or never
- the economic nationalism involved with the Corridors and Gateways policy...no, I won't say anti-Americanism by trying to crush an American firm because that will get Ottawa all upset
- the hypocrisy of P3s which can only mean excessive profits for the private partner at taxpayer expense
- note that planning began on a new crossing a decade ago before the ink on the Ambassador Gateway project which was designed to accommodate Moroun's Enhancement Project was hardly dry. The Bridge Company people should be furious!
- the myth of capacity concerns is perpetuated as the justification, the DRIC conceived plaza size designed to inflame the community and knock out the Bridge Company and the lie of urgency and action as the DRIC bridge is delayed when push comes to shove are repeated as if they are the truth
- lack of guts to use 2015 now as the new so-called completion date since that means more opposition is need to stall off the Bridge Company and to admit that Governments have misled the public for years with their 2013 "target" only date
- confirmation is again given that the Feds have only committed to building a road as Minister Baird mentioned at the FCM meeting [and now paying for plaza lands].
Bruce McCuaig, Deputy Minister
Ministry of Transportation
NASCO Conference 2009 Quebec
We’re seeing the expansion of NASCO in Canada as Ontario is now sitting at the table with Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Hope we can learn from each other in looking for efficiencies on both sides of the border.
The SuperCorridor links three countries: Mexico, the United States and Canada.
It encompasses a transportation network that stretches from the ports of Mexico through 11 U.S. states and connects with eastern and western Canada.
Canada alone has three main gateways: Ontario-Quebec in central Canada, the Atlantic gateway on the east coast and Asia-Pacific on the west.
Although vast distances separate them, Canada’s gateways are similar in that trade must flow seamlessly and efficiently through them and by all modes of transportation.
People and goods move through Ontario’s border infrastructure making our gateways key enablers of the national economy.
Infrastructure investments, as well as Ontario’s transportation policy, regulatory and operational improvements identify its strategic importance.
As I have suggested before, the 50 year old policy of Canada requires that we control the gateways into the US. That was recently reflected in a Gateways and Corridors policy as enunciated by Transport Canada when Lawrence Cannon was the Minister.
In addition, there is particular value in the ongoing strategic co-ordination of efforts between Ontario and Quebec:
1. Our partnership with federal government and private sector to develop Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway and Trade Corridor strategy;
Except NOT the Ambassador Bridge Company who is an existing border operator. They have to be replaced by another private operator in a P3! Why—Governments are afraid of them and because Governments can earn a huge amount of money upfront and do not care about what the total cost will be to taxpayers over the term of the P3. It is all financial manipulation that fools mere citizens.
These efforts support economic growth and ensure Ontario’s transportation system remains a key driver for economic competitiveness.
Working towards a more business-friendly regulatory environment and reducing barriers and impediments to movement of people and goods through greater harmonization are top priorities for Ontario.
Except legislation like Bill C-3 that the Feds introduced.
There is also a growing realization that no one jurisdiction or sector can act alone to effect desired change to the transportation network. It requires private and public sector focus and partnership.
Except NOT the Ambassador Bridge Company who is an existing border operator. They have to be replaced by another private operator in a P3!
We need to develop integrated solutions and forge strategic partnerships for working together to advance an integrated solution.
Innovation and change move us forward. And because change is constant, we never cross the finish line.
Except NOT the Ambassador Bridge Company who is an existing border operator. In the DRIC process there seemed to be little recognition of how the border needs were changing with technology and matters such as FAST, NEXUS, pre-processing and moving inspections away from the border.
Fast forward to today: business is managed within a global economy.
We cannot be shortsighted about any of this nor stand still. We need to be flexible in responding to changing needs.
We must also take decisive action and be willing to take on formidable challenges if we are to secure prosperous futures for our respective jurisdictions – jurisdictions that are increasingly interconnected.
Ontario is concerned about the Atlantic and Pacific Gateways where the Feds seem to be much more involved to the disadvantage of Ontario manufacturers who use the Ambassador Bridge as their entrée into the US.
An excellent example for Ontario is the planning underway for a proposed new Detroit River International Crossing in the Windsor-Detroit Gateway.
The planning effort for new crossing of the Detroit River began in 1999 with our colleagues in Michigan.
It started a decade ago for heaven's sake.
At the same time as Governments were supporting the Ambassador Gateway project, which could handle in itself twice the volume of the existing crossing, they were also acting to undermine it. The project was called Michigan’s first and biggest public-private partnership in the best sense of the word. They all knew that the Bridge Company was moving forward and spending its money to improve the flow of traffic.
Currently, the Windsor-Detroit Gateway consists of four crossings: the Ambassador Bridge, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry and the Detroit River Rail Tunnel.
The Ambassador Bridge alone handles 99 per cent of all Windsor-Detroit cross-border truck traffic.
Commercial traffic over the Ambassador Bridge is more than twice the volume over Blue Water Bridge at Sarnia – Port Huron (2nd busiest crossing in Ontario).
Sheer volume of trade that passes through Windsor-Detroit was unimaginable when the Ambassador Bridge was built in 1929.
That is the point isn’t it! It is at less than 50% capacity now with all of the changes in border operation, of which it is ranked #1, over 80 years. Adaptation has been possible without the need for a second bridge to increase capacity. A new bridge is needed to improve traffic flow.
The Windsor-Detroit Gateway is now at a crucial turning point in its history with the next chapter ready to unfold.
No, only in the minds of certain players who committed to taking over the Bridge many years before and are desperate now because it is not happening. If it does not happen, then for generations Canada will be out of luck it is being made to appear! There is absolutely no recognition that the interests of Canada and the Bridge company are the same; keep as much traffic as possible going smoothly over the border.
Two messages in the video are worth repeating:
1. “We have listened and now is the time to build for the future.”
2. “The solution is here and the time to move forward is now.”
These messages pose a sense of urgency and opportunity for Windsor-Detroit due to three distinguishing features:
1. The crossing is an economic lifeline;
2. It is the only major crossing not connected freeway-to-freeway;
3. We need expanded border-crossing capacity in addition to existing system. Detroit-Windsor Tunnel cannot handle full-size commercial vehicles. Next bridge for commercial carriers is 70 kilometres up river at Sarnia – Port Huron.
The Urgency is a false one since capacity is NOT an issue. How can it be if DRIC is delayed for at least 2 years? Why isn’t the Enhancement Project being expedited then? If traffic has crashed, what is the capacity issue? Why are the investment grade traffic surveys being kept secret? The answer is obvious.
We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address a strategic transportation issue and Ontario is taking a leadership role.
As above. Vested interests made commitments.
Windsor-Detroit Gateway solution
Canadian and U.S. government officials have repeatedly affirmed the priority of this project and all remain focused on key objectives to move us forward.
For how many years have these governmental platitudes been given and now DRIC is delayed with the 2013 time-period a lie, a target not a reality.
Access Road/Windsor-Essex Parkway
An innovative combination of below-grade road design and short tunnels in the proposed Windsor-Essex Parkway will address current deficiencies and provide substantial benefits to economy, environment and quality of life.
1.8 kilometres of the proposed highway will be covered by 11 tunnel sections and 300 acres of new green space
The Delray myth continues unless a deal has already been made to enrich a P3 operator for no reason with billions of taxpayer dollars.
New customs facility for Windsor Gateway requires 50 hectare footprint with sufficient space to accommodate future needs and state-of-the-art processing.
A phony number designed to eliminate the Bridge Company.
Delivered through a public-private partnership, cable stayed or suspension-type design will rank among North America’s longest structures and be an iconic feature for this important gateway,
Situated approximately two kilometres south west of the existing Ambassador Bridge, the proposed new bridge will provide a needed alternative to any of the existing crossings.
2 kms away after the Americans have spent a quarter of a billion taxpayer dollars on the Ambassador Gateway project. Absurd. Why is it needed? All justifications are phony. There is no P3 legislation in Michigan so far. It is nothing more than a a way for the Canadian Government to control the crossing indirectly so that when the P3 operator has financial problems, Canada can take over the project ownership completely with no Congressional fuss.
Recognize that issues remain. Legal action, for example, underway in U.S.
This will be embarrassing and finally will reveal the secrets as people are forced to testify under oath.
Gold standard approach to community consultation is worthy foundation of the Detroit River International Crossing project.
Except the Ontario Ministers will not talk with the Bridge Company but will talk with proponents in secret.
When the necessary approvals are in place, we hope to begin advance works construction later this year. Subject to approvals, full construction is anticipated to start in late 2010 or early 2011.
Back to hoping and anticipating now. No completion date is given since 2013 is dead.
Government of Canada made initial cost-share commitment and Ontario’s share has been allocated in recent 2009 provincial budget.
Only money allocated is for the road and only $400M federally. P3 money may never be found unless Government guarantees are given. The P3 return will be well above Government financing costs allowing the favoured P3 operator to rip-off taxpayers for huge profits for many years.
Given the strategic importance of Ontario’s border infrastructure and the role of the Windsor-Detroit Gateway in our provincial and national economies, the Windsor-Essex Parkway is the number one economic infrastructure priority for Ontario.
How many years have we heard that and now it is delayed. The Bridge Company has solved all problems for Governments anyway.
AFP Delivery of Windsor-Essex Parkway
Government of Ontario is planning alternative financing and procurement for Windsor-Essex Parkway project, provided we see value for money.
Private financing builds the infrastructure while Ontario maintains control and ownership.
Government brings in private-sector expertise, ingenuity and rigour to manage and renew Ontario’s public infrastructure.
The Ontario Auditor General has already slammed the handling of P3 projects yet the Government marches on. Eg with OMERS in St. Catherines when others P3 parties pulled out.
Since this has been described as the first AFP road project, we know it will be a financial mess for taxpayers already. The excuse has been made in advance of the boondoggle.