Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Did You Miss This

Here are some stories, the significance of which may be more important than you think


Oh boy, CUPE members ought to be very careful if anyone suggests linking up with CAW. Nothing like a PR failure to make the Mayor look good or was it planned to do so.

Remember Marty Beneteau saying:
  • "Agree with them or not, the CAW has been led by a succession of master communicators beginning with Bob White..."

Well here is a great communication that does not show Labour's genius:

  • "Mayor banned from parade

    Francis, council not welcome at Labour Day events

    Mayor Eddie Francis and city councillors have been told to stay away from this year's Labour Day parade and events, labour council president Gary Parent said Thursday.

    Parent said the move is in response to the mayor's conduct during the 15-week strike by 1,800 municipal employees, members of CUPE locals 543 and 82."
Yes I know that Gary is Windsor & District Labour Council President but where did he work before he retired: as CAW Local 444 financial secretary.

Instead of letting the Mayor and certain Councillors chicken out by not attending or letting them hear the negative reaction of the crowd when they were seen in the parade, the Labour Council President made them martyrs of the City strike and just made Eddie look like the tough anti-union fighter he was not.

Parent allowed Eddie to breathe a sigh of relief as he said
  • "But the mayor said he will abide by the request.

    "It's their parade," Francis said. "Gary Parent, I'm sure, doesn't want me there and I will respect that."

Too bad Labour does not have an Eminence Grise on their side. If they had, there never would have been another blackeye that the anti-union members of the public can enjoy like:

  • "Labour Day parade hits wrong note with musicians' union"


  • "Fearful that political staffers are severely diluting Canada's foreign policy through alterations to policy language, senior Foreign Affairs officials have begun pushing back against their political masters.

    Simmering internal tensions over language changes were first discovered by Embassy in recent weeks, but newly leaked documents indicate that senior departmental officials have had enough...

    "Multiple times documents will go up and changes will be made, sometimes factual ones, and they'll be changed back at the political level," said the DFAIT insider. "One of the reasons for the email you're seeing is the bureaucracy is saying 'We've got to get ahead of this curve because we're getting hammered every time we send documents up and they come back.'"

    The insider situated this confrontation in the context of the unprecedented message control thirsted for by the prime minister, who has decreed that ambassadors cannot speak publicly without first getting their message approved by Conservative spin doctors.

    "None of our ambassadors are allowed to speak unless comments go through [the Prime Minister's Office]," the source said. "And the reason for that is because ambassadors are inclined to speak within the context of decades of Canadian foreign policy and because the government doesn't agree with some or much of that approach, they want to vet everything."

He may have and this could be tragic for our relations with the US

  • "...while Doer and Harper have always seen eye-to-eye on free-trade issues, Doer may have a harder time compromising his personal views when it comes to the environment and the military...

The ambassador-designate, however, made it clear he knows who's boss.

  • "I'm working for the Canadian prime minister, the Canadian people and the Canadian foreign minister," he said."

I am sure you noticed who was Number One on the list


One of the big knocks in Canada about the Bridge Company is that it is private and American-owned. Isn't that why we want a public bridge?

Somehow, if it "owned" by the Government it is better. Correct? Mind you, I have Blogged in the past what our traffic guru Sam Schwartz has said about bridge disasters and the problems of public ownership. Those comments were made in other cities, not Windsor.

However, we are being conned. We are told we should favour our new DRIC bridge and DRIC road being structured as a P3, a public/private partnership.

No one seems to want to explain that for a period of anywhere from 30-99 years, these projects will effectivly be run by a private operator in a lease or concession deal with the Governments effectively washing their hands of it unless something goes wrong.

Just think, instead of the Bridge Company who made our border crossing #1, our key border point could be run by a consortium made up one of these leading foreign entities who will be making a private profit. Can anyone explain to me the real difference:

Grupo ACS--Spaim
Transurban Group--Australia

And we will have accomplished what? Remember what happened with the Tunnel too when Windsor took it over.


There may be another reason why some want a new P3 DRIC project in Canada and the US that has not been publicized much.

It looks like poor old Mark Butler, the spokesperson for Transport Canada on the DRIC file, may have been infected by Sean O'Dell's traffic projection disease:

As he said in Macleans

  • "Butler counters that the project has been planned for five years, and all the relevant parties are on board, including the governments of Canada, the U.S., Michigan and Ontario.

    “All indications are that there will be sufficient traffic to make it worthwhile for a private investor."

So why hasn't the Government of Canada made public its several secret investment grade traffic surveys if thing are so rosy?

Traffic projection accuracy has never been a hallmark of the DRIC experts and politicians keep changing the rationale for DRIC from doubling of traffic today to we need to build for tomorrow.

Anyway. let us not be too cruel. Traffic projections have failed in other locations as well as this story shows:

  • "DRIVING through Sydney's Cross City Tunnel is a majestic experience..

    The consortium that slapped this deal together was banking on daily traffic of 90,000 by the end of the ramp-up period in 2006, whereas the actual traffic numbers barely surpassed one-third of that...

    ConnectEast built the EastLink Mitcham to Frankston toll road in Melbourne, whose forecasts have also proven fanciful and whose financial future hangs in the balance. And the Lane Cove Tunnel too, for that matter, whose equity has vanished and whose traffic volume projections were also inflated...

    It has become increasingly clear that the traffic projections for most toll roads have been built around the financial model, not vice versa as it should be. And that financial model was structured in such a way as to ''upfront'' or bring forward the project cashflows so the bankers and all their hangers-on could pocket billions of dollars in fees before even a cent was earned in tolls...

    To this day, the project operators and the Queensland, NSW and Victorian state governments continue to hide financial information. Not one has even produced an oil price assumption for public purview. And these are supposed to be public concessions, struck in the public interest."

Oh no. What a big surprise..........the money boys make a ton of money and who cares if the project eventually goes bust! Only the taxpayers who have to pay the bill but they do not matter.