Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Even More Tales

Stories that you may have missed


I loved this quote concerning the lawsuit over releasing an Ambassador Bridge report:
  • "It’s a two-year-old report and has very little value to anyone except a terrorist,” Phil Frame, a spokesman for Moroun."

Of course the concern is real. How do I know--the actions of the Chair of the Windsor Tunnel Commission and our Mayor demonstrate it to the nth degree:

  • "Windsor mayor orders tunnel blueprints removed from library

    WINDSOR -- Alarmed by the international security gap on the Canadian side of the border, Mayor Eddie Francis has ordered the removal of blueprints and other structural documents of the Detroit- Windsor tunnel from the Windsor library...

    Francis, citing two sections of the Ontario Municipal Act which give him such authority, ordered library director Steve Salmons on Aug. 4 to remove the tunnel documents, which included detailed blueprints, from library archives and put them under lock and key. The Canadian side of the tube is owned by the city.

    "If you're a terrorist and you want to plan something, you can click a button," Francis said. He said he also urged the Detroit and Canada Tunnel Corporation, which manages the entire tunnel for Windsor and its Australian-based management company, to remove all information relating to tunnel infrastructure from its public Web site.

    Francis said he came to the realization that publicly available tunnel plans should be locked away after someone -- he wouldn't say who -- telephoned him last week. Even in the aftermath of 9/11, the plans had remained in the public domain.

    "You never want to be in a position where somebody could say, 'You knew, you ought to have known and you didn't do something,' " Francis said of his decision.

    DCTC manager Neal Belitsky confirmed the tunnel Web site was cleared of such information. And Conrad Welsing, a spokesman for the Detroit Public Library system, said there are no tunnel or Ambassador Bridge blueprints available in that system.

    The Ambassador Bridge Web site contains no detailed structural information, other than general dimensions of the privately owned structure.

    While insisting he is not trying to create fear, Francis said border security is a major concern for emergency planners."


Canada likes to complain about American rules and procedures that cause the border to thicken to our detriment. Has anyone considered that poor staffing of Customs booths by CBSA may be a bigger problem?

Here is an interesting Letter to the Editor in the Star. Of course the headline is wrong. There are enough booths there:

  • "More booths needed at border

    The last two Sunday afternoons have been a source of contention for anyone wanting to come to Canada via the bridge. Visitors are asking themselves if the long lineups and half-hour to 45-minute wait is worth it, leading them and their money to shop and play in the U.S.

    The crossing at the Ambassador Bridge on Sunday, Oct. 4 at 3:30 p.m. had only three booths open. Traffic was backed up on the bridge itself a fair distance from the apron. When a call was placed to the customs office asking why so few booths were open, the caller was told the officers were doing their jobs even though that was never in question. When pressed further about the numbers the answer was, we have enough booths open...

    When all levels of government are spending unprecedented sums of money to shore up the economy and create jobs, this is not the time to give visitors another reason to not cross the border. I'm positive the casino, restaurants, retailers and others would welcome these people with open arms. It's hard to understand why the government gives with one hand only to take away with the other. I guess one should not be surprised, after all, it is the government. Happy recession, everyone."

What the writer did not consider was that this also penalizes Canadians who dare spend money in the US and bring back goods they bought there.

I can hardly wait for the Americans to retaliate so that we may blame them again.


If he ever gets tired of working in the world of high finance at OMERS, perhaps he could partner with say, Richard Simmons and do an exercising/finance video called "Sweatin' Investments to the Oldies."

I am being quite serious. I saw this about a former Borealis executive

  • "The Magic touch

    The long, blonde hair, swooping Hoffmanesque forelock and luxurious layers partly reflect Hudson's most recent role as the head of Hair Club for Men. Then there's the suit that hangs just a bit loose on Hudson after taking charge at Herbal Magic, a leading chain of Canadian weight loss clinics, last February...

    All befitting Hudson's latest incarnation as a health and beauty entrepreneur.

    It seems like a stretch from the previously buttoned-down looking accountant (short brown hair, conservative wire-rimmed glasses), an image that fit his previous role as founder of Newcourt Credit Group...

    Hudson was then briefly involved in a strategic alliance with Borealis Capital Corp., a controversial vehicle created by the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System to invest in private-public infrastructure projects. It was later dismantled."

It's a good combo:

  • "He and his business partner at Toronto-based EdgeStone Capital sold Hair Club to Regis Corp., the world's biggest hair salon company, for $210 million – about nine times what they paid for it four years earlier."


Great news eh? Manufacturing will go down the drain as tourists continue to stay away in droves. DRIC project anyone? Here is a story from CTV news:

  • "Canadian dollar approaching parity with U.S. dollar

    "Indeed that economic data has been sufficiently strong I think as to persuade some players in the market that perhaps there's a risk the Bank of Canada could hike rates sooner rather than later. And of course that's always a positive thing for a currency, as well."

    The loonie has also soared because of a heightened demand for commodities in the global market, and the demand for commodities has gone up because the U.S. dollar took a nosedive, according to BNN's Michael Kane.

    "It has a slingshot affect because commodities are priced in U.S. dollars," Kane told News Channel. "So when the U.S. dollar goes down against other currencies, it makes gold and oil, platinum and copper relatively more attractive to non-U.S. investors, so that has the effect of people coming in and buying up gold and having the effect of driving prices of gold higher."

    While a weak U.S. dollar may give Canadians more purchasing power, it will also cause serious financial struggles for the manufacturing industry, Kane said...

    "If the normal value of the Canadian dollar is at par, then the manufacturing industry in Canada which sells into an international market will have to take it very, very seriously because what it means is that other countries can supply manufacturing goods perhaps at a cheaper rate."


My sources were correct when I was told that the numbers are being worked for this. As the Star reported:

  • "Waste agency presses city for $1.3M

    With a big deficit projected for its next budget, the Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority has agreed to get a legal opinion about whether the City of Windsor can be pressed to pay about $1.3 million in garbage dumping losses due to its municipal workers' strike...

    Another potentially divisive issue is whether the authority will continue to supply the trucks used by the city for its recycling pickup.

    Leamington Deputy Mayor Rob Schmidt said the authority's trucks once used for county recycling were sold to the private operator doing the work.

    Whether the city continues to use its own workers for recycling pickups or contracts out, the authority shouldn't supply the trucks, Schmidt argued."

Expect the Councillor formerly known as Councillor Budget to jump on this.


Is it true that Joe Levack left because of a disagreement over spending between $10-20M on a new SAP software system after Enwin had spent millions on a PeopleSoft system?

I wonder what it will cost Enwin in severance payments considering that Edgar (aka Eddie) claimed the CAO could get up to 2 years with his seniority and position? How many hundreds of thousands of dollars will that be?

Just curious, how much have the Directors of Enwin and associated companies received in Board fees this year and last year?


Strong rumours that he may have a new job soon.


Diane Bertolin from City Hall wrote a book called "Soul Robber."

I thought it might have been a book about working as a manager at City Hall under this regime.

It is classified as a "recovery" book. I heard it was a book about a "a woman and her childhood demons." Apparently it is a very good read.

However, if sales are slow, Diane might want to check the website where it looks like the price is set at $76!