Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, April 03, 2009

The Mayor's Press Conference Questions


Don’t you find it amazing that our political leaders are on television so much these days giving interviews and holding press conferences so that they can tell us how they are saving us from disaster? The Prime Minister is doing it and so is the President of the United States.

What is wrong with Eddie Francis? Why hasn’t he seized this opportunity as well? He personally might be able to save Eh-Channel from closing given the high ratings they will get if he has a show on the air and CBC might actually have to hire more people to handle all the fan mail for him.


I thought what I would do to help out is prepare a list of thought-provoking questions that members of the audience or the press might be able to ask on his first show to get his program off with a bang:

  1.  When you went to Washington and New York over the weekend did you fly through YQG
  2.  Did your office forget to tell you that the President was not in Washington but overseas so that he could not meet with you or was he snubbing you too
  3.  Have you set up your meeting with Dan Stamper yet
  4.  Did you take a taxi to the airport or did you forget that Veteran Cab drivers were on strike
  5.  Considering that truck traffic is collapsing at our crossings, how did you come up with the number of 30,000 trucks going along E C Row
  6.  Do you really expect people to believe that there is only $100 million difference between Greenlink and the DRIC Road
  7.  Has the Premier told you to stuff it yet or is he leaving that job for Dwight and Sandra
  8.  Considering that Lufthansa files into Detroit Metro, why would the Lufthansa consultants say “we will have to look at some of the competing airports just to make sure they're not in duplication or triplication of facilities."
  9.  Since Lufthansa offers services for automotive business travelers out of Detroit Metro including Aeromotive Perks and a luxurious new terminal lounge, did you check if they have a conflict of interest in looking at Windsor Airport
  10.  Did you really attend the CIBPA meeting to find people from Venice who can help you with your canal proposal
  11.  If “Truck traffic key to cargo centre.” then how will trucks go now to the Ambassador Bridge without going on City streets
  12.  Did you read the Windsor Star Forum on the canal or does your Office just pick out the good ones out of the about 200 posted so far for you to take a look at so you think that everyone is on your side
  13.  If as Bob Duff reported “Spitfires exposed in goal, ” could they wind up in gaol
  14.  Since “Coun. Ron Jones said e-mail campaigns don't impress him,” how will you get him to send in an e-mail vote in response to your email so that he votes in future to spend $30,000 to hire lawyers to oppose the Ambassador Bridge Company in the United States.

Now you go and make up a few so that you can ask them too.

BLOGMeister On Panorama Italiano

I was honoured to be invited by Luigi Tosti to be interviewed on Panorama Italiano about the CIBPA meeting and its significance.

I talked about the border file and what it means to Windsor now and in the future. I also expressed my view about the importance of what CIBPA was trying to accomplish.

Panorama Italiano will be broadcast Saturday at 2 pm on Cogeco rather than at its normal time on Sunday. But if you really want to hear what I had to say now, then go to:

You will also see some of the CIBPA meeting and hear what residents had to say. You will also see the Stamper/Francis highlights:
  • understand what CIBPA is trying to accomplish and why

  • see Eddie disregarding completely the meeting rules of speaking only for one minute as you see part of his 9 or 10 minute address

  • see Eddie wanting mediation but not telling anyone what his impossible to meet preconditions are

  • see Eddie asking for help to have the Premier bow down to him

  • be amazed at the scare "health concern for kids" tactic that Eddie uses

  • watch where Eddie backs off dramatatically from his Bridge Company opposition

  • watch Eddie never adopting CIBPA's purpose by not inviting the Bridge Company to meet with him to solve their border dispute considering that Dan Stamper was sitting only steps away from the microphone

  • listen closely to what Stamper had to say about Eddie's new found position too

  • watch how Stamper called Eddie's bluff.

  • decide who got the biggest round of applause.
CIBPA held their first organizational meeting last night. Interestingly, most of the people who signed up saying that they wanted to participate---about a quarter of the crowd at the initial meeting, something unheard of---actually attended. Some could not attend and apologized because they had other appointments and some reps from other City groups were there, but it was a huge response.

It will be fascinating to observe the importance of this grassroots citizens' movement that CIBPA started grow as new groups in the City sign up as sponsors and how citizens will finally find their outlet!

Windsor is a small town in the end. If Windsorites buy into what CIBPA is doing, then watch out. The movement can literally become a powerhouse overnight.

Here's hoping!

Taxman 2008 Free Tax Software Cometh

It is bad enough to have to pay taxes but to pay for software to help you do it. Ridiculous!

I have used the Taxman free software now for several years and I like it but you do so at your own risk! Try it out and see for yourself.





http://pacificcoast.net/~gthompson/2008.htm

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Is the CP DRTP Sale Another April 1 Joke


I hope that the sale of a significant portion of CP’s interest in the DRTP Tunnel is not another April fool’s day joke like the juvenile one played by CKLW with respect to the East End Arena. That stunt probably will cost Eddie Francis 500 votes in the next election from people who still do not realize that it was all fun and games, for the CKLW staff anyway.

There is interestingly a lot of similarity between the DRTP and the CKLW jokes. They both were set up by people who believe that they are a lot smarter than Windsorites and that they can manipulate us. I bet they had a terrific time thinking about it and carrying out their agenda as we fell for it.

I am happy that DRTP seems to be dead. But who knows if it really is since CP still maintains an interest in the Partnership. However from some of the news reports, it seems that CP needs the cash and $100 million isn’t too shoddy a number to help fix their balance sheet. And OMERS can pretend that this is a sound investment in infrastructure to people who don’t know any better as part of their shift away from the equity markets. Who knows as well from an accounting perspective whether it defers writing down the asset for another few years.

I have always felt very angry in this border file. I know that I and others in the City are being manipulated and played. I feel like a puppet with someone pulling my strings. Something is done here and I react in an expected fashion. Something is done there and I react accordingly. It is all a big game. I can just picture these people sitting around, laughing and having a good time at my expense, and yours.

All I can do, to be blunt about it, is to sit back and react to what is going on around me without really understanding the big picture. I do try, as you can tell from the various theories that I express either directly or through Deep Throat. I’m getting better at it I think and getting closer to the truth as this file is starting to unwind. Still, it is disappointing that those in positions of power have to act in such an underhanded manner. It is eye-opening and sad at the same time.

Who are these people? I have my suspicions. Obviously, a number of them are bureaucrats. Clearly, there are politicians and ex-politicians. Undoubtedly there are some big money boys who can see the huge profits to be made in P3 deals, or rather even the newly redefined P3 deals that are now said to be just like home mortgages. There is no doubt whatsoever that media people are involved as well and academics.

This started as an economic nationalist idea with the Ambassador Bridge being a symbol of American Imperialism in Canada that had to be destroyed by having Canada take it over. Added on to this over the years was the understanding that the Bridge was a key trade link between Canada and the United States. It became vital for Canada to control it in order to ensure that our goods and goods imported from Asia through our ports had a readily accessible market into the United States. Canada had to ensure that it controlled corridors and gateways so that even if the US became protectionist, as it now seems to be under President Obama, Canada nevertheless had a way around any rules that the Americans might apply to the rest of the world. Finally, added onto all of this was money, the huge profits to be made in P3 deals, especially in management fees.

This is a Canadian–run file that has gone on for 50 years as I have Blogged before. That means at the least that there are Ottawa people involved i.e. the Canadian Federal Government. There are some people in Ontario who are part of this but they are really bit players, not the big stars. At the local level too, I suspect so.

In the end though, an international border crossing is a federal matter and the Federal Government has ultimate control and the ultimate interest. Accordingly, the Feds have to be running this operation. It is hardly a small matter either. Prime Minister Harper has discussed our border crossing at least twice in face-to-face meetings with President Bush and once with President Obama. Our little Windsor/Detroit crossing has risen to that height!

As far as the Americans are concerned, my belief is that it is more at the State level than Federal. I believe that they have been duped. They have been fooled into believing that they can achieve their goals by bringing in a pot of gold from P3 investors because the State does not have the money to accomplish certain objectives. Moreover, if the project is handled by nongovernmental people, then it is a way around controls by the State Legislature. MDOT I am sure would rather avoid having to deal with Senate Republicans. Once the deal is structured, they never have to see the Legislators again!

Of course I have a biased point of view because of my position as General Counsel of STOPDRTP. I believed that it was a bad project when I first got involved in early 2003. I thought that it would destroy Windsor. It did not make any sense to me to put a truck highway right through the middle of a City and have a golf course sized Customs Plaza that would spew pollution in the heart of Windsor. I had lived through Bill Davis stopping the Allen Expressway when I resided in Toronto before it ruined that City. I thought the same thing here. Only it was worse because of the trucks only.

You may find this a surprise given how much time I have devoted to the border file but I honestly do not believe that there ever was any intention of building the DRTP truck tunnel using the existing crossing. It took me a long time to come to that conclusion.

I believe that DRTP and STOPDRTP as a reaction to it were completely expected and had an ulterior purpose. That purpose was part of an effort designed to frighten the Owner of the Bridge Company into selling the Ambassador Bridge to the Canadian Government.

I have said that before with respect to DRIC but I believe now that it started even earlier than that with DRTP. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Government people involved were very pleased to see this project moving forward even though they knew in the end that it would never be approved.

To be blunt, the DRTP people did a terrific job in convincing so many people and groups that it was a fabulous project that should be supported. Their supporters were many and were powerful. I must admit that if I was the Bridge Owner I would have been quite worried. But then again I am not and he probably was not concerned.

In fact, the rise of STOPDRTP actually helped those behind the initiative initially. The more vociferous we became and the more outspoken, the more likely it would terrorize the Owner into believing that DRTP really was an entity that could take away half of his business almost immediately. Heck, Mike Hurst when he was Mayor was so concerned about DRTP that he hired David Estrin!

After all, if you remember the Rail Lands Bylaw Issue, it was only by a fluke that I discovered that the rezoning probably would have allowed a DRTP road to be built. If they had achieved the rezoning, it did not matter about all of our protests. DRTP could have started on its project and that would have put terrific pressure on the Owner to sell out rather than lose half of his business.

Unfortunately for those behind this initiative, they did not understand that STOPDRTP was not going to go away but was going to stick around for much longer than they ever expected that it would. Our success in scaring politicians at all levels probably hurt what these people thought that they would achieve with the DRTP project and resulted in the need for DRIC to move forward as a pressure point to force out the Owner of the Ambassador Bridge.

You ought to go back and read my BLOG “February 22, 2006 A Waste Of Three Years.” That to me was probably the most important BLOG that I have written. I discovered that:
  • “A Report on the "Michigan-Ontario Railroad Border Crossing Infrastructure" was completed in December 1991… I am shocked that MDOT has been sitting on a document that effectively killed a DRTP-type project in 1991! If this kind of a project made no sense, then why was this not brought forward right away. Why did DRTP have to be examined and only now eliminated?”

    …Frankly, if I were the Mayor and Council of Detroit, I would demand to see a copy of it and then go and visit the Governor and State Legislators in Lansing. I would want the answer from MDOT why my City was being discriminated against!

    The Canadian Governments should be outraged that MDOT did not give them this Report or did they have it also hidden away somewhere?

    The Governor and Prime Minister need to reconsider immediately the value of DRIC while the Michigan legislators need to start their hearings immediately and ask what else is there that has not been revealed.

    On top of all of that, the border crossing traffic projections in the Report are of considerable interest. Actual facts prove that they are absolutely wrong!’

The only explanation that I had for this non-disclosure of a key report that was around for a decade and more was that DRTP had a purpose and it was not to be a border crossing. My belief became that it was a terror tactic as DRIC is also and such supplementary actions as the passing of Bill C-3, the International Bridges and Tunnels Act.

This completely changed my perspective on the border file. That report plus some other things that I learned confirmed to me that we have never been told the truth in this file and that it is being hidden from us. There is much more behind all of this than we will ever know.

I came to the conclusion that the Canadian Governments were working together as one to beat the Bridge Company. I viewed the so-called fighting and animosity amongst the three Governments in Canada as nothing more than squabbling over who gets what piece of East Europe as they were fighting Eddie’s “enemy.”

I understood what the Schwartz Report and Greenlink were really all about. The DRIC Road that would never be built to the Ambassador Bridge was designed to squeeze traffic away from the Bridge. The City’s Heritage actions in Sandwich and with the Interim Control and Demolition bylaws were nothing more than pressure tactics. Canada has still never yet approved the Enhancement Project Environmental Assessment. We still see it today with silly articles like those in the Free Press that discuss “security” and Eddie’s rants about health since the fundamental basis for the DRIC project supposedly, traffic volumes, has collapsed.

Do you not see the irony in all of this. If we really were concerned about security then we would have allowed the Enhancement Project bridge to be built already.

Each of the Governments had a role to play within their Constitutional jurisdiction. The Feds over the Bridge, the Province over the road and the City with respect to social issues dealing specifically with respect to Sandwich.

The whole planning was a beauty to behold by brilliant people who are prepared to spend $60 million and more of taxpayer money to accomplish their objectives, who are prepared to risk the relationship between Canada and the United States to achieve their goals and whose mission has completely been destroyed because they underestimated their opponent and did not understand his and his family’s desire to maintain the ownership of the Bridge.

Back to DRTP. In my opinion, biased as it is, DRTP divided our community in a way that never should have happened. It never should have been promoted because it was never going to take place. It stayed around longer than it should have and kept morphing into whatever it seemed was trendy at the time. It was a long-term solution, then the short-term one. Initially it was aboveground and then it was to be tunneled with Greenspace on top. It did not matter. Whatever you wanted it to be, DRTP became.

I am not unhappy to see it go if it really is gone. It is a sad chapter in the history of Windsor.

But it is more. It is a symbol of deception by those in power. It is despicable. It is criminal in the way people have been treated. We are nothing more than pawns to be used just like the people in Delray who have been shafted by their Governments who promised them the world.

I know people who sold their homes or who thought seriously about selling their homes because of the DRTP Truck Expressway. They worried about their investment, their health and that of their children. Businesses suffered because of their proximity to what was going to be a major truck expressway. Can anyone appreciate the anguish and the pressure that some people were put under because this plan was put forward so seriously and with the spending of so much money?

Think about it though from Windsor’s perspective. We have been playing this game since late 2002. Our economy is collapsing in this region. Supposedly money is available, billions of dollars of it for infrastructure from Government and from the Bridge Company who wants to move forward on a project. Not a penny has been spent and there is no likelihood in the near term that much of it will be spent to create thousands of high-paying jobs that will tide over this City until such time as we are able to diversify our economy.

The CIBPA meeting was nothing more than a reflection of our anger, our worry and our frustration. Jobs are disappearing, house values are crashing and businesses are going bankrupt.

Do the Governments care? Hardly. All we get are the usual platitudes about how important this crossing is to the economies of Canada and United States but no action. Instead money is spent in Sarnia and in Fort Erie.

Was DRTP used as a tool by these people as well? I think so. For that, they should be upset as well because it cost them a lot of money.

We do not need a lawsuit to stop the border crossing being completed. Given the experience with the decade long FIRA matter, it will take a generation to be resolved. If we do have to have one, and I truly hope we do not for the sake of Windsorites, I hope Matty Moroun does it. It would be nasty and bitter and eye-opening. I hope that he takes these people to Court and forces them to open up their files so we can learn the truth. Examination for discovery with excellent litigators will put a lot of people at risk personally and will disclose what we only merely suspect.

I want to know who these people are and you ought to as well. I want to learn how much money they have cost taxpayers. I want to know how they have tried to destroy a business. I want to know how they have tried to destroy our Community. I want them dealt with too and in the most severe fashion.

Where is the Auditor General of Canada? Where is the Auditor General of Ontario? Why aren’t they working together on this most disturbing of files, probably for the first time in their histories, since it is a joint matter involving two levels of Government? It is time someone took an interest.

Goodbye DRTP. I really am glad to see you going.

A Few More Stories


Just some extra added attractions

TUNNEL COMMISSION

Can you make any sense of this comment by the Mayor?

All that he had to do was to fill in this blank


However, if he did that, then everyone would know that he was not offered $75 million by Infrastructure Ontario. Now wouldn't that be embarrassing after spending about $2 million on a deal that was never completed

WASH THEIR MOUTHS OUT WITH SOAP

It is absolutely clear that this Council is becoming one of the most foulmouthed Councils in our history. This is a G-rated BLOG or I would tell you exactly what they are saying.

First we had the Mayor using salty language and having it appear in a Column in the Star:

  • "It's going to be rough. We are in deep s**t. It will catch up to us and have a significant impact," said Francis."

Now look at what Council MOM said in the Star. In fact, the Star repeated it much more explicitly than they did before. That may perhaps help explain why the have an increase in readership.

But seriously, Councillor MOM, the Councillor who went after Studio 4's sign said:

  • "The province needs to get their sh*t together,” said Coun. Caroline Postma, a supporter of the proposed location near Highway 401 between Walker Road and Concession 8."

Oh my!

OPEN AND TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT IN WARD 2



Things are going to get very interesting in Ward 2 with Councillor MOM. It will be true open government after all. Nothing will be hidden. Everything will be exposed for everyone to see. It will all be out in the open. She has decided:

  • "I will be in a coffee shop once a month, to openly discuss whatever people want to talk about."

What a strange turn of events for the Councillor who objected to the Studio 4 sign wouldn't you think.

Unfortunately things are not going to be as exciting as I had thought. Obviously, as she also discussed on her website as well, there was " continuous improvement" to her website. I saw this revision to her website:

LUFTHANSA IS IN TOWN

The Foreign Consultants that Councillor Lewenza helped hire were in town looking at our airport.
I wonder if they will be around for the Buy Canadian Motion at Council that the Councillor is sponsoring. I wonder if the Foreign Lawyers that the Mayor has hired to fight the Ambassador Bridge Company will be there too along with the Foreign Medical Consultant that was retained for Greenlink.

ANOTHER MEETING IN SANDWICH

I wonder if they will discuss Heritage matters at this meeting and sign up people to support the City's Heritage Plan. It should be an exciting event at the OMB:

ARCHITECTURAL CONSERVANCY OF ONTARIO
WINDSOR REGION BRANCH
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
April 1, 2009 – 7:30 p.m.
at
Olde Sandwich Bake Shoppe
3118 Sandwich St., Windsor (next to parkette)
GUEST SPEAKER:
John Calhoun
Heritage Planner, City of Windsor

THIS MEETING IS OPEN TO ALL INTERESTED PERSONS
BRING A FRIEND
MEMBERSHIPS AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR

For more information, please call
Pat Malicki at 945-2626


IS THE STAR HYPERACTIVE


I doubt if everyone in Windsor will agree with this statement by the Publisher of the Star:

  • "It's the quality of the paper, our hyper-local strategy and how it's been implemented," Venney said, when asked to explain the readership climb. "Hyper-local" coverage diverts more news space to matters of local interest not covered by national or international news outlets."

Some members of CIBPA might be hyperventilating when they hear this kind of hype from the Publisher. As you will recall, CIBPA sponsored a meeting a few days ago to discuss the border file and to demand that politicians at all levels as well as the Ambassador Bridge get together and "do a deal."

Several hundred local residents were in attendance, many of whom I am sure were Star subscribers. A dozen or so of them spoke to express their opinion about what should be done to get this City moving.

I would have thought as well that it was an important event since I saw the Mayor and Councillors Dilkens, Valentinis, Marra, Hatfield and Gignac there along with Dan Stamper of the Bridge Company.

What kind of coverage did the Star give to this important local event that was "not covered by national or international news outlets?"

Zero, nothing, nada, zilch.

BLOGGER POWER

  • Gary Cunliffe, managing editor of CBC Windsor, which is also facing layoffs, said traditional methods of news delivery were being challenged by citizen journalists or the "one-man bands operating in Windsor's basements, Windsor's highrises and Windsor's streets."

Nice insult. Sheeesh, so now Bloggers are taking down the traditional media. Blame us for everything.

Actually this lonely Blogger works out of a second story office!

A NEW POSSIBLE TUNNEL PURCHASER?

No, seriously, they could not be thinking of borrowing money to take over the Tunnel deal. I mean only our Mayor is that entrepreneurial. Still they are talking with Infrastructure Ontario and Eddie did fail. Perhaps Detroit is really desperate...Cockrel needs a deal. Who knows!

  • "Town seeks debt financing through Infrastructure Ontario

    AMHERSTBURG — Town council has authorized administration to apply to Infrastructure Ontario in order to borrow money for various capital, water and wastewater projects.

    Supervisor of Budget Services Ivano Fregonese said they will gain favourable rates through Infrastructure Ontario with regards to this debt financing initiatives."

CP Bails On DRTP

Canadian Pacific and Borealis Infrastructure announce changes to their Detroit River Tunnel partnership agreement

CALGARY, April 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (TSX/NYSE: CP) and Borealis Infrastructure Management Inc. announced that they have entered into a transaction that, subject to regulatory approval, will change their joint ownership of the Detroit River Tunnel Partnership (DRTP) to a majority position for Borealis. CP retains its exclusive right to operate and maintain the Detroit River tunnel; however, CP's interest will decrease to 16.5 per cent from 50 per cent with the completion of this transaction. CP's proceeds from the transaction will be $110 million plus additional proceeds of $22 million based on future freight volume through the tunnel.

The DRTP owns the Detroit River Rail Tunnel which carries CP's rail line from Windsor to Detroit. The tunnel, which transports rail traffic across the Canada-US border, is a vital link in the North American transportation infrastructure.

"I am pleased with the latest development in our long-standing partnership with Borealis and its parent, the OMERS pension fund," said Kathryn McQuade, Canadian Pacific's Chief Financial Officer. "This transaction allows us to realize value for our asset and strengthen our balance sheet while preserving our right to operate the tunnel."

"The Detroit River Tunnel is an investment that fits into our long-term strategy of securing infrastructure assets that can generate stable and sustainable returns for OMERS plan members," commented OMERS President and CEO Michael Nobrega.

About Canadian Pacific

Canadian Pacific, through the ingenuity of its employees located across Canada and in the United States, remains committed to being the safest, most fluid railway in North America. Our people are the key to delivering innovative transportation solutions to our customers and to ensuring the safe operation of our trains through the more than 900 communities where we operate. Canadian Pacific is proud to be the official rail freight services provider for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

About Borealis Infrastructure

Borealis Infrastructure identifies, invests in and manages infrastructure assets on behalf of OMERS. Borealis has been in the infrastructure business since 1999 and has developed a diversified portfolio of infrastructure assets in Canada and globally with an enterprise value of over $40 billion.

About OMERS

OMERS is one of Canada's largest pension funds with an established track record of strong and steady performance and with investments in a wide range of companies and assets around the world. OMERS provides retirement benefits to over 390,000 members from the local government sector in Ontario.

SOURCE Canadian Pacific Railway

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

More Stories Please


The stories just keep coming so keep on reading!

THE GOVERNATOR

Arnold, Arnold, Arnold… I think you need better financial advisors. Your State just escaped bankruptcy and now someone wants to put you in big trouble again.
  • California Governor looks to emulate B.C.
    Province's public-private partnerships could serve as model for rebuilding U.S., Schwarzenegger says

    VICTORIA — A U.S. political heavyweight who believes his country needs to spend trillions of dollars to tackle crumbling infrastructure is pointing to British Columbia as a model for rebuilding America.

    California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, speaking yesterday on NBC's Meet the Press, said he wants to copy the public-private partnerships that have been used to fund and build major projects, from hospitals to highways, in B.C.

    "It's like when you look at British Columbia or other places where they have a public-private partnership, where everyone is happy," Gov. Schwarzenegger said.

    "Businesses are happy, the people are happy, labour is happy, the politicians are happy. I mean, everyone is happy. We want to do the same thing. We should - the United States should copy that kind of a principle so that you can go out there and build."

    The Governor was given a detailed briefing on B.C.'s public-private partnerships, known as P3s, when he visited the province in May, 2007. Premier Gordon Campbell, who has already forged an alliance with the California Governor over global-warming initiatives, took Mr. Schwarzenegger on a tour of the construction site for the Canada Line transit route linking downtown Vancouver and the city's airport."

Arnold, that was way back when, in 2007. It is 2009 now and we have had an economic meltdown, remember.

If you talk to the Premier of British Colombia ask him about the Port Mann Project and how it fell apart. Ask him if it really made sense to spend 200 million dollars more on P3 financing than if the BC Government did it themselves.

You might also wish to take a look at the Ontario Auditor General report on a hospital built near Toronto to see how P3 games are played.

Arnold, I did try to talk your people and offered to help but all I got was this:



OBAMA REBUFFS HARPER ON THE BORDER

It is becoming more and more clear that Prime Minister Harper got nowhere with President Obama on the border issue.

  • Harper wants to speed trade

    Canada's prime minister on Friday said he's exploring a locally championed plan to speed border trade by cutting red tape.

    Stephen Harper said he and President Barack Obama have discussed establishing border ambassadors, which he called envoys, to deal with impediments to international commerce.

    Harper said Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan also will meet with his American counterpart to discuss the concept…

    Special envoys will come about only if the prime minister pushes for it, James said after the meeting.

    "I got tired of going to conferences and hearing about border 'thickening,'" he said.

    "Everybody knows it's happening, and now we need somebody doing something about it."

Obviously, the Kergin initiative failed miserably. Why the Prime Minister wants to further embarrass himself is beyond me. If he could not convince the President to deal with this matter then what will Minister Van Loan or Mr. James accomplish?

Give it up already, Stephen. Neither a Republican nor a Democratic President is prepared to assist you in taking over the business of the Owner of the Ambassador Bridge. Perhaps soon you will finally realize that you have to deal with him before this molehill of an issue becomes a mountain that leads to the further deterioration of Canadian/American relations.

MOOOOO-RE DRIC STUDIES NEEDED

Oh sure, you thought I was kidding. That it was a lot of bull!

You thought I was being foolish when I pleaded that DRIC do the work to measure pollution levels from bovine flatulence to see what impact it had on pollution in this area.

I am surprised that our Legal weapon of mass destruction did not include this as a deficiency in the DRIC Environmental Assessment Report. It is a lot more persuasive than his silly MoE disclosure that turned out to be only a half story:
  • "Fish oil in cow’s diet could help save planet

    Farting cows, their diets and its impact on global warming may make most people chuckle, but it isn’t a laughing matter for an Irish researcher studying how to reduce those emissions.

    Since 2007, Lorraine Lillis, a researcher from University College Dublin in Ireland, has focused on the benefits of adding fish oil to cows’ diet. While the oil helps the heart and circulatory system, and improves meat quality, she has also found that it reduces methane emissions.

    Farm animals are thought to produce up to a quarter of all man-made methane emissions worldwide. A part of that problem is a bacteria living in the digestive system of cows.

    With methane being 20 times more powerful at trapping solar energy in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, the cow has surprisingly become a very high priority, said Lillis.

    While a cow would normally produce 400 grams of methane per day, by adding fish oil to their daily food intake, it reduces emissions, Lillis said.

    On Monday, Lillis and other researchers from University College Dublin will report at the Society for General Microbiology meeting in Harrogate, England that by including two per cent fish oil in the cattle’s daily food intake, there would be a reduction of about 21 per cent in methane production.

    In Canada cars and trucks release 10.3 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, agriculture follows closely behind at 8.6 per cent, according to statistics from the National Inventory Report and Natural Resources Canada. "

Now about the hot air that comes out of City Hall and its effect on polluting the atmosphere...

Windsor $100,000 Club

BY NAME





BY AMOUNT

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Manipulating Windsor Democracy


The Star finally reported that the Mayor and Council are going to be spending $30,000 to retain our Legal weapon of mass destruction and a US law firm to fight the Ambassador Bridge’s Coast Guard decision in United States. But they did not report anything about how Council passed the Resolution to achieve their goal:
  • City takes fight with bridge to the U.S.

    Windsor has budgeted $30,000 for legal fees to raise concerns with the U.S. Coast Guard over the potential twinning of the Ambassador Bridge, which is seeking regulatory approvals on both sides of the border.”

Immediately, scores of Star readers inundated the Star Forum on this story with negative comments about the City’s actions.

When this matter appeared at Council, the question that should be asked is why none of these people attended to protest. The answer is simple. How could they, no one knew that it was going to be dealt with at Council. Watch the video to see how Democracy was killed here, again.




video


Just as the regular Agenda items were about to be finished, out of the Magician’s hat came the rabbit: Agenda Item number 11. It had originally been scheduled to be put on the in camera Agenda but the Mayor asked that it be pulled and put on the Public Agenda.

It was the ratification of some vote on the US Coast Guard. There was absolutely no mention by the Mayor of hiring lawyers to fight the Ambassador Bridge matter. It could have been about anything.

In fact, one of the Councillors, it might have been Councillor Loopy from the sound of his voice, moved to ratify what they had already done! It looked as if they voted by email!

I must admit I do not understand the procedure followed.

Perhaps someone is preparing for the lawsuit that is about to come and the argument will be made that this matter was passed publicly by Council.

It was all very quick. It was approved 6-3 by Council. More importantly, not one single Councillor objected to this procedure, to this denial of citizens' democratic right to appear as a delegation in front of Council to express an opinion.

So much for democracy in Windsor. No member of the public was allowed to appear as a delegation to this matter because no one knew about it. No one was allowed to appear at Council to complain bitterly about what the Mayor and Council were doing, nor to support it either. No one could blame the Mayor for spending another $30,000 of taxpayer money. No one could blame him for anything.

It is a nice little trick. Put something on the in camera agenda so no one will know about it so that no one can appear as a delegation. In the last second, put it on the public agenda. If someone does object down the road, then Council can say it was all done publicly. No one would remember about the nice little procedural manoeuver.

Here are the procedural actions taken, part of the Administrative Report and, as well, the final Resolution.

Moved to Public Agenda




Part of Admin Report


Final Resolution


Scare Stories Are In Vogue Again


Oh Lord, the DRIC people have to be so desperate now.

I can hardly wait until Sean O’Dell comes back to tell us that there is sufficient traffic now for an Enhancement Project Bridge and a DRIC bridge or for someone in Government to tell us that a P3 solution makes sense even after the Port Mann Bridge P3 project collapsed.

I can just imagine the telephone call that took place:
  • "OMG. The BLOGMeister has done a Freedom of Information Application and wants our investment grade traffic survey reports. We have stalled off releasing them for about a year now. What are we going to do now because they show that traffic has dropped and will not come back for years and years? I mean after all the whole justification for the DRIC project was that traffic was going to double and that the Ambassador Bridge was at capacity. Wait, I have got hit. It is a brilliant idea"

I heard a rumour the other day that the discredited security concerns were being brought back to try to support the building of a DRIC bridge. You see, none of the other reasons for building a DRIC bridge works or is supportable.

Lo and behold the Detroit Free Press ran a story about some of these security issues. Our Senator Kenney had dealt with this years ago and I thought the issue had been put to bed. Apparently not. The US side had to have their shot at that as well.

If the Bridge is that much of a security concern, I would have thought that no one in Government would mention it so that it gets coverage on the front page of a major newspaper in the United States. With all of the various Internet newsreaders services, that kind of information would get out to the "bad guys" very quickly.

What kind of idiot would want to release this kind of story and jeopardize the trade of North America? Even being desperate to beat the Ambassador Bridge is not an excuse for doing something so stupid. Someone from Homeland Security needs to talk to this person and give his/her head a shake for releasing information that could be prejudicial to the interests of Canada and the United States.

But before anybody gets too upset about it, one needs to ask a question. If it is a real concern, where are the RCMP and OPP police cars around the Bridge on our side protecting it and where are the military forces on the other side making sure that everything remains safe?

Don't you think that someone is trying to work up people into a frenzy because the traffic projection argument has failed miserably and their P3 financing sources have dried up!

Here’s a very funny line in their story:

  • “Meanwhile, many of the biggest, most significant border crossings in North America already have redundancy built into them.”

If there really is a concern, then why hasn’t the Enhancement Project been approved by now? I would have thought that approval should be a priority and that MDOT and the American Government would have been pressuring Canada to do something by now. I have not seen that happen.

Here is a comment I read from a US public policy research institute

  • "In 2005, recognizing the vital role Ambassador Bridge plays between the U.S. and Canada, DHS worked with the private-sector bridge stakeholders to reduce border wait time—which had been resulting in significant delays in commerce—by 25 percent.

    Presently, several actors are looking to continue the private-sector tradition by building a second bridge span. Instead of looking to the federal government, the new bridge will be built entirely with private dollars by the Ambassador Bridge Company...

    Politics, however, threatens to undermine the second span of the bridge. The Canadian government has acted reluctant at times to give the Ambassador Bridge Company a permit... There is undoubtedly a solution in the midst of the controversy. The United States must continue to negotiate this problem with U.S. interests in mind."

Again, the Blue Water Bridge was twinned and the Governments seem to want a new bridge beside the existing Peace Bridge. Something just does not make sense. If twinning is all right in other areas, then why is it not all right beside the Ambassador Bridge? There seems to be a bit of hypocrisy because it is a private bridge I guess.

I will tell you one thing. If Brig. Gen. Michael McDaniel, Gov. Jennifer Granholm's homeland security adviser, thinks the following, I would respectfully suggest that he do his homework a little bit better:

  • "There are two main targets, either the people or the structure," he said. "If you were going to talk about the most important infrastructure in Michigan, you'd be talking about the Soo Locks and the Ambassador Bridge."

From a "bad guys" perspective, if that is what he is looking at, then there is a much better target than either of these. My guess is that he knows what that target is as well as I do and what he is doing is distracting people from it by pointing at other targets that are much more secure.

Of course, I have no intention of saying what that target is but I am sure that you, dear reader, can probably guess pretty accurately.

I feel very bad with this BLOG in not giving you certain other information. For example, there is another regional transportation asset that is absolutely crucial for cross-border trade. I do not mean the Tunnel either. It has been around for some time as well and yet I have not heard anyone say that it ought to be duplicated as well. Why not? Why is it only the Ambassador Bridge?

Here is something that the Mayor might want to talk about with respect to Greenlink and the DRIC people as well considering that they are putting in Schwunnels in their road. As I Blogged before:

  • “I wonder if Gridlock Sam and Parsons Brinckerhoff retained a security advisor as part of their group when designing Schwunnels. You know those short tunnels up to 1 KM long that Sam put in all over the place in Greenlink that we are supposed to be so happy about. In fact, I wonder if the DRIC people did as well with their road project.

    If you stop and think about it, can you imagine the border chaos that would be caused if there was an accident in a shunnel or a Schwunnel. It does not take a super brain to figure out that even the smallest fender bender involving a couple of transport trucks could cause backups for hours going into the United States. Can you imagine what would happen to cross-border trade if we had the equivalent of that California fire that took place recently involving over 20 trucks.

    The trouble is that I believe that all of these people know the answer. They're treating us like fools again. There's much more involved in all of this border stuff than we poor taxpayers can figure out. One only needs to look at the materials that were disclosed in Port Huron as part of their border crossing file to know that we are not being given all of the relevant information.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the tunnels, Schwunnels and shunnels are huge security risks. I will let you figure out in your own mind the various ways that those who wish to harm the economies of Canada and United States could do so without very much effort. Unless there is going to be a tremendous security system in place before a vehicle enters the road to the border, then our economies are at risk.”

Take a look at my BLOG “November 29, 2007 How Greenlink Will Build E C Row As A Border Road where I said:

  • “The security risk is the border road and not the bridge itself.”

It is a shame that the Free Press did not have a reporter at the Cropsey hearings or they would have recognized that this was an absolute nonissue. The Bridge Company told the Senator of their solution to solve the security issue at their bridge and at other bridges across North America.

It would appear that MDOT, even though they were at the session, must not have told Brig. Gen. McDaniel or he would not have made the comment that he did either.

You may remember this article that I Blogged before and my comments:

  • “An interesting story about the terrorist threat:

    "Plan to protect infrastructure from terrorists
    Andrew Mayeda, CanWest News Service, May 26, 2007

    OTTAWA - The federal government plans to roll out a national strategy this summer to protect critical infrastructure such as oil and gas pipelines from terrorist attacks and other threats, according to documents obtained by CanWest News Service...

    The national strategy would reach far beyond the oil and gas sector to cover everything from power plants and telecommunications networks to banking systems, hospitals, transport routes, food-distribution networks, manufacturing facilities and the water supply."

    I assume that the Ambassador Bridge is included under "transport routes." The funny thing is that it seems everyone wants another bridge in Windsor because of the security risk but the Report in the news article does not say to duplicate all of the other potential targets.”

We have seen how sophisticated operatives can hit more sites than one at the same time. If they are going to hit at one bridge in the region, one should expect that all of the crossings would be hit in a coordinated fashion in order to damage the economy of North America.

I would have thought that reverse customs would make a lot more sense but no one seems to want to talk about that these days.

I can hardly wait to hear FHWA's Jim Steele argue for the need for redundant plazas again as the DRIC justification. Now that is a real knee-slapper!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Deep Throat And The Return Of DRTP (Part 2)


“DRTP,” Deep Throat repeated in case I missed it the first time.

It was probably a good thing that I was not eating when he said that or else I might have choked on my luncheon omelette. I wonder what my face looked like from the other side of the table when he repeated himself.

I figured that DRTP was virtually dead. After all, their office on Howard was for rent since they had moved back to their old location. Their visibility was now gone, not a good sign for them. Oh I knew that they were still trying to flog the doublestack rail tunnel concept but I had always assumed that the reason that they were doing so was so that CP and OMERS would not have to write-down their investment in the DRTP truck project. That must have cost them a pretty penny over the years that they would have to explain to shareholders and pensioners finally.

Deep Throat just watched me with that amused look in his eyes as I nearly fell off my chair in shock and bewilderment. “You cannot be serious. Everyone has attacked the truck expressway from MDOT in the past to Sam Schwartz to the DRIC people. Are you suggesting that DRTP might actually start a lawsuit to set aside the Environmental Assessment so that their project would be considered again? I know that everyone has thought that either the City or the Bridge Company might do it but no one has ever even discussed DRTP. Their website has been “Under Maintenance” for so long that it seemed obvious that nothing more was going to be done. How can you possibly say DRTP?”

“Well my dear friend, you certainly jump to conclusions quickly don’t you. Who said anything about a lawsuit? I expect that Borealis/OMERS and CP would like to have their doublestack rail tunnel but not pay for it. My recollection is that CP had said that such a tunnel was not an urgent priority for them right now but it would become one if they could get it at no cost!”

“Everyone knows that. So then why are you still talking about DRTP,” I wondered.

Deep Throat started. “Let us stand back a bit and look at the three items that you talked about:
  • 1) Eddie’s transportation hub and changes to E C Row because they really are one and the same

  • 2) Reverse customs or probably Shared Border Management more likely

  • 3) College Bridge.

No one really believes that Windsor will become a significant airport hub. Why, Willow Run Airport which will be part of Detroit’s Aerotropolis already “offers five runways, 24-hour FAA Tower and U.S. Customs operations.” It already handles “over 400,000,000 lbs. of cargo annually, making it one of the nation's largest airports for landed air freight flown by exclusively cargo aircraft.”

“I did not know that," I said. "Then why is the City wasting about a quarter of a million dollars of taxpayer money on a Foreign Consultant who will tell us that it makes no sense to do anything with Windsor Airport?”

“You know why one hires a consultant don’t you?" Deep Throat said with amazement in his voice. "You need someone to blame when they come out with an idea that you know should be done but which for some reason you do not have the nerve to say yourself.

The most obvious thing that the Lufthansa subsidiary will say is…”

“Oh my goodness," I cried out. "Of course, there is no truck expressway from the airport to the border! You cannot have a transportation hub if you can’t move the goods, especially perishable ones, across the border quickly. There’s only one way to do so and that is to upgrade the Expressway for trucks. And wasn’t our Mayor opposed to that?

How could he now support upgrading the Expressway? He would look foolish. However, if a world renowned consultant said to do that, then he would have to back off wouldn’t he because the hub is our “Future.” It would be OK then. Henderson would validate it too followed by Star Editorials in favour!

Sandra and Dwight would reluctantly go along with him because he is the Mayor after all. One of them would probably say that it is not a bad idea anyway because there would need to be a temporary route to the border for trucks while the DRIC road was being built.

It would not surprise me if the upgrade to the Expressway would have to be started first while the DRIC Road might be put on the back burner for a few years until such time as the detour was finished. Of course, the upgraded Expressway would have 10 lanes to match what was being done in the West and probably at Manning road as well.

What an ingenious idea since it also stalls off building a new DRIC bridge until the road is complete! That could take forever if the time experience of constructing the Expressway in the first place is repeated. Say, just enough time until truck volumes pick up again in the future.”

“Now you. are getting it,” Deep Throat chuckled. “If you thought about it a little bit more, then you might even be able to guess where the new Customs facility might be built.”

“That is a no-brainer," I smiled feeling very good about myself now and my Sherlock Holmes skills of deductive reasoning. "It would go exactly where DRTP wanted to build its golf course-sized Customs area for US and Canadian truck inspections.

And isn’t that interesting. Trucks could go in one of two directions after they cleared Customs if they were going to the Ambassador Bridge, at least in the interim. They could go west along the Expressway to Huron Church or, someone could build a road on DRTP North right up to College and then west on College to Huron Church. No wonder it was said by the City that nothing would be done with a new College bridge until conversations with CP were completed. Not only do they have to consider a road along College but there might also be an opportunity for a doublestack rail tunnel too.”

Deep Throat looked at me with pride! He knew that I was getting better at reading the tea leaves on this file. I still needed some help from him but once I got a hint I was able to think about alternatives on my own. I wasn’t necessarily correct but I certainly looked at matters in a different light.

I decided to press my luck. “Obviously, there is a conflict between Transport Canada and Minister Van Loan’s Department. The Transport Minister is too busy giving out Infrastructure money around the country for the good of the re-election of the Conservative Party to worry about small things like the major border crossing between Canada and the United States.

Canada Customs falls under the jurisdiction of Van Loan. They are front and centre right now on the Bridge Company Environmental Assessment and probably don’t like it. This is Van Loan’s opportunity not only to save his Department but also to take away the file from the Transport Ministry.

I think that I am right in this because the Prime Minister announced that Van Loan was going to Washington to talk about the Kergin type plan to appoint “ambassadors” to work on border issues, a matter obviously that President Obama has no interest in. I would have thought that the Transport Minister should have been the one who made the trip since Corridors and Gateways come under his Department.”

“I think you hit the nail on the head, BLOGMeister. Van Loan’s comment about the pilot project in Windsor makes no sense whatsoever other than it being a signal to the Bridge Company that he is now the responsible Minister and that he wants to talk to them to make peace.

It may well mean that someone in Ottawa has finally figured out that they have lost and that it is better to retreat to fight another day.

The conversation will clearly be that the Bridge Company should not be too concerned about the DRIC bridge at this time because there is no traffic and that no matter what happens the Government is making sure that trucks will go to the Ambassador Bridge in the most expeditious way possible.

The Minister is being rather disingenuous to be kind because he would rather deal with the matter this way rather than face a lawsuit that will require a permanent solution that could hurt the Government very badly. The Bridge Company would not be fooled for a second time after the FIRA fiasco. No litigation “settlement” would be necessary if the Minister played it right because no litigation has started and the Minister does not want it to be started either. That is his mission.”

I called over the waitress and asked for another cup of coffee. I was feeling a little bit better now, a lot less stressed than a few minutes before. “Of course, you are suggesting that the land owned by DRTP both north and south of the expressway along with the property for the Customs Plaza will be traded for the cost of a doublestack rail tunnel aren’t you? The land south of DRTP will be deeded, probably to the City, to be used as parkland in perpetuity so that Councillor STOPDRTP will not get his shorts into a knot worrying that this is just the precursor to DRTP South being used as a truck Expressway as well. It gets Borealis and CP off the hook too because it means no write-downs on their balance sheets.

Poor Mike Hurst… wasn’t this similar to his Made in Windsor Solution when he was the Mayor?

Heck, the Governments owe it to DRTP since I am sure that Borealis expected to be the fund manager who would be able to charge big fees on this project. I wonder if this was a trial balloon being floated over in Europe these days with the Sovereign Funds.”

Deep Throat just burst out laughing. It was a good thing that the restaurant was virtually empty or else everyone would have looked at him in amazement and wondered what the big joke was.

“Is that part of what Minister Baird and our Mayor talked about along with the sale of the Brighton Beach lands when he was in town a few weeks ago?" I asked. "If so, now I know why the Star did not cover that story very thoroughly. That raises a whole bunch of questions about our Mayor too and what our Councilors know as well.”

Just as I was about to ask one of a dozen questions that just popped into my mind at that exact moment, Deep Throat stood up. “Just make sure that you leave the waitress a big tip. We have occupied her table for much too long. What you want to talk about is something that we will need to speak about in private and for a very long time at the appropriate time.”

And with that, Deep Throat left the restaurant. It was very clear to me that this was not the right time nor the right place. With a sigh, I brought out my VISA card and called over the waitress for the meal tab.

DRIC Bridge And The Jail


The Mayor stated at the CIBPA meeting the other night that there was some kind of announcement that was going to be made in a few weeks that will demonstrate the great relationship between the City and the Federal Government.

Now we can suspect why Transport Canada Minister Baird was in town and why the Star has not published very much information about their meeting.


The most significant matter between the two Governments is the sale of Brighton Beach for the DRIC Plaza. We should expect therefore that there is such a deal and that the purchase price will represent a number of millions of dollars that will come into Windsor’s treasury to be wasted by Council on some frivolities.

Money burns a hole in our Council’s pockets. Perhaps that explains why the Canal Vision has been delayed until sometime in April as well. Or perhaps that money was to impress the Lifthansa people who were around the airport recently doing their due diligence work for the transportation hub. Surely NOT for the Tunnel deal or Tunnel Plaza improvements

I expect that the Federal Government will be paying the City of Windsor in the neighbourhood of $25-$35M for the property based on the acreage. Obviously, the reason that the announcement was not made at this time is because the DRIC people need to get as much bang for the buck as possible to try to scare the Ambassador Bridge people even more.

But now I have a problem with respect to the Mayor/Chair of the Police Board's position about where he wants to put the jail. I thought that he wanted it in Brighton Beach as well.
  • “There is no question that a new facility is required," Francis said. "So we welcome that there's going to be a new facility. But from a policing perspective, we had recommended another site."

    Francis said the city had suggested the Brighton Beach industrial area near the Detroit River since it's closer to the courts and in a less commercial area - which might make for easier transportation of detainees back and forth.”

I doubt given his statements about the horrific health issues about pollution that anyone who is concerned about people’s health would allow a jail to be built near the new DRIC bridge and plaza. It would be dangerous if the Mayor is correct for the inmates and dangerous for the people who work there.

Did the Mayor outsmart himself? Obviously, part of what he was doing was building up the price for the Federal Government to pay by suggesting that there might be an alternative use for the Brighton Beach site. However, by working people up against where the Province wants to put the jail, how is he now going to back off from that position? Does he have another location to put the Jail? If so, where?

Will there be a massive lawsuit started by the owner of the property if the Jail is moved?

What about the Province, how happy will they be? Will Dwight and Sandra teach Eddie a lesson by having the Jail moved to Tecumseh which is part of Dwight’s riding or to LaSalle or perhaps to Chatham?

Here is something that I found very interesting as well. A number of Councillors decided to open their mouths about the jail location in advance of the Council meeting and it would seem without knowing the facts:

  • “But Ron Jones, Postma’s fellow Ward 2 councillor, said he won’t support a jail on the location. “It’s going to be defeated,” he predicted of what will happen in a council vote.”

    “I’m in complete opposition to that jail being located on that site,” said Ken Lewenza Jr. He said both he and Coun. Bill Marra will support residents who don’t want the institution in their midst.”

I would have thought that the Ontario Realty Corporation now has a very nice appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board in the event that Council turns down their application for approval for the jail location based on a reasonable apprehension of bias.

Another fine mess.

Is Half A Story Better Than None


It appears now that Windsorites were NOT told everything that was known when the Mayor released the so-called damaging MoE memo that made the headlines in the Star:
  • "Mayor Eddie Francis released a copy of the memo Monday.

    The memo was obtained by the city's border lawyer David Estrin."

However, the issue is not clear-cut about what the Mayor knew and when. That is why I called for an immediate investigation under Council's auspices in this matter the other day.

Please read this email that was sent to Councillors and other community stakeholders by an Ontario Government Official "to ensure they know 'the rest of the story.'" Note the emphasized portion of the email.

  • "Subject: DRIC/ WStar story

    Today's story was disingenuous at best.

    DRIC learned of the MoE memo a few weeks ago and immediately contacted Moe to learn more about their concerns. It was immediately obvious that the majority of criticisms could be answered from any number of the 63 reports that comprise the DRIC submission, if only they had dug deeper. DRIC was also able to verify that there were no mistakes in their calculations nor were the models incorrect. I have attached the complete point by point response for your review.

    But this is the usual and normal process...they (M0E) ask questions and for clarifications, and DRIC responds. To be fair the entire document is more than 1300 pages and very complex.

    The disingenuous part is that the document obtained by Estrin was accompanied by our detailed response and rebuttal. To not acknowledge that point, or to release one document in the absence of the other, is inappropriate and misleading.

    I remain available for any further questions you may have."

Either the Mayor knew about the DRIC response or he did not. Whether he had an actual copy of the DRIC response is irrelevant

If the Mayor was aware of the DRIC response when he released the MoE memo, then the only conclusion I can arrive at is that he chose NOT to provide relevant information to the public. He wanted us NOT to have all relevant information so that we could not make an informed decision.

If that is the truth, then Council has no choice but to censure him! He may also want to consider whether he should apologize as well at the next Council meeting to his colleagues and to the public.

If he did not have this information, it could only be because the City's lawyer David Estrin did not provide this information to him. If he did not do so, then the question needs to be asked why not?

If he did not do so for whatever reason, our Mayor was made to look like a fool and made it appear as if he misled the public. More importantly, the public was led to believe an important fact that was not true.

Council has no choice in this situation but to consider whether he should continue to act for the City.

As I said before, the Mayor's so-called justification is ridiculous:

  • "Mayor Eddie Francis said it is not the city's job to put forth DRIC's positions.

    "It's not the City of Windsor's job to do DRIC's job," said Francis."

No one asks the Mayor to do DRIC's work. We do expect however to be able to trust our Mayor to give us the truth and not only part of the story, the part that is advantageous to his position.

In case some have forgotten, there is a court oath about:

  • "truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth"

In the Court of public opinion, the obligation is the same!

PS. As a paying Star subscriber and as a reader, I am still waiting to hear from the Star Publisher, Jim Venney, about the Star's role too.