Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, August 28, 2009

BLOGEXTRA--The Real Strike Victims

I do not mean the CUPE workers who lost 15 weeks of pay either, although many of them suffered nor Windsorites who were inconvenienced by the lack of some City services.

Take a look at this note I was sent. It is shocking!

Certainly, the City cannot be blamed for this...didn't Eddie have this huge manual prepared in advance of the strike that dealt with every possible eventuality. Management was well-prepared to deal with the strike and its aftermath weren't they. Right!

Naw, it must be those darn CUPE people again. Why not, they are blamed for everything.

Just wait until you hear about more messes in other Departments next week.

Heaven help this City if both PETA and CUPE go on strike together with the enlightened human relations strategy demonstrated by City Hall! [Sarcasm intended]
  • "Talking about reconciliation, take a look at what the welfare office is going through following the strike that was so well managed by management.

    Allow me to translate the attached memo: There are 3,068 cheques ready to be mailed out, plus 2,981 direct bank deposits ready to be issued to recipients accounts, but check out the number of cases that are suspended and on hold for September 1st. On Tuesday, August 25th, management suddenly realized there was a little problem with the way they had handled cases during the strike and that 5,729 families were not going to receive any assistance for September 1st……no money to pay rent/mortgage, buy food, diapers, no supplies for the kids going back to school, no new clothes, shoes or anything else.. Unconscionable!

    As you can imagine, panic stations set in and overtime was “awarded” to caseworkers to fix the problem. Could you imagine 5,729 angry people on the phone and in the building demanding their money? Well as of yesterday, which was Thursday afternoon, there were “only” 3000 cases still to be manually reviewed to find out what information is missing from their individual cases in order to release their cheques. By the way, cheques are issued overnight, so any case released on Friday, the cheque will not come off the system until Monday if all goes well, stuffed in envelopes and put into the hands of Canada Post to sort and hand deliver.

    As you know, with the Labour Day weekend coming up, there are many caseworkers who have booked off on vacation next week for the entire week, of what is referred to as “cheque run”. Management has informed the staff that it could get a little busy in the office next week. A little busy? That’s the understatement of the year. This comes from the same manager who met with staff their first day back to work and told them that just because they DECIDED not to work for the past few months, the work didn’t stop, so “it is what it is” . No welcome back, no “we missed you”, no hugs, no kiss my ass, just “it is what it is”.

    To be continued….

    -----Original Message-----
    From: [Name of Person]
    Sent: August 25, 2009
    To: [Names of People]
    Cc: [Name of Person]

    Subject: September Cheque Run Information

    Wanted to share with you numbers for the upcoming cheque run.

    OW cheques to be printed - 3,068

    DBD cheques - 2,981

    Suspends - 5,729

    We have almost as many suspends as cheques ... which may result in
    heavy call volume and traffic in our lobby.


I Was #10 On The List

Who says my BLOGGING is not appreciated by some powerful people in the Conservative Party! After all, I used to play in party politics when I was much younger and knew some key movers and shakers from all the parties who are still influential.

According to my inside moles in Ottawa, apparently I almost made the gravy train list this time. They were looking to appoint someone from the alternative media to shake up the Parliamentary Press Gallery types:
  • "Harper appoints nine new senators"

If only I had offered my assistance to the Prime Minister sooner about Matty and how to deal with the US, and President Obama in particular. NAFTA-gate is still a problem for him.

Oh I am aware that I ruffled feathers in the Nation's Capital with a viewpoint that is not the accepted one of certain people.

  • "At the time, few knew whether From Correct to Inspired: A Blueprint for Canada-U.S. Engagement, would have much bearing on the Harper government's approach to North America. A product of Carleton University's Centre for Trade Policy and Law, the blueprint was delivered on the eve of President Obama's inauguration. It counselled the government to exclude Mexico from some policy discussions in hopes of cozying up closer to the United States.

    Experts across the continent say the report has made a deep impression on the Harper government's approach to continental affairs... And not everyone is happy with the results."

There is no doubt that they have prevented the PM from reading and then acting on the advice that I have Blogged to the huge detriment of the Party, the Government and the Nation.

They were so jealous and caused the Party considerable angst.

But it is all good now. After the humbling that the PM took from the Obama snub, I bet that he is open to new ideas. In fact, I expect a complete review to be undertaken of why the policies failed and what can be done to salvage the situation!

That means that I am a natural to be right at the top of the list next time after he follows my advice successfully!

Heck, I can give him a precedent of which a certain former winning Conservative Prime Minister and some of Harper's people now are quite aware that he can support fully and can lead to another smashing election win. The timing is perfect. Isn't there a big party coming up to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the election of Brian Mulroney's first majority government!

It's either that, or I go and see IGGY. Perhaps with a reference from Dwight, an Honourable man who was on his leadership team and is a possible Federal Liberal candidate, he could appoint me to the Senate when he becomes PM in the next election! I have a few ideas for him if he has the time.

Senator BLOGMEISTER. Doesn't that have such a nice ring to it?

PS. I see Michael Wilson is now going. Finally.

  • "Gary Doer: Canada's new man in Washington

    The likeable and long-time NDP premier of Manitoba will serve as Canada's next ambassador to the United States."

And who but Senator Blogmeister has been arguing for that for ages. It's nice to see that Stephen is listening to me now and so quickly too.

Statement Reconciliation

Every month I have to check my bank statement to reconcile it with my records.

I thought the same process could be used to try and see if people are being consistent in what they say. You can do that reconciliation now

Strike Savings

Focus Ontario interview
  1. But I have to put this in perspective because when this strike started, no one wants a strike, but the accusations that were leveled against the city of Windsor by CUPE National, CUPE Ontario, that we would in fact go on strike to save money was so ludicrous, and was so out in left field, that we wanted to be able to demonstrate that there are no winners in this strike, and that we do not need a strike to achieve savings. That’s not the way you balance a budget. And what we wanted to demonstrate to our residents is that any dollars that remained, those are dollars that should go back to them because, quite frankly, we ah, we are able to manage our books the right way and not have to rely on a strike to find the savings to balance our books.

  2. Well as I’ve indicated obviously the strike whether in Windsor or Toronto or anywhere else in this country, is something you do not want to experience. It’s something that a community certainly does not want to go through, because there are no positives We are facing economic challenges and as a result we needed to make certain decisions as it relates to our financial books, and we’ve been implementing those policies and we’ve been saving millions of dollars and trying to get our financial house in order. This strike has resulted in more savings to the corporation that will help us reposition the city.

Methadone clinic

  • "MP Brian Masse (NDP -- Windsor West) has sent a letter to Ontario Health Minister David Caplan, local MPPs and Mayor Eddie Francis expressing concern about OATC's clinic in Windsor and the company's track record...

    In his letter, Masse also cites OATC's "controversial procedures" and a "seemingly clandestine approach" to establishing the Windsor methadone clinic. He is requesting that a study be done "immediately" to determine whether more methadone treatment services are needed in Windsor.

    In an interview, he said he had a problem with a private company making a profit off people struggling with drug addictions and questioned why the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network and the Ministry of Health weren't involved in the Windsor clinic planning process."

I wonder if the letter gave his Ottawa address or his Windsor one just around the corner from the Clinic. Good thing they did not ask to lease the Junction.

Garbage pickups

Remember Eddie's 75-80% solution that he bragged about. Perhaps here is more evidence his figures may be wrong:

  • "Hatfield said the loss [of over $500k at the Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority regional landfill] may come down because garbage and recyclables are still coming out of garages and sheds of city residents. "The figures are far from final here," he said."

  • The mayor said twice the regular amounts of recyclables have been picked up. He also said 2,460 tonnes of garbage had been collected since the strike, up from what would normally be 1,580 tonnes for such a period.

If it is caught up, why the delay

Can anyone figure out what this says:

  • "The city is suspending yard waste collection for two weeks to catch up on garbage and recycling collection.

    The city says in a press release that all garbage and recycling is caught up to what was to have been collected by the end of last week.

    This week's Civic Holiday has put crews further behind.

    Residents are asked to observe their regular collection days but are advised the garbage may be collected a day or more later.

    The city assures residents their garbage will be picked up."

Outsourcing garbage

  • "Doug Holyday, the last mayor of the former City of Etobicoke, where collection was privatized in 1995 and continued without hiccups during the last two city strikes, said he wants the city's financial watchdog to investigate the issue.

    "I'm going to ask the audit committee to endorse a request to Jeff Griffiths (the city's auditor general), because we can't order him to do it," Holyday said yesterday. "We would like a review done on the collection of garbage. We want cost comparisons, and the pros and cons of the public and private systems."

    Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis said that following their 101-day strike his council has also asked for a similar study of public and private trash collection.


    "There will be a time and place that we'll have that debate, and I'm sure it will be sooner rather than later," he said, noting his city has already been reviewing its service delivery for the past year."

HUH...I thought that was already done:

  • "In a closed meeting about a month before municipal workers began a 101-day strike, city council unanimously rejected outsourcing garbage collection after a report concluded it would lead to minimal savings...

    Dilkens said council voted unanimously in March during budget deliberations to retain the service after being presented with a report that showed minimal cost savings.

    "We have the number and report," Dilkens said. "It was unanimous on council it didn't make sense financially."

    Hatfield, who covered council as a television reporter dating back to the 1980s, recalled the garbage collection issue being revisited on numerous occasions.

    "Every time council looked at a study, it showed it was not the best thing to do. It's been out there and every time council has looked at it, it made no sense.

    "I understand taxpayers are sensitive right now, but the bottom line says it's not a good thing to do."

Bridge building is no longer a Star issue

Their Editorial "The border, An 8-year assessment" is fascinating. Not a word about the need for a DRIC bridge.

  • "Now, eight years later, we haven't reached the point that the Canada-U.S. border has become a wall, but it is not the same border it was before 9-11, and it isn't operating in the best interest of either country.

    The days when you could count on hassle-free travel across the border are mostly over. The last-minute decisions to cross the border for dinner or a night-on-the-town aren't being made as often...

    Where is the focus on shoring up the perimeter border -- like to the Europeans have done -- to reduce the need for the overwrought security that often dominates at the Canada-U.S. border? Where is the drive to reduce the myriad rules and regulations that unnecessarily impede the flow of trade?"

President Obama certainly does not believe that a new bridge is a high priority item either:


    Office of the Press Secretary

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 7, 2009

    Statement by the Press Secretary on the visit of Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada to the White House

    President Obama will meet with Prime Minister Harper at the White House on Wednesday, September 16. Canada is a close ally and partner of the United States, and the President looks forward to discussing a broad range of bilateral, hemispheric, and global issues, including cooperation on economic recovery and trade, the upcoming G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh; climate change and energy, December’s UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen; and security cooperation, including in Afghanistan."

Perhaps there will finally be an Editorial apologizing to Matty Moroun for doubting what he has been saying for years now.

Infrastructue spending

Do you really believe that Governments actually wanted to spend money to increase the deficit or were promises more than enough to get re-elected. If the economy is recovering now as we are now being led to believe then why spend:

  • Jim Lyons of the Windsor Construction Association applauded the stimulus funding and said his members were keen to bid on the work.

    "This is wonderful news. Bring it on," said Lyons. "While we still have many workers waiting to be called back to work, we are hopeful that this work will bring full employment to the region and, more optimistically, that new hires are required."

    Lyons expressed concerns with the March 2011 deadline to have the projects completed, pointing out the cutoff came at the beginning rather than the end of the construction season. He conceded a glut of work was a "great problem" to have but urged officials to consider an extension.

    "Bring on the contracts and we will die trying to complete the work on time," he said."

And then we saw this

  • "Turns out those shovel-ready projects on which the city plans to spend $133 million in emergency stimulus money aren’t so shovel ready after all.

    More than two months after a gaggle of giddy politicians staged a photo-op in Windsor announcing millions of dollars for a raft of job-creating infrastructure projects, none of the approved projects has gone to tender and no related construction jobs have been created.

    The only people who appear to be working so far are the many consultants the city recently tapped to help accelerate the engineering, design, planning and tendering process.

    “We are certainly hungry and anxious to get at those projects and while the consultants have them, we don’t, ” said Jim Lyons of the Windsor Construction Association. “The timing couldn’t be any better to get them out. We just can’t get at them yet.”

In this case, mini-Gord may have been right:

  • "At noon the region's four most senior politicians were at a podium to announce concrete action to combat the rising joblessness.

    They called it "an historic day," something politicians always claim with a straight face. But it was truly something of a minor miracle to hear Conservative MP Jeff Watson, Liberal MPPs Dwight Duncan and Sandra Pupatello and Mayor Eddie Francis all singing from the same press release without trying to elbow each other off the microphones.

    Three levels of Canadian government which all pretty much hate each other at this point managed to co-ordinate a lightning-fast (for their bureaucrats) deployment of $191 million worth of infrastructure work for the region. Hallelujah, brothers and sisters.

    Windsor's regional unemployment rate will almost certainly get much worse before it gets better. But we now know with even greater certainty that relief is coming. The cheques have been cut, the projects chosen from the short list, the jobs on the way.

    The projects themselves are far from ready to go. There's a lot of surveying to do and construction drawings to prepare. That will take at least six months for many of the jobs announced Friday.

    Construction engineers will be the first to enjoy the effects of the spending. Public works officials in Windsor and Essex County will be scrambling over the summer to hire P.Engs to start preparing tenders for the dozens of multimillion-dollar contracts that will be let.

    It will probably be September before the first labourers are hired and the first shovel bites the dirt."


Jim Lyons of the Windsor Construction Association June 16, 2009

  • "Bring on the contracts and we will die trying to complete the work on time,” he said.

Eddie Francis August 26, 2009

  • “We’re OK … we’ll be fine,” said Francis, adding Windsor’s approach is simple: “We’re gonna do these projects or we’re gonna die tryin.’”

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Short BLOGs

Here are some quick thoughts for you


Now you know why Gord Henderson said this:
  • "I’m in awe of Moroun and his hired hands. These folks are the masters. They’re always two or three cunning moves ahead of the other players…"

It is not a new concept. Major companies collectively for years have invested in massive computer backup systems that just sit there waiting for the day that a Company has a catastrophe and needs a new computer system in operation immediately.

The floating bridge concept for the Ambassador Bridge first was mentioned as far as I know at one of the hearings in Lansing about a year ago. As I Blogged at the time in respect to redundancy

  • "I have to admit that if I was a Senator in Michigan, and I would have to wonder about some of the people at MDOT.

    There was some discussion at the Cropsey hearings about redundancy. No, I do not mean building an entirely new Ambassador Gateway project for the DRIC bridge at a cost of a quarter of $1 billion or more in the event that the Customs area is damaged so that truckers have a four or five day problem.

    There was a suggestion that they would be massive problems in the event that Ambassador Bridge was out of circulation. Of course, the MDOT people seem to have forgotten about the “floating bridge” concept that the Bridge Company presented to the House hearings which would eliminate that issue. The strong suggestion however was that a new bridge was needed for redundancy concerns."

The floating bridge now eliminates the terrorism threat that anti-Bridge Company people have raised to justify the DRIC bridge. Of course, those people forgot how terrorists operate with multi-targets or that reverse customs should have been introduced a long time ago. The DRIC bridge was never the solution.

This idea will help the Ambassador Bridge and other bridges as well

  • "Not only will Moroun store a floating bridge for use locally in event of an emergency, he is working on a proposal to offer it in an emergency to others — if they pay an insurance fee.

    “It’s a recovery proposal not just for here, but for any bridge or underwater tunnel,” Stamper said. “We are designing it and looking into offering it as an insurance policy to other locations...”

    “Our floating bridge would be available not only for Detroit, but any location to install as a replacement,” Stamper said."

The real beauty of the concept is that it will minimize attacks on key transportation infrastructure targets since, if they can be replaced easily, they are no longer of value to a terrorist since disruption will be minimal.

Senator Kenny can rest easy now.


Interesting story for those who believe that our system of elections is unresponsive to citizen needs especially at the municipal level.

What I like is the concept of being able to recall a politician who is NOT doing his or her job without having to wait for the next election.

What could we as citizens in Windsor have done with a situation similar to that of Detroit and its ex-Mayor. Nothing, unless there was a specific breach of a statute. There, as I BLOGGED before, there were six recall petitions aimed at removing the Mayor from office.

As I have said before, Premier McGuinty did us a huge disservice by adding another year to the term of our municipal politicians without giving citizens a remedy to guard against politicans being out of touch and ruining a City.

Voting people out at a ballot box every four years is hardly an option any longer with such huge issues being dealt with by municipalities and with so much money at stake.

Check out what I wrote before and my suggested language for a recall statute:

Will we ever get such legislation? Do not hold your breath municipally. If the Province gave us that for Mayors and Councillors then citizens would ask for the right of recall for MPPs too.

Now THAT would never be allowed.


I think this quote by our Mayor should be framed. It was in relation to the proposed big-box mall by Windsor Raceway:

  • "Francis said municipal planners should not decide who competes with whom.

    “Obviously we agree with the OMB that the market will drive and dictate what happens where,” Francis said. “It reinforces the principle that you can’t use planning to stop competition. You can’t use planning policy to prevent a development from taking place in an adjoining municipality.”

Hmmmm can that apply to competition in border crossings too? Were planning tools like Interim Control by-laws and anti-demolition by-laws or heritage studies or CIPs used "to stop competition" with the Tunnel or to help in the sale of Brighton Beach lands? Were those tools designed to prevent the Enhancement Bridge development being built or to at least stall it for years and to help out the competitive DRIC project?

One day if there is no resolution of the border file, we may find out whether market forces applied.


It must be silly season.

Matty Moroun is being attacked for everything under the sun these days. I guess he must be winning the border file.

Read this from Jack Lessenberry who also writes for the Windsor Star. It is in relation to the Feds being reluctant to sink in more money for the Ferry project which is a third over budget.

  • "Gregg Ward worries too. He thinks Moroun is trying to put him out of business. The government of Canada had promised $2.9 million to improve approaches to his truck ferry on their side of the river. Suddenly, that's been held up at the federal level. They are also, he says, charging him exorbitant fees for ice-breaking services, and throwing up other roadblocks.

    He wonders if Matty, notorious for his campaign contributions, is throwing money around in Canada. But he intends to keep on fighting, no matter what. Ironically, if the DRIC bridge is ever built, it may well be certified for hazmat, which might put him out of business. He knows that."

Now he controls the Canadian Federal Government too! If so, why are they holding him up and supporting a DRIC bridge!

Don't you find it odd how seemingly uncaring Ward is about being put out of business by a DRIC bridge?


Thank goodness that the Star did the big Editorial about the action against Google whereby Google was required to disclose the identity of an anonymous Blogger who slandered a person on the Internet. It is a nice precedent to use in Court one day in Canada.

  • "The playing field changed abruptly last week, when a Supreme Court judge in New York State ruled that Google must turn over the e-mail address of a blogger who had posted derogatory comments and photos of a Canadian woman through one of its sites.

    Liskula Cohen, a former super model, had demanded to know who entered five posts about her last year, all of them on a not-so-charming site called "Skanks of NYC."

    The postings, said the 37-year-old's attorney, included "defamatory statements concerning her appearance, hygiene and sexual conduct that are malicious and untrue."

    Cohen wanted to bring suit against the blogger. To do that, she needed a name. When Madame Justice Joan Madden agreed Cohen should have it, she did so having determined that the relatively new "online world" was not entitled to be held to a different standard when it came to issues of defamation and free speech.

    "The thrust of the blog is that Cohen is a sexually promiscuous woman," Madden wrote in her decision. Forced to comply, Google handed over the information. Ironically, the blogger -- 29-year-old Rosemary Port -- turned out to be an acquaintance of Cohen's."

As a person who has strong views about a number of topics in Windsor and who expresses them, I expect to have my ideas challenged by those who do not agree with me. People read me not only because they agree with my perspective but because they want to read an alternative point of view even if they disagree.

What I do not expect, although it has happened in the past and will again, is to be smeared because of my beliefs whether the poster is anonymous or not.

  • "It's easy to say anonymous, defamatory comments posted on the Internet are nothing more than the trivial thoughts of cowardly people. Unless, of course, you're the one being victimized.

    Then, it's not so easy to shrug off such malicious and hurtful statements. With the push of a button -- and often intending to cause harm -- bloggers can spew forth whatever they want. And they do, increasingly.

    Emboldened by the fact their privacy is protected even as they violate yours, bloggers seem to be growing meaner and their comments more offensive with each passing year. Recourse? There hasn't been any. Until now."

As I have said before, I do NOT permit unmoderated commenting because I will not tolerate slander on my BLOG nor risk being sued because of it. I moderate what is sent to me and, contrary to what some believe, I do post almost everything emailed to me in my reader comments BLOGs reserving of course the right to edit the comments for legal reasons and often to protect the identity of the writer. It is like a Letter to the Editor in a newspaper.

What I find interesting however, is WHEN I get smeared. It usually happens when someone thinks I am getting too close to something that the person does not want disclosed or perhaps wants to curry favour with someone. Thus the attempt to destroy my credibility so others will ignore me.

As you will recall, I discussed this subject within the past few months.

It is the WHY though that should be really frightening to everyone.

The Internet smears are not expected to be read by many others. Rather, they are designed to find their way to me or the target person to deliver the message to knuckle under or else.

It is blackmail pure and simple. Say anything we do not like and be destroyed. That is the whole purpose of it.

I am not read by millions in a syndicated news column. I am not read by multi-thousands as one of the top political BLOGs on the Internet. I am read by a bunch of LOCAL readers who follow my ramblings most days with blips of increased numbers as took place during the CUPE strike.

I am in reality a lonely Blogger who uses this BLOG to express my point of view to those who choose to read it, regardless of numbers. That I am so important to some anonymous person who has a destruction agenda to smear me so that no one will read me again or so that I tone down my comments is very scary in our Democracy.

That's how it is and I guess I have to learn to live with it. At least now, I have a precedent that I can use to protect myself and will do so at the appropriate time to set a legal precedent in Canada! And so do other Bloggers who will also be targetted one day.

Why Stephen Really, Really Needs Matty Now

Stephen, you really do need to start listening to me and soon. My sources were able to provide me with a copy of the letter from Janet, not Jackson, Napolitano . It's a hum-dinger!

I am trying to help you in your difficult position. It's not looking too good for you right now.

IGGY knows Obama's people a lot better than you. Heck he got a one-on-one with the President back in February. You got the brush-off at the Three Amigos Summit:
  • "Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff got the 30 minutes he wanted with President Barack Obama Thursday.

    Ignatieff said that "serious business" was accomplished in his meeting with Obama, and they spoke about hot topic issues such as Afghanistan and U.S. trade protectionism."

Did you remember this:

  • "Obama's foreign adviser was Ignatieff's Harvard 'soulmate'

    Ms. Power is not the only one to give Mr. Obama advice on world affairs, but is usually cited as his senior foreign policy adviser, a position that could mean much for Canada...

    But Ms. Power has other agendas at play, including a meeting with her old Harvard friend and colleague, Michael Ignatieff..

    Mr. Ignatieff and Ms. Power worked closely together at Harvard on human rights issues and have been labelled by some American political analysts as "soulmates."

Do you think the President wants a new Prime Minister, Stephen?

I told you the other day that you needed Matty as your best friend not as your foe. Here is another example for you and in writing too.

Want to see how real power politics is played in the big leagues of International Diplomacy. Read Janet Napolitano's letter.

I can just imagine the Homeland Security Secretary chuckling as she signed the letter that stuck a knife in the ribs of those in Canada who thought they could pressure President Obama to fire her! I wonder if she asked for an extra Drone flight just to have a few extra smiles and to rub it in.

The Canada Desk at the US State Department must be reading my BLOG after all and have identified what Canada's objectives are. It is clear that they have taken the information up the chain and their Superiors do not like what they see.

The excuses in the letter are all nonsense with pre-clearance at airports now and at foreign container ports. But who cares? That ends the matter for the time being.

The message to Stephen is clear: if Canada wants Shared Border Management at Fort Erie/Buffalo, guess who is entitled to it as well at Windsor/Detroit! Canada cannot allow that since it kills DRIC. Isn't that why the Deputy PM really threatened Detroit when the Bridge Company was going to manage the Tunnel with their 200 booth plan!

This letter is really President Obama saying to Prime Minister Harper
  • Security still trumps everything else, especially when it comes to Canada
  • I still remember NAFTA-gate
  • I meant to snub you at the Three Amigos Summit in case you were wondering
  • I thought I was inviting the Governor-General to meet me in DC in September, not you
  • I can crush the economy of Canada with protectionism any time I want
  • Don't dare ever threaten the US again with energy or oil cut-backs
  • If I want to renegotiate NAFTA, I will
  • I would rather go to Mexico in the winter for fun in the sun than Ottawa so if you think I am interested in bi-lateral talks with you only, forget it
  • Oh and I am not going to have a Dubai ports fiasco with the Ambassador Bridge either
  • Dream up other excuses other than traffic, security and redundancy before I help Canada destroy an American business and give it to a Canadian one
  • I believe in Environmantal Justice
  • Go solve your issues with Matty and call me
  • BTW, you have no supporters any more for SBM. Hillary Clinton knows who the President is.

Yes, Stephen, it is that bad! This is a huge setback. It shows how poor Canada/US relations are now under your watch and they are getting worse. No wonder IGGY is smiling.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Main Event: Matty and Stephen

Here is what has really been achieved so far: an over-inflated price for a Brighton Beach plaza, a suggested border crossing a mile downriver from the existing bridge, the prime location, after the Americans spent a quarter of a billion dollars to fix it up and to accommodate a second bridge and a hugely expensive DRIC road to nowhere.

Notice I did not write "versus" in my Subject Line but "and" instead.

I wish that Stephen Harper would read my BLOG “Canada Got It All A** backwards” rather than the position papers from his NAFTA-gate flunkies: diplomatic, bureaucratic, political, corporate and Think-tankic. He might finally understand that it really has all come down to this.

Resolution now or decades of litigation hell.

There ought to be no reason why the 2 sides cannot work together rather than fight. It is amazing to me how much both sides have in common except no one seems to want to think about that.

“The Speech That Gave It All Away” will make certain that the lives of certain people on both sides of the border will be hell during cross-examination, if this goes further, to the benefit of no one. It will merely confirm my theories.

That was my thought the day that I decided to get involved in the border file with STOPDRTP and it is still my opinion today. It has NOT changed one bit since.

That is the theme that has run through the many hundreds of BLOGs I have written on the border since I started doing this. It has nothing to do with personalities although obviously I talk about people in charge at the time.

It all has to do with making the border work for this Region and the prosperity it can bring us! A reasonable resolution acceptable to everyone is absolutely required to avoid litigation and bring us economic diversity.

That should not be too hard to understand.

If one wants to make Windsor great, not with pie in the skies airport visions or imitation Venice canal concepts, then build on what has made us the #1 border crossing in North America for our future. As I Blogged almost 4 years ago after I read a story in the Wall Street Journal:
  • "[I] found a story about Northern New Jersey. The region's median income was $73,973, the highest of any state, home prices have increased, about double the national average, and the area's shopping malls are busy. It described "the solid if dull warehouse sector [as the] driver of the area's commercial real estate… Its central location on the eastern seaboard along with its excellent highway, air, rail and seaport access make it a hub of choice."

The preliminaries or rather the qualifying rounds are over and the result is 7 years, $60M plus and terrible tension, heartache, and even fear caused to thousands of people. We were all pawns in the game.

For what?

Initially it was to terrorize Matty Moroun to sell out cheaply before the value of his bridge dropped due to the fear of possible Government punitive actions. Then it was the expectation that his son would convince his father to sell out “in a New York minute” when the time was ripe so the family would take the money and run.

Stephen's subordinates had their chances but accomplished little. The Morouns did not blink. The bureaucratic assumptions were wrong, as they often are in business matters with people who are not personally at a financial risk.

When both assumptions proved wrong, it had to come to this. The only two men that count in this file, Matty Moroun and Stephen Harper or whoever is Prime Minister of Canada at the time, have to meet to agree or agree to disagree. The almost 50 year attempt by Canada to take over the Bridge is coming to another climax, one of several during the period.

Just look at how strange the border file has become. Read what the Messenger is saying these days and not just the Messenger of City Hall either:

  • The border An 8-year assessment:

    Now, eight years later, we haven't reached the point that the Canada-U.S. border has become a wall, but it is not the same border it was before 9-11, and it isn't operating in the best interest of either country.

    The days when you could count on hassle-free travel across the border are mostly over. The last-minute decisions to cross the border for dinner or a night-on-the-town aren't being made as often…

    But the real worry is trade… The border must work efficiently to preserve those economic benefits…

    Where is the focus on shoring up the perimeter border -- like to the Europeans have done -- to reduce the need for the overwrought security that often dominates at the Canada-U.S. border? Where is the drive to reduce the myriad rules and regulations that unnecessarily impede the flow of trade?”

Not a word about a DRIC bridge as a solution. Has reality sunk in?

Take a look at this---no mention of Greenlink either since our high unemployment numbers have caused reality to sink in too

  • Border jobs Co-operation still the foundation

    With the unemployment rate at 15 per cent and stimulus projects not yet tendered, it's no wonder people in Windsor are growing impatient. We want jobs, and the sooner we get them the better…

    With a $1.6-billion border access road and a $900-million bridge on the horizon, there will be plenty of jobs to go around."

Our real issue and how Canada’s idiotic actions over the Ambassador Bridge could lead to another softwood lumber dispute:

  • Buy American' President Obama's mixed message

    Earlier this summer, President Barack Obama agreed to try and calm the "buy American" frenzy that was being fuelled by U.S. legislators. It's now clear that isn't going to happen.

    Obama's latest position is that he doesn't agree with "buy American" procurement policies -- which are hurting Canadian businesses -- but he's not going to do anything to directly counter them. In fact, the president said it would be for the best if Canadians don't overreact to the controversial provisions in the US$800 million stimulus bill…

    The best that Obama could offer Harper during their meeting was a rather vague statement that "there may be mechanisms whereby states and local jurisdictions can work with the provinces to allow for cross-border procurement practices that expand the trading relationship."

    At best, Obama's recommendation of state-provincial co-operation is a long way from Harper's hope of an iron-clad guarantee that would exempt Canadian businesses from the "buy American" measures.”

The Obama snub of Harper at the Three Amigos summit spoke volumes about our reality of our dependence on the US except the Canadian media seemed not to listen and kept silent.

Then the strange outbursts by Dwight and Sandra over the new bridge, a matter in which they as Provincial politicans have no say whatsoever followed by this:

  • Pupatello's advice Hopefully, cabinet will listen

    While some people might have a hard time comparing a new border crossing to something as architecturally significant as the Sydney Opera House or the Eiffel Tower, we fully agree with MPP Sandra Pupatello's point about thinking big…

    It's good to know Pupatello is so keenly aware of how important it is to create something that is modern, attractive and forward-thinking, because while it's true the bridge construction will be decided by others, the province will decide what the access route to that "iconic" destination looks like.

    It, too, must be spectacular, stylish and classy, and the opportunity to make it visually attractive and environmentally friendly is something that falls squarely on the shoulders of the province…

    When cabinet gathers to consider the environmental and esthetic impact of the border access road, we hope members at the table heed Pupatello's advice.”

This lack of mention of the word “Greenlink” again—there is Sam’s “think big” but in small type now--- means that there is a new reality and that Eddie’s stall vision road is dead. Oh sure there is the Prentice story to pretend that Eddie still cares and to prepare us for the big Compromise and another of Eddie’s snubs and a proposed meeting with Sandra and Dwight but the road fight is done.

The common word I used in describing each of the Editorials is “reality.” The Reality with the Bridge Company is resolution or litigation. There is nothing in between. A short–term pause such as the one after FIRA will not make sense for either side after what has taken place over the last number of years. Moroun was fooled once already by Canada. He will not allow it to happen to him again.

The DRIC bridge has been downplayed probably because of the recognition finally that traffic is down and P3 money is unavailable. It is not needed for many years to come. The comments on its design----the Ambassador Bridge Project in Buffalo/Fort Erie is called the “Ambassador Niagara Signature Bridge” so the Bridge Company gets it!

The DRIC road—forget Greenlink---do you really think that it is going to come in at $1.6 Billion when the Ferry project came in at more than one third more than its estimated cost? The real question is how it is going to be downsized and how that would be justified now since the Province would be incapable of financing a P3 road and the Feds clearly have a maximum amount they are prepared to sink in.

I read this remark in the Daily Commercial News the other day:

  • “On the Canadian side of the border, a massive highway project hinges on the construction of the bridge.”

One cannot build a road to the bridge until one knows where the road is going. And if there is no bridge because of lawsuits for decades, there will be no road and there will not be “plenty of jobs to go around.”

The Ambassador Bridge issue needs to be resolved before the brilliant NAFTA-gate diplomats in DC with their hangerson in Ottawa and in certain boardrooms destroy our relationship with the US forever by continuing to advocate for bilateral solutions with an American President who publicly snubbed our PM. If we get concerned about the screws being turned over steel imports and purchases by States and municipalities, imagine what woud happen to us over full protectionism.

Does anyone with half a brain believe that the Americans are so dumb that they do not understand clearly now that Canada wants to control their border entrances and exits? Does anyone really think that they will allow Canada to put an American firm out of business just to give the business to a Canadian firm or one over which Canada has influence in a P3 deal?

Canada needs friends in high places in the US and we have to change our approach to them before it is too late.

We are getting now what Mickey Kantor prophesied:

  • “The Canadian government bless their souls are going to try and push this and push this for one because they don’t like a private bridge that’s been there for 80 years, they would like a public bridge that’s probably a philosophical position the Canadians take.

    And the second is their bureaucrats have committed themselves emotionally to this thing but we shouldn’t be pushed around by the Canadians.

    I’ve negotiated over the years when I was the United States treasurer in dealing with Canadians, you got to stand up once in awhile for our country and say this in not in our interests.”

Our new reality ought to be as I have BLOGGED before: Canada needs Moroun’s help. Someone needs to wake up and figure out that he is our best friend these days and can help us more than hurt us with the Americans.

  • “Stephen, Stephen, Stephen. Get a grip, man. That was a waste of money! You need a “vested” interest in the border file, someone whose interests match yours to help you out with the Americans. You cannot do it alone. You need a fighter. Of course you know who I mean: Matty Moroun.

    Instead of vilifying the man through smears in the US and trying to put him out of business, you ought to be working with him. For heaven’s sake PM, all of the negative things you say about him are exactly what helps out Canada! The attacks are: a**backwards!”

To summarize what I BLOGGED before

  • Canada needs peace with Moroun so that all the Central Canada corridors and gateways can be made workable
  • He has made the border work here to make our crossing #1 without Canada’s help and in spite of Canada imposing roadblocks
  • He has a real “vested interest,” his own money, to make the border work and to have traffic increase and run smoothly as do all of the Governments
  • His interest is that of the Governments: keep the economy moving and tourists coming
  • He does not need taxpayer money from any Government so all Governments can use the billions elsewhere for other uses
  • He is not afraid of any Government who impedes the proper operation of the Bridge as his litigation record shows. Please, Canada suing the US…give me a break
  • He has more friends in high places than Canada will ever have in these NAFTA-gate days.

It shall be interesting. Will it be "versus" or "and?"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More Short Strike Aftermath Blogs

Still more stories after the strike


It is just too co-incidental.

The stories I heard early on out of Windsor, and not just from CUPE people, suggested that our strike was to end much later. The expectation was around the end of August. I do not know about Toronto's. Even Junior said he predicted a 4 month strike and he should know better as an insider.

What I do find interesting is that all of a sudden after the Caboto fiasco, serious negotiations took place in Windsor and the same happened in Toronto. Settlements in both cities came in at around the same percentages too.

Strikes resolved.

Perhaps one day we might find out if there was a link. At the OLRB hearing perhaps.


I am advised that City CAO John Skorobohacz "asked to come to the negotiating table to apologize and did so."

As for the Mayor who made the ultimate decision that almost caused a near-riot, while he said "We apologized obviously and I will apologize," I am advised that "The mayor NEVER contacted the Union (before or after the above statement)."


There is really something very, very strange going on. When I first wrote this short BLOG, it was late in the PM after the Civic Holiday weekend and my garbage had still not yet been picked up. That was very unusual.

The next week, garbage was not picked up until days later and then by a single person in a City pickup truck.

The Star told us:
  • "Homeowners can expect growing delays with garbage pickup following the 15-week strike by municipal workers.

    With the first week of collection nearing an end, garbage pickup is nearly a full day behind keeping up with its regular routes, said AnneMarie Albidone, environmental administrator for the city.

    “It’s difficult to say how long it will continue in this fashion,” she said.

I looked at the City website and it said this:

  • "Due to the large volumes of garbage and recycle this week, following the recent work stoppage, we wish to advise residents that collection will still be delayed in the coming days...

    For the week of August 3, 2009 be advised that delays will continue due to the volume of garbage and recycling from the week of July 27, as well as the delay caused by the Civic Holiday (Monday August 3, 2009.

Then I read this:

  • "The lack of overtime is also contributing to continuing delays for garbage and recycling collection.

    Tim Tidridge, acting manager of environmental services, said crews have completed about 60 per cent of the garbage that was due for pick-up last Thursday and should get the other 40 per cent today. In terms of recycling, Tidridge said 80 per cent of last Friday’s recycling should be picked up by the end of today.

    Areas where garbage has been stored in alleys are proving particularly time consuming, with routes that normally total about 17 tonnes coming in at 40 tonnes, said Tidridge."

How can this be? It seems that there are tonnes of garbage around yet our Mayor told us during the strike:

  • "Entering into the 11th week of a strike you would expect garbage to be piled up and residents to be calling city hall demanding city hall to capitulate. That hasn't taken place," Francis told CTV News Channel on Monday from Windsor.

    Approximately 75 per cent of the city's garbage has been accounted for at transfer stations and Francis believes he has the support of the residents...."
  • Mr. Francis cited a "tremendous result," saying the city has been able to account for nearly 80% of all garbage - a factor that strengthens the city's position at the bargaining table, as citizens are not faced with the prospect of trash-strewn, foul-smelling streets.

Then the story changed just slightly why we had private pick-ups. It was no longer to help defeat the Union but rather:

  • "By comparison, in Windsor last Thursday, the city and 1,800 garbage workers reached a deal to end a 101-day strike. That day, council reviewed the deal and a prioritized cleanup plan. The next day, workers endorsed the deal and the strike was officially over.

    Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis said paying for trash to be picked up by private companies during the strike paid off.

    "We wanted to be in a position post-strike where we could immediately begin delivering services to the residents," he said last week."

So if so much garbage--75-80%-- had been picked up from citizens who were so supportive and the City was so ready to delvier services, then why is there such a huge backlog?

Considering that all garbage, yard waste and recyclable pick-ups are still not back to normal, maybe there was an error---it was only 20-25% of the garbage that citizens brought. The Mayor just had the numbers mixed up.


OMG, our newest political Blogger takes a strip off of our Mayor. He started his political Blog after we met for coffee one day.

And you thought I was harsh. Check out his BLOG where he sets out the 10 Principles of Leadership. Eddie earned out of 10....well you read it for yourself.

Anotehr new Blogger also gave me credit for gettign her started. She also happens to be a School Board Trustee. Hers is a different mix of topics.

Where pray tell is YOUR BLOG?


If you read this comment from Eddie in the Toronto Star it would seem so would it not

  • "Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis was prepared to deal with angry residents as the recent 101-day municipal strike in his city dragged on. But Francis said Windsor residents supported his stance that the city had to dump lifetime retiree benefits for its employees."

Of course, the quote is wrong. It is supposedly for new hires (although I think they still have them legally)

I guess CUPE will know now what the issue will be for its next strike and better start preparing for it if Eddie is re-elected or the Councillor formerly known as Councillor Budget runs and wins.


I do not understand why this is being discussed in camera and not in front of the cameras:

  • "City looking at outsourcing ticketing

    Mayor Eddie Francis said council is under an “extreme amount of pressure” to maintain service levels while keeping a lid on taxes and that “no one should be afraid … of looking at new ways of doing things.”

    Francis said the latest move has nothing to do with the recent strike, other than that the long labour dispute delayed what council, behind closed doors, agreed in principle to look at earlier this year during the 2009 budget sessions. Administration is preparing a detailed report, which the mayor expects will come before council in September.

    Coun. Ken Lewenza Jr. said he’s firmly opposed to privatizing Windsor’s garbage collection, but that he’s open to a council discussion on parking enforcement. However, Lewenza said he expects the staff report to look at all alternatives to the status quo, including working with CUPE to find efficiencies in-house.

    As for outright privatization of city parking enforcement, “that wasn’t the intention when it was first discussed … but I think some (council) members might see this as an opportunity to present that case,” said Lewenza."

    Why is a new report being planned on outsourcing if we are also in the midst of a Services Delivery review? Makes no sense to me.

Obviously, there was a report already prepared on outsourcing garbage. Why has it not been disclosed?

I see that Junior, the Unionists' friend, has learned to speak like a former PM. Outsourcing if necessary but not necessarily outsourcing.

So Junior personally will oppose outsourcing garbage but does not really care what COUNCIL does on ticketing. Hmmm is he running for Mayor now? he is starting to sound like Eddie. Blame it on Council, not him!

Contractor Tear Down This Wall

Wow, I bet the Premier is relieved. He looked so tense in media shots recently. Lack of sleep perhaps. He must have been tossing and turning at night wondering what his colleagues would say.

Fortunately, the Cabinet approved the DRIC road project. I am sure that none of them felt intimidated by what the Premier said previously about it. He would have been so embarrassed if they had decided otherwise. He might have had to resign since that would be a vote of non-confidence in him.
  • "Premier endorses parkway plan; 'Eager' to move on it

    Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said the Windsor Essex Parkway proposal "strikes the right balance" and didn't mention the city's rival GreenLink plan during a quick swing though Windsor Friday.

    "I recognize that not everybody is going to be absolutely ebullient and enthusiastic about this proposal and I understand that," said McGuinty following a lunch-time speech to about 400 people at the Caboto Club. "But our responsibility at some point in time is to make a call and we stand by that and we will be judged on that. I understand that and I accept that, but that's the responsibility of leadership."

Whether the courts feel the same, who knows. They might listen to our Mayor on this one when he litigates as he must now do to save us and future generations:

  • MAYOR FRANCIS: anyways, back to your point in terms of the Premier. I fundamentally disagree with the Premier. The Premier’s comments that it’s the responsibility of leadership to make decisions. Okay. It’s the responsibility of leadership to make the right decision in difficult circumstances…When other cities are adopting GreenLink concepts and putting them into place to become economic competitiveness, doesn’t the Premier have a responsibility to sit back and say shouldn’t we look at doing things differently? And that’s where the Premier’s responsibility lies. More importantly, the Premier has an obligation to ensure that the integrity of the Environmental Assessment is not compromised. And that he put this process in place. He agreed to this process. This process…

    JOHN FAIRLEY: Do you think he crossed a line with his comments?

    MAYOR FRANCIS: Well I think his comments…

    JOHN FAIRLEY: You’re a lawyer?

    MAYOR FRANCIS: I, I believe his comments are very prejudicial because basically, and I don’t need, you don’t need to be a lawyer to understand this or appreciate it. DRIC is in the City of Windsor and DRIC is saying we have until December the 12th to respond to the current proposal. The Premier’s coming down on December the 5th, seven days before submission deadline and says don’t even bother. There’s an inconsistency and they can only answer it."

Someone in Dwight Duncan's office, whoever wrote his speech, is a TV-aholic but with a sense of humour.

How else to describe Dwight's take-off of the line on the Extreme Make-over Home Edition TV show when he asked for the symbolic tearing down of the building beside the Railway tracks to start the construction of the Howard Avenue grade separation. What this has to do with DRIC I am not sure but it's a great photo-op.

That project we were told was won by Jenny Coco's company so presumably it should have lots of local content and local jobs.

It is a significant project for the area, one that we have wanted apparently for "generations" like the Walker road one. It is all part of the $300M BIF money although a good chunk if it was supposed to have gone to build an interim road to the Ambassador Bridge. Not a penny was spent on that.

There are 4 other interesting aspects to the story:

1) It signals in this area the start of the next Provincial election campaign. As you will remember after the $500M Gong Show fiasco with Dwight and after former Ontario Transport Minister Cansfield's 2010 reamark, we knew that nothing was going to happen until after 2010 and right before the next provincial election. The world economic meltdown, especially the negative employment impact in Windsor where 2 Ministers reside, and the need for jobs moved up the announcements time-table but not necessarily the real project one.

2) The Provincial Liberals may feel that there could be a fall federal election. They could NOT allow the Conservatives to get all the job-creation glory for Jeff Watson and perhaps Eddie too. The announcement pre-empted the Feds. Isn't a near-Depression fun to get votes by spending taxpayer money?

3) Now we know why Dwight and Sandra followed by the Star had a recent flurry of bridge stories and Greenlink stories. They needed the Feds to commit to be on the hook for major spending to help the Province pay for the DRIC road. World-class bridge, world-class Greenlink---awwww come on Stephen, you can part with a few extra bucks to help out have-not Ontario with their major project too!

4) This announcement really had nothing to do with the road or engineering or getting trucks and passenger cars across the border. It all had to do with jobs, jobs, jobs or at least the appearance of creating thousands of them, which to a politician is the same thing

  • Today, the McGuinty government is announcing the completion of the Windsor-Essex Parkway Environmental Assessment. Once full construction begins on the parkway the creation of 12,000 jobs is anticipated.

  • The announcement took place at the site of the Howard Avenue CPR Grade Separation. This project will create some 400 local jobs and is a part of the joint Canada-Ontario $300 million Let’s Get Windsor-Essex Moving strategy

  • Taken together with the Howard Ave project, this year’s investment in the Parkway will be more than $125 million and create approximately 1,300 jobs here in Windsor.

  • The Parkway will create thousands of jobs for our local workers. It is proof of how communities and local governments can work together to create something that will benefit us now in the present and for future generations.

Here are some impressions I had of the big, significant Detroit River International Crossing Study Announcement:

  • Classiest moment: when Dwight Duncan ensured that the very visibly expecting Sacha Long of Eh-Channel News had a chair to sit down on while the politicians droned on for 20 or so minutes in the warm sun. I told you that Dwight was Honourable

  • Greenlink is now dead. Oh there were the ususal Greenlink platitudes as it was rejected out of hand by DRIC. I guess we will know that Eddie has given up finally once the banner comes down at Council Chambers.

  • Amazing...the Detroit Free Press posted their story of the announcment at 10:45 AM while the politicos were still talking. They beat CKLW by 8 minutes and the Star by an eternity. Who gave them the details well in advance?

  • Whoever writes the politician's stuff needs to stop living in the past. I thought I heard the number 14M vehicle crossings a year and about truck backups which have not happened for eons, especially after the Bridge Company built their new booths. If this is what is believed, along with Sean O'Dell's traffic comments, it is no wonder that the DRIC project is a Mega-Project run amuk. The press release did talk about "Each year more than 12 million cars, trucks and buses... flow between Canada and the U.S. through the Windsor-Detroit corridor alone." It is playing with numbers. It is now the "corridor." That has to include both the Bridge and Tunnel. I would bet the 2009 number is much lower. Interesting, for only the Bridge, the total for cars and trucks in 1999 was around 12M! Just look at the huge drop since then when the combined total is that number.

  • The Provincial cabinet granted approval of the DRIC road EA subject to a few expected conditions. Yes, a completely unbiased perspective

  • No politicians from the City were there although Halberstadt came half-way through the press conference (Norma Coleman, Dev Tyagi and Mark Galvin were there though). Let the drama begin now between Eddie and our Cabinet Ministers or will Eddie be told there is nothing to discuss since he had his chance. What about our poor kids and the death and destruction to be caused by the DRIC road? Will Eddie unleash now our legal weapon of DRIC EA destruction, David Estrin, after spending all of that money on him to attack the DRIC approach? Or will his failure to act be called "unconscionable?"

  • A number of county politicians were there including Mayor Baxter and Warden Nelson Santos the recently acclaimed Liberal Federal candidate.

  • No federal politicians were there although Transport Canada spokesperson Mark Butler was there. I find that rather insulting considering the Feds are paying half the costs

  • Mohammed Alghurabi was there from MDOT. How would half a bridge look if Michigan does not allow their side to move forward?

  • Was it all last-minute? Certain people must have known in advance so as to clear their schedules. Linda Smith from the Chamber was there as were people from the Heavy Construction and Windsor Construction Association, an OTA rep and a Union rep. I wonder when Eddie was told. I guess he had time to make up an excuse for this snub.

  • There was nothing particularly new but I am sure that people will enjoy the photo op of the building being torn down

  • DRIC is the biggest project in Ontario's History and a North American pacesetter... as Sandra took a swipe at Gord over this and his Saturday column

  • DRIC road is still a P3 (AFP in Ontario terms). Qualifications period ended last week with tenders going out by year-end. Considering that the market for P3s is dead and that the costs will be substantially higher than the "guidelines" estimate of $1.6B, then taxpayers will be ripped off since we will be virtually guaranteeing a P3 operator a no-risk mega-profit the way the deal seems to be structured. Guess who will be the successful parties in the winning consortium. Gord gave it all away. I wonder if his provincial government insider told him.

  • Here's a real hoot after our CUPE/City strike: "The Windsor-Essex Parkway is unprecedented in its community enhancement features for any highway, anywhere in Ontario with: more than 300 acres of green space; 20 kilometres of recreational trails; extensive landscaping throughout the corridor." Who is going to pay to look after all of that? Will we need new CUPE hires without PRBs of course?

Did anything good come out of the Cabinet approval? Maybe. Dwight, Sandra and the Premier no longer have an excuse NOT to talk to the Bridge Company so they can now work out a solution about how to get traffic to the Ambassador Bridge's new Enhancement Bridge. We need the jobs today, not in decades after litigation.

The Honourable Dwight owes it to them and to us doesn't he!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sandra, Dwight Re-Election Campaigns Launched Today

More to come later.

But you know it started when all we heard about from the politicians at the DRIC Road announcment today was jobs, jobs, jobs!

Eddie was conspicuous by his absence.

You Are Sooooo Rude

I wonder if the City of Windsor human relations approach and one of the City's Departments were the source of this story. The timing is so interesting as well
  • "Rudeness may cause toxic workplace

    Study finds its damage spreads 'like fire'

    Rudeness aimed at just one person can spread its damage "like fire" through a workplace, causing large numbers of workers to do a lousy job and even to harbour dark, murderous thoughts.

    Psychologists knew a blast of rudeness would distract the immediate victim.

    But second-hand rudeness...

    "Managers should be very concerned because the negative consequences of rudeness on the job are not limited to the person who happens to be the victim," he said. "If five other people are watching, the effects are going to spill over into the rest of the organization."

Here is what is most interesting

  • "All this stunned Erez, though now that he has published the results, everyone he talks to says: "Sure, I've seen that happen at work."

    "Everybody recognizes that it happens all the time," he said."

So the real world is away ahead of the psychologists who are now trying to explain the phenomenon.

Here is some food for thought for them. The City and its workers have just finished a very nasty, and for the workers, a financially distressing 101-day strike. Have we seen an approach to try and build bridges between staff and management? Consider this:

  • the line in the pay cheque stub to show amounts lost during the strike to rub it in the workers' faces

  • Brister's outsourcing comment re garbage right after the strike ended

  • making outsourcing of garbage a possible election issue

  • keep the public mad at CUPE with streets still not cleaned up with garbage and red and blue boxes and the parks still a mess

  • now we are going to talk about outsourcing parking enforcement

  • continued demonization of CUPE and boosting CAW

  • City worker being fired right after the strike.

Mere rudeness or something more? Building respect back or psychological warfare attacks in preparation for the next strike! Time will tell.

More Border Stories

So many more interesting border tidbits of information for you


Oooo Oooo Oooo. Could this be the explanation as to why we have been hearing so much about Greenlink all of a sudden?

  • Detroit River International Crossing Study Announcement

    WINDSOR - Media are invited to join Minister Sandra Pupatello, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Windsor West, Minister Dwight Duncan, MPP for Windsor-Tecumseh, and MPP Bruce Crozier, Essex, for a technical briefing on the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) study and a significant access road announcement.

    Date: Monday, August 24, 2009
    Time: 10:00 a.m. technical briefing
    10:30 a.m. formal media event.

It cannot be that significant if the Fed are not there considering they are to pay half the costs.


The poor fellow. Traffic keeps going down and down and down. The only thing that went up so far in his Windsor border career is the purchase price of the land at Brighton Beach.

I got it. These traffic figures are from the US. He can convert them into Canadian numbers just like converting dollars. That way the Cnadian numbers are higher!

  • NAFTA surface trade posts record y-y drop
    07/31/2009 Today's Trucking Online

    WASHINGTON -- The latest Canada-U.S. surface transportation trade numbers are in and it's more of the same.

    Land transportation trade between the two countries plummeted down 40.3 percent ($29.2 billion) in May compared to the same month 2008, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

    Total trade between the U.S. and both its NAFTA partners, including Mexico, was down 35.4 percent from May 2008, the largest decline from the same month of the previous year on record.

    Surface transportation trade landed at $47.9 billion, making May the fifth consecutive month with a year-to-year decline greater than 27 percent.

    Surface transportation consists largely of freight movements by truck, rail and pipeline. About 88 percent of U.S. trade by value with Canada and Mexico moves on land.

    Recent truck traffic numbers reported by Ontario-Michigan border crossings -- including the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor-Detroit, which carries nearly a quarter of all Canada-US trade -- corroborate that truck volumes have fallen steeply over the last year.


An interesting video to watch:

And the answer is no it is not. However, and this is a consideration when Governments run bridges as Windsor's famous, more than 4-500 KM away, foreign retained traffic guru can confirm:

  • "1. The Rust

    By the late seventies, the cash-strapped city had skimped on painting for decades, and rust never sleeps. In 1986, it was discovered that the four cables slung over the towers (made up of 9,472 wires each) were severely corroded. Some components of the anchorages, where the cables are pinned to the riverbank, were half-gone. “We came so close to losing the bridge,” Schwartz says (an emergency closure, repairs, and the institution of a strict preventive-maintenance program followed).


Why should a DRIC bridge be any different? Now you know why the 2013 completion date morphed into being only a "target" date.

  • "Toll-road lease tumbles in value
    Ailing operator denies talk that it might sell its stake

    Gov. Mitch Daniels expected his unprecedented $3.8 billion Indiana Toll Road lease to last 75 years. It may be tested after just three.

    The foreign companies that privatized the property haven’t escaped the global economic downturn. As a result, the value of their investments has plummeted. Now, as they labor to shed enormous debt loads, analysts and the financial media are abuzz that the Indiana Toll Road lease could change hands...

    The outlook for the state of Indiana might be least favorable under the status quo. That’s because the companies could try to dig themselves out of their financial hole by continuing to aggressively raise tolls...

    Retaining ownership might be the most appealing option for Macquarie and Cintra, since any sale likely would reap a fraction of what they paid. Recent write-downs by Macquarie suggest the same lease deal today could fetch as little as $445 million...

    The private operators, who thought they bought a cash cow, have already proven aggressive in hiking tolls. With so much invested, the companies have an incentive to milk the lease, taking advantage of language in the agreement that could permit annual toll increases of 5 percent or higher...

    In a June 2009 report on the state of U.S. toll roads, Moody’s Investors Service gave the industry a negative outlook for the next year to 18 months, noting weak economic conditions have flattened traffic growth...

    The report adds: “We are concerned that accelerated traffic declines and toll increases (needed to support increased debt issuance) could soften financial ratios and cause more ratings downgrades...”

    But if either Cintra or Macquarie sold now, they would be locking in huge losses. Macquarie subsidiary Macquarie Infrastructure Group has written down its stake repeatedly in the past year, most recently in July. The valuation for its stake is 61-percent less than it was a year ago and suggests the entire lease may be worth just $445 million on the open market."


  • "Tunnel Stake Sale Spurs CP to 2Q Gain

    Canadian Pacific Railway had a 1.7 percent gain in second quarter net income to $145 million by selling part of its share in the Detroit River Tunnel Partnership, but saw hefty declines in freight revenue and operating profit from the 2008 period."

Except OMERS bought its interest. Poor pensioners and taxpayers, I wonder how they feel about it!