Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Stephen, Don't P**S Off Matty

Matty Moroun received the biggest Christmas gift of his life from Prime Minister Stephen Harper but he did not know about it until now!

In one secret action that was only recently disclosed, Stephen acknowledged that the only one entitled to build a new bridge in the Windsor/Detroit area was Matty.

But did Stephen give up? Not on your life. Play out the bluff, throw the Hail Mary pass, run it up the flagpole. Pick your own cliché to use!

It is one last try for the Prime Minister. When this tactic fails as everything else has so far, then what? Total capitulation forever? That's the big fear isn't it that has been driving Canada!

What a joke when it is one of your best buddies whose newspapers gave it all away as I shall explain below! Not just once, but twice in case it was missed the first time around.

As a Canadian taxpayer, I beg you PM to call off MDOT. Their "refresher" traffic numbers make no sense but given how "smart" the consultants are and the Governments, you have just increased the value of the Ambassador Bridge haven't you. So if you ever buy it, you have just cost taxpayers a fortune. Smart move Stephen.

Prime Minister, are you still listening to former Ambassador to the US, Michael Wilson, or is someone else whispering sweet nothings in your ear about how to beat Matty Moroun?

Truly, have you forgotten about NAFTA-gate? I assure you that President Obama has not. Do you really want the taking over of the Ambassador Bridge, a major crossing into and out of the US, to turn into a Dubai Ports #2 or, even worse, a softwood lumber case?

Didn't you get a hint during the "protectionist" Obama stage that threatening to cut off oil and energy to the US was a dumb move? Did you like to grovel that much over the past year? Even the Governor-General could not help you out!

Stephen, we all know by now that you cannot take over Moroun's bridge and that there is legal doubt that you can build a DRIC bridge even if you wanted to. The way I read the statutes, heck, I don't think you can stop him from building his Enhancement Project bridge either, no matter how hard you try.

I am pretty sure that this is not news to you. Your teams of lawyers have probably told you that already too. After all, if the Government could not beat him during the FIRA decade of litigation, then what has changed so dramatically since then?

Which bureaucrat devised the "terrorize Moroun" strategy? Did that person really believe it would work on a guy who made himself what he is today? Come on Stephen, civil servants are bureaucrats using taxpayer money with little accountability, not entrepreneurs using their own money and taking the financial risk!

It wasn't a bad strategy until it became obvious what was going on. DRTP really had me worried and a good part of Windsor too. They really looked to be a winner to take away half of his business. I wonder if Moroun was concerned. Maybe he remembered the MDOT report of a decade or so ago that I found by chance that threw out the truck tunnel concept early on. Geez, Stephen, that was a dumb strategy to use when your engineers dismissed DRTP too out of hand!

I did like DRIC as a the new DRIC bridge was going to take way more of his business away along with a big chunk from the Tunnel and from the Blue Water Bridge. (Except Wilbur Smith revised traffic numbers are down already 10% from earlier DRIC projections of about a year or so ago.) Throw in a new DRTP doublestack rail tunnel and that should terrorize Moroun (except his ownership of the Depot kind of kills that tunnel concept doesn't it!)

But seriously Stephen, did you really think that

  • DRIC
  • the International Bridges and Tunnels Act
  • Heritage and the anti-demolition by-law to prevent the Indian Road homes coming down
  • a DRIC road that would close off traffic to the Ambassador Bridge or
  • other theats

would work? Perhaps in a bureaucratic mind in Otttawa it was a winner but not in the real world.

Michigan Legislators will kill the DRIC boondoggle I pray in June even with a phony traffic study that does NOT meet the requriements of Michigan law. And saying that the US Government will pay Michigan's share won't work given the huge deficit there and the 2 wars and war over healthcare nor will P3s unless Government guarantees everything or subsidizes crossings which defeats the purpose of a P3 in the first place.

Stephen, Transport Canada is making Moroun the most public "reclusive" billionaire in history! Demonizing and vilifying him on an almost daily basis has not achieved much so far. Read the Star Forums some time to understand what I mean.

Does anyone really care what Tlaib, Masse and Jones think? They made fools of themselves with the joint meeting recently where they tried to get everyone onside with the DRIC bridge---you remember, the project that leaves Windsor virtually untouched but destroys hundreds of homes and businesses in Delray. It really is not your Canadian lawyers' fault Stephen. They do not understand the concept of Environmental Justice.

But it is Derek Burney, the Chair of Canwest who really did you in! Was Derek around when the Mulroney Government settled with Moroun as Mulroney's Chief of Staff? He would have been upset at that but it was a trade-off to get Free Trade with the Americans. Retreat then and now start all over again.

As former Ambassador Gottlieb said in a speech:

  • "Breaking with the past, the Mulroney Government ushered in a new era in the management of our relationship. Although not originally in favour of a comprehensive free-trade agreement with the US, the Mulroney Government changed gears twelve months after its election.

    The achievement of a free trade agreement with the United States was my principal preoccupation in Washington for two years."

Unfortunately, the former Ambassador helped us understand the techniques used to try and endrun the President back in his 2007 speech. Not smart in my opinion:

  • "6. Appoint personal envoys or czars, answerable directly to the President and Prime Minister, to take hold of the entire process of border facilitation.

    7. Establish the principle that new bilateral institutions should be created to plan, maintain and oversee the openness of our borders. Vast consequences hinge on how well they are managed. Unilateral decision-making affecting the principal choke points should be brought under the responsibility of new transborder commissions with effective powers.

    There is a more than a whiff of the 19th century in how we currently go about our business of border management. The international bridge at Buffalo/Fort Erie is an example. Years pass and the problems of congestion, insufficient infrastructure, and security remain unresolved. Too many players, too many jurisdictions, too little planning, too much unilateralism."

I guess he was too embarrassed to say "Ambassador Bridge" so pretended by using the Peace Bridge instead. He did not want to give away the game as you did, Stephen.

I know why Moroun got all of that negative publicity recently and why there was a leak of a supposed offer to buy the Bridge that was to show that Moroun was greedy. It was NOT just to get the Michigan Legisalture onside. I knew there was a reason but did not know why until Derek's National Post and Calgary Herald gave it all away. Check out this timeline:

  • January 6, 2010

"Asked if he will announce new spending restraint programs in this budget, Harper declined to speculate, but said he had given each of his ministers new "comprehensive mandate letters" over the Christmas break instructing each to re-examine their priorities given the fact that resources will be limited.

"We'll be talking about . . . how to continue to advance key economic priorities in a period of constrained spending growth which we will need to see in the next few years. We still have to be able to advance key files that will continue to build the strength of the Canadian economy," Harper said."

  • January 13, 2010:

Stephen Harper has been accused of "totalitarian rule" by one of the academics leading the charge against his decision to suspend Parliament.

But the reality is perhaps closer to the absolutism of Louis XIV of France-- the Sun King, who famously said: "I am the state." The academic Donald Savoie has long noted the development of court government in Canada, where power rests with the Prime Minister and a small group of carefully selected courtiers.

But even Mr. Savoie would be shocked at the extent to which Mr. Harper now controls every aspect of government, as revealed in secret mandate letters the Prime Minister has sent to all his ministers."

  • January 19, 2010

The National Post published details Tuesday of a copy of a so-called "mandate letter" it obtained that had been given several weeks ago to Toews' predecessor Peter Van Loan. Mandate letters are issued from time to time to each cabinet member and contain what are essentially the minister's marching orders from the prime minister.

The report said Van Loan's mandate from Harper was to begin the most sweeping review since 9/11 of the country's public safety system - everything from the RCMP to border control to its intelligence agencies. That job will now fall to Toews, a lawyer who first entered Harper's cabinet in 2006 as justice minister."

  • February 27, 2010

"As the National Post revealed last month, the Prime Minister sent out new mandate letters to his Cabinet telling them not to bring forward any unfunded proposals without receiving his prior approval. Only those proposals that addressed health, safety or national security concerns would be added to the list of projects he and his staff had identified in the mandate letter.

Among those priorities are: purchase of the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor..."

Here is what I mean about the Government and why they are infuriating Moroun. Here is the date of the bridge purchase story, within 2 months of the Harper UltraSecret mandate :

  • February 9, 2010

"Feds mull buying Ambassador Bridge

Transport Canada has been in talks to buy the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Windsor, Ont., with Detroit.

Vehicles cross the Ambassador Bridge, as viewed from Windsor, Ont., on June 1, 2009. Ottawa wants to improve the busy travel corridor. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)
Federal officials have met numerous times with Manuel (Matty) Moroun, the octogenarian head of Detroit International Bridge Co., which owns of the bridge, to discuss ways to improve the flow of trade across North America's busiest transport corridor.

"The Government of Canada has had discussions with the owner of the Ambassador Bridge, [but] we will not comment on the details of those discussions," Transport Canada said Tuesday in a release.

But later in the day, a spokesman for Transport Minister John Baird — James Kusie — said no offer has been made to buy the bridge from Moroun.

Although Ottawa is considering buying the Ambassador Bridge, a proposal to build a second, competing bridge, is apparently still on the table.

"The Government of Canada remains committed to the building of a new bridge between Windsor and Detroit as additional capacity is needed along this corridor to support the anticipated growth in border traffic," the release said."

They were not "mulling." The decision had already been made to do so in the secret mandate letter sent out at Christmas time!

The Bridge purchase is Canadian government policy. To help accomplish it, another orchestrated smear job for heaven's sake. Canada's secret mandate is to buy the Ambassador Bridge so pretend that a DRIC bridge will be built, go after Moroun, go after Senator Cropsey, go after anyone who stands in Canada's way.

I have not figured out who James Blanchford really works for but he was front and centre in all of this with his version of the facts until Canada figured out that he had undercut their credibility and Baird had to close this all down before Moroun figured out what was going on.

Actually, he did not have to. Derek Burney's papers gave the secret all away to him! Twice, the latest being in the John Baglow BLOG: "Parliament returns. Let the bitching begin"

Stephen, Stepehen, Stephen. You blew it dear PM. Your credibility rating has fallen. No wonder the US ambassador looked miffed during the CTV interview when he was blind-sided. Iggy's DC friends have to be rubbing their hands together at your faux pas.

Since the bridge purchase story is true, it makes a mockery of the Government's position that it should spend billions to build a new bridge a mile downriver!

It is absolutely clear now that the whole Detroit River International Crossing exercise was nothing more than trying to take over the Ambassador Bridge cheaply by threatening to bankrupt Moroun's business. Matty and his son have to be angry at the duplicity and especially at the planned and organized attacks on them personally.

I did warn you many times, Stephen, that your Government was boxing itself in a corner every time they took on Moroun. It is about as bad for you as it can get since your options are so limited now. You have been exposed by your own friend too to make it even worse. Are your friends abandoning you now as a loser?

Prime Minister, as a good Canadian, I offered to help you out before but you snubbed me. I will make this offer one more time. I KNOW I can help mediate a solution that would satisfy everyone. The solution is so simple that I am surprised that you have not thought of it.

But then again, that is why you need my help desperately. You have too many people with vested interests, and careers at stake, in beating Moroun that no one in Government can think clearly now. Why even you have tried at least 3 times with American Presidents and failed miserably.

My fee....about the same as that of Mr. Blanchard per hour since if his amounts being thrown around are true, working for a few hours per week can help out in my retirement nicely. Plus I would want a "success fee" based on a fair percentage of the value of the deal. We can work out that percentage number when we talk but "10" is such an easy number to use.

I am in the phone book, Prime Minister. I await your call! After all, you need all the help you can get.