Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, February 12, 2010

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Here are some interesting tidbits of information


You might be interested in reading this Affidavit prepared by Dan Stamper in the MDOT lawsuit. It outlines the nearly two decades of effort to build the Enhancement Project bridge which is part of the Ambassador Gateway project.

It lets you understand the deep feeling of distrust and betrayal that the Bridge Company has towards Governments on the border file. How that gets overcome, I do not know.

It also gives you some background about the piling of dirt and equipment to prevent users of the Bridge getting to the access roads.


Is anyone chasing after this project? Edgar should since he knows the bread business so well with his former pita business success.

Has the Undevelopment Commission's new CEO started yet? Wasn't he to be here February 1? No concern, Edgar (aka Eddie) is doing his job for him.

Probably not. Time for another jaunt to Europe soon to scout out another failing airport:

  • "Canada Bread to close 3 Toronto plants

    Toronto-based Canada Bread Company Ltd. said Tuesday it plans to close three of its bakeries in the city and move production to a new plant somewhere in southwestern Ontario by 2013.

    The company, Canada's largest breadmaker, said it hopes the existing 435 employees will find jobs both at the new location and elsewhere at the company's 13 plants in the greater Toronto area. The new plant will create about 300 jobs."

And where is Windsor's name here as a possible location:

  • "Vestas, the world's largest maker of wind turbines, could be the next green giant to set up shop in Ontario, the [Toronto] Star has learned.

    Industry sources said officials from Denmark-based Vestas were in Ontario last week to size up local infrastructure and potential sites for manufacturing, which would be geared to making offshore and onshore wind turbines for the Canadian and U.S. markets – including offshore wind projects planned for the Great Lakes.

    Sites in Hamilton, Niagara, Kingston and Belleville are among those being considered, sources said."


A few more reader suggestions:

Euchre - the let's make dirt desirable game so EWSWA can't get at it to save on costs at the landfill

Ker-Plunk - the council falling one by one as Edgar does not know how to play nice with anyone game

Go Fish - the drain basin that isn't nearly as desirable as the canal would be game

Michigan Rummy - the excuse me while I wipe my feet on Windsor while I kissy up to my next boss game

Trouble - the ongoing attacks on employees game


How quickly we have fallen.

Remember this from one of Edgar's speeches in 2006:

  • "We’ve all heard about the challenges with Canada’s aging population.

    That aging population is a more daunting concern, when coupled with a shortage of skilled labour.

    We are fortunate, to have a labour force that is growing and replenishing itself.

    Windsor is one of the most popular destinations for immigrants to this country.

    Only Calgary attracts more new immigrants on a per capita basis. As populations stagnate across the Western world, ours is projected to double over the next fifty years.

    While other cities are seeking people … we have people seeking us.

    These people are coming to our city to fulfill their dreams, and build successful lives for themselves and their children.

    Yet they face difficult barriers. Like a lack of skills recognition and language challenges – resulting in unemployment or underemployment.

    Sixty percent of all immigrants came to Canada with a trade certificate, non-university diploma, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctorate.

    We’re taking action to help our newcomers – many of whom are very well-trained, and have skills that we need to put to good use.

    In partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, we are developing a workforce development plan.

    We’re taking action to find ways to help newcomers get settled and on with the job of building a better Windsor. "

To this with the terrific built-in excuse of blaming it on the economy:

  • "Newcomers not attracted to Windsor: Report

    Windsor's economy is largely to blame for its inability to attract migrants, according to a report released Wednesday by the Conference Board of Canada.

    According to the report, Windsor is ranked 45th out of 50 centres across Canada.

    It was the city's poor economic performance, led largely by its high unemployment rate, that dragged Windsor down in the rankings where it was joined by fellow manufacturing centres such as Oshawa, Brantford, Cambridge, Longueuil, Saguenay, Trois-Rivieres, Laval and Saint John."

Trouble is that Edgar recognized the problem in 2006 and what has he done about it:

  • "We also have some immediate challenges.

    One of them has been economic development.

    None of you need to be reminded of the challenges that the North American auto industry has been facing.

    And our unemployment rate remains high.

    These are reasons we’ve taken politics out of economic development, and we’re taking a regional approach.

    Our new economic development partnership with Essex County is underway.

    This is a great accomplishment that recognizes that what is good for Essex County is good for Windsor, and what’s good for Windsor is good for Essex County.

    I am looking forward to the day when our region in collaboration with others cities from Southwestern Ontario and South East Michigan join together to forge a strong and enhanced economic partnership.

    And I want to thank the Chamber for its support and encouragement with this invitiative."

I wonder perhaps if immigrants remember this slam in 2006 where they were blamed for our high unemployment rate:

  • "Across Canada, only Calgary is welcoming more new immigrants than we are here in Windsor. Our population is expected to double within the next fifty years.

    Now, in the short term, being a city that attracts people from around the world can be challenging as we help people get settled in.

    Unemployment is at 9.2 percent in this city. That’s way too high.

    But it’s important to understand what’s behind that number.

    Three thousand more jobs were created in our city last year than the year before.

    Opportunities are attracting people to Windsor. Faster than our labour market can absorb them.

    And that pushes the unemployment rate upwards.

    People want to come here. They want to live here.

    And while other places are struggling to maintain the labour supply they need for growth and prosperity, Windsor continues to attract people."

No need to worry now. They aren't coming. Watch for our unemployment rate to tumble.

Daycare: We Need An Investigation Now

  • Elected officials and staff should take all necessary steps to avoid preferential treatment or the appearance of preferential treatment for friends or family.

Why can't anything ever be straight-forward in this City?

The Ronna Warsh bombshell means that the Mayor and Council have no choice but to stop the daycare changes until an independent investigation is undertaken.

Perhaps the result will be the same if this matter is reheard as well, perhaps it will be different. It does not matter.

What does matter however to:

  • the over 400 children and their families whose lives will be disrupted

  • the over 100 City employees who will be involved in bumping or who may be let go

  • City/County relations

is that they gave been treated fairly and not railroaded.

Serious questions have been raised by Daryl Newcombe's story on Eh-channel about the role of Ronna Warsh in the Daycare matter. A complete investigation is needed to determine whether she is in breach of her duty as a member of City Administration and what the consequences are if she is in breach.

She after all was one of the co-authors of the Daycare report that was presented to Council that recommended closing down Municipal Daycare. The obvious beneficiaries: private daycare centres who have their own problems with the introduction of JK/SK.

Listen to the Eh-Channel news report

Ronna's sister-in-law, Marcie Warsh, is Program Coordinator of Sundowners Day Care and Resource Centre. There was an allegation as well as of "friendship" with a close friend of hers also being involved with a private daycare. Who the person(s) is (are) was not named in the report. The rumour mill though has named a certain specific person so that should not be difficult to follow up.

It is said that Ms Warsh obtained a legal opinion. It would be interesting to know specifically the questions asked, what the advice given was and when it was obtained. I hope the question was not just limited just to the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act since that is inapplicable since she was not "elected."

Newcombe said that the legal opinion dealt with "co-authoring" the report and that this was not a violation of any code of conduct. Check out that conclusion for yourself with the information I provide below.

Did Ms Warsh identify her possible issue with her Superiors or the Integrity Commissioner for a ruling before the Report was issued? If so, with whom did she speak, when and what was the advice given?

Just so you will know, dear reader, here are some of the relevant sections of the City's Code of Conduct that would apply to Staff members like Ronna Warsh:

  • there are distinct and specialized roles expected of City staff in both the carrying out of their responsibilities and in dealing with Council

  • Members of Council and staff of the City are both servants of the public

  • under the direction of the CAO, staff have the responsibility and the authority to provide consultation, advice and direction to Council

  • Council should expect a high quality of advice from staff

  • 6. Staff of the City, for example:
    a. provide timely and useful advice to Council and its Committees;
    f. recommend policies, programs and budgets to Standing Committees and Council

  • Core Values

    Integrity/Ethics; Accountability/Responsibility; Service/Service Quality; Trust; and Leadership are the highest values held by Councillors and Staff. These values will be reflected in policy decisions, policy implementation and will form a vital part of the City of Windsor’s everyday operations.

  • Staff is expected to:
    Provide factual, clear, timely and professional advice based upon professional judgment but also include a range of options where applicable.

  • Codes of Conduct: General Principles

    1. The City should expand its current code of conduct for councillors and its conflict of interest policy for staff to include broader ethical considerations.
    2. The codes of conduct should go beyond the minimum standards of behaviour and set out the highest ideals and values toward which all public servants should be working.

  • Conflict of Interest and Apparent Conflict of Interest

    21. Councillors and staff should be made aware that it is unacceptable for them to act on a matter in which they have either a real or an apparent conflict of interest.
    22. Councillors and staff should take steps to avoid as best they can both real and apparent conflicts of interest.
    23. Councillors and staff should not use their positions to further their private interests
    30. Elected officials and staff should take all necessary steps to avoid preferential treatment or the appearance of preferential treatment for friends or family.
    33. Staff should refrain from any involvement in analysis or decision making on an issue in which they have a real or apparent conflict of interest. Conflicts or apparent conflicts should be disclosed to or discussed with the staff member’s supervisor.
    47. The City should give the integrity commissioner the power to recommend to Council an appropriate range of sanctions for ethical misdeeds by staff. These should be closely modelled on sanctions allowable under prevailing labour and employment law. To emphasize the importance of ethics within the organization, ethical misconduct should be regarded as among the most serious misconduct, and the sanctions should include the most serious penalties.

The City Solicitor made the comment that

  • "Ronna's relative received no benefit from that decision."

I do not understand that one. Municipal daycare is closing and over 400 children are looking to find a new daycare provider and this is no benefit. Did he forget this:

  • "Daycare operators worried

    Owners of daycares and Montessori schools are concerned that the province's new full-day kindergarten option will cause a significant drop in business at private-sector child care centres.

    "Everyone's scared," said Saskia Iannicello, executive director of Come and Play Day Nursery. "We're hearing that in two years, none of us are going to have jobs and they'll take our business...

    Roy fears if there's a mass exodus of older children from her schools to kindergarten, her business simply won't be viable."

He also seemed to forget how the Department was supposed to contact the parents to help them find a new provider. Could this give rise to an "apparent conflict" which is just as damaging as a "real" one! Remember what was said in the 2005 report re "perceptions."

He also seemed to dismiss the value of the report saying Council based its decision on the facts and what delegations said. I guess that amnesia disease is working overtime even for staff since he did not seem to recall Councillor Gignac's glowing endorsement of it.

Has he considered that "facts" from the 2005 report were omitted respecting the need for Municipal daycare and the failure of the Report to deal with the 2005 Report recommendations?

Clearly this is a serious matter that shakes the confidence of citizens in how this City is being run. People need to be examined and under oath. We need to know such matters as:

  • are there some preferred agencies in the know while others are left out

  • is there an "inner circle" of providers who are informed first of matters

  • how are children referred to private daycare providers and is the allocation fair

  • are certain providers receiving excess amounts of subsidization payments

  • who approves payments made to private daycare providers and have certain providers received more than their fair share of government money

  • have certain providers received benefits that others have not.

Jean Fox of CUPE was interviewed in the story. If the City refuses to stop and undertake an investigation, then her lawyers must take the appropriate steps to stop the process even if CUPE risks being slammed by the Star and their columnists. The County also needs to step up and get the Province involved if needed.

The children and their parents and the impacted employess require immediate action. They are owed it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

$3 Billion Border Fallout

Note to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

$3 Billion for the Ambassador Bridge is a bargain in the end even though it may seem way too high. Your friends haved really hurt you financially.

Grab it while you can. The price just keeps on going higher and higher as time passes and will continue to do so. Heck, it is YOUR DRIC guys who push the price up by keeping on insisting that bridge traffic will double. That in itself is worth a fortune for the Bridge valuation. It doubles revenues after all and that increases the price.

Oh, you are stuck, PM. The DRIC guys have no choice now. If they claim that volumes will never reach that number, then why do you need a DRIC bridge at all?

You cannot win.

You do need to tell John Baird to pause a minute in giving out goodies to taxpayers and control his staff. They are causing all kinds of valuation issues for you:

  • "But a spokesman for Transport Minister John Baird [James Kusie] says...the government remains committed to the building of a new bridge, as additional capacity is needed to support the anticipated growth in border traffic.

    Officials have been working for years to add capacity at the world's busiest border crossing, now served by the current bridge and a tunnel that runs under the river."

  • "Mark Butler, spokesman for Transport Canada, said he was very limited in what information he could release...

    The statement added that the Canadian government does still see a need for a second span between Detroit and Windsor.

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

They may be singing from the same songbook but it is those royalties that will cost you big time, PM.

The fallout from the laughable story about Canada wanting to buy a Ambassador Bridge is happening much more quickly than I thought possible.

No one wants to be associated with it now because it proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that DRIC was nothing more than a means by which the Governments want to force the Bridge Company out of business at a very cheap price.

Man, those lawsuits will be very interesting now. I wonder how good people's memories will be under oath with a risk of jail for perjury. Does that help explain why certain people decided to "move on?"

Did you see this Windsor Star story:

  • "Second bridge a 'priority,' west-end activist says"

I actually sent the reporter a note asking the reporter why he also did not do a story:

  • "Second bridge a 'fraud,' south-Windsor Blogger says"

Mary Ann Cuderman is always good for an anti-Moroun quote. It probably will take time for her and the other West End Activists and politicos to figure out that Canada made fools of them since, in effect, they have said by their offer that the ideal crossing location is right beside the existing Bridge.

All of the so-called negatives of an enhanced Ambassador Bridge crossing were lies if the Government would buy out the bridge. They could not tear it down so obviously they would build a second bridge there. Don't tell me that on top of that they would also spend billions for a competitive DRIC bridge when there is no hope of a huge increase in traffic volumes. No P3 investor would finance it either.

All those DRIC Community meetings at the Holiday Inn for nothing but at least the strawberry tarts were good, when they had them.

The finger-pointing is unbelievable. No one could ever write a movie about all this taking place because no one would believe that it was credible. No government could ever act this way without being thrown out of office by irate taxpayers. Oh, that may happen once this story gets wider circulation.

Let me talk about a number of items in no particular order to demonstrate that no Government should ever be allowed to be in charge of the border crossing. They can’t even run a smear campaign properly.


Is there a conflict of interest law in Michigan that applies to politicians? Are they allowed to be in a conflict of interest position, or an apparent one, without any penalty?

Take Governor Granholm for instance… and I know that a number of Michiganders would say, Please.

Her Hubby was retained by the the City of Windsor to help out with its dysfunctional Mayor and Council a number of years ago yet the City was a proponent on the Border file both as Owner of the Tunnel and as the opponent of the Bridge Company.

She can talk out of both sides of your mouth it seems and say that the Bridge Company Enhancement Project is her number one priority and then a spokesperson says in the Detroit media:

  • "Gov. Jennifer Granholm's "is fully supportive and shares the view that the DRIC must move forward quickly, as both an essential part of our transportation network and as a project that will create thousands of jobs in our state," spokeswoman Megan Brown said."

Does she have the faintest idea what she is saying or does she even care now that she is job-hunting as a term-limited Governor? For something so important to her, there was no word of it in her SOS speech.

What about former Governor Blanchard… does he have a conflict of interest? I would think that he has one now. We learn from the media today that:

  • “James Blanchard who has acted as a consultant for the state of Michigan as well as the governments of Canada and the United States”

I think he has a very serious problem. To whom does he owe his loyalty now that Canada and Michigan are on different sides?

He seems to be extremely knowledgeable about the terms of a possible offer to buy the Bridge

  • “According to Blanchard, no new initiatives on the possible sale have been pushed forward since July…

    Moroun had asked for $3 billion for the Ambassador plus a percentage of the tolls from the Blue Water Bridge and the go-ahead to build a new bridge that would connect Buffalo, N.Y., and Canada, Blanchard said.”

But wait a minute. We were told by Bill Shreck of MDOT that they knew nothing about the dealings going on between Canada and the Bridge Company.

  • "State officials were unaware Monday of discussions regarding a potential Ambassador sale to Canada by Moroun.

    "It's news to us," said Bill Shreck, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Transportation.

    "That's very interesting, but we haven't been privy to any of this. And I'm sure we wouldn't be until it's farther along."

Does that mean that the ex-Governor of Michigan chose to work for Canada and did not tell his other client, the State, what was going on? He was helping Canada end-run Michigan while getting money from Michigan.

And was he hiding a potential Dubai Ports issue from his other client, the US Government, something that could blow up in President Obama's face: Canada buying the most important border land crossing between Canada and the US!

Absolutely unbelievable.

He obviously knew everything but did he tell the State and the Feds anything? In effect, he helped one partner, Canada, undercut the other partners, the US and Michigan if he said nothing.

Is this how things work in the United States? It certainly would not work this way in Canada

But then again, why should anyone take seriously anything that the Ex-Governor has to say anyway:

  • “He emphasized, however, that his comments Tuesday were not on behalf of the Michigan Department of Transportation, the U.S. government or Transport Canada.”

I don’t understand this either. If he wasn’t speaking for anyone then why was he opening up his mouth to be interviewed? He was being put forward by someone to try and close down the embarrassment. He just opened up instead a new can of worms.

I would think that the other Governments who have hired him may want to ask if he may be in a conflict position with them on other aspects of the border file.


We know now that nothing was discussed between the parties since July. so why would the story just come out now? There has to be a reason for it.

  • "For now, talks appear off and have been for some time, people familiar with discussions told the Free Press on Tuesday."

  • "Blanchard said there's been no new movement on the possible sale of the 80-year-old structure since the summer talks.

    "I've checked with Transport Canada and with the Canadian embassy in Washington D.C., and they confirmed that there have been no new initiatives since last July," Blanchard said."

It is clear that this is part of the "Let's discredit Moroun" movement. Make it appear that he is greedy and all that he wants is a huge amount of money and to maintain his powers with no real interest in building a second bridge. That is why he is suing isn't it. To put roadblocks in front of the Governments so they will pay him outrageous sums of money.

Of course, no one knows where that amount came from except from ex-Governor Blanchard who works for all of Moroun's enemies. So we should take what he says as gospel?

However, we know that

  • "On Tuesday, Canadian officials confirmed that they had been in discussions to purchase the Ambassador Bridge from Moroun, but that no offer had been made."

  • "But some said Moroun wanted as much as $3 billion -- even though the cost of a new span would be substantially less. Other people couldn't confirm those accounts, however, and it was in doubt whether Moroun would ever give up the iconic span.

    "The bridge is not up for sale," bridge spokesman Phil Frame said."

  • The Free Press was unable to confirm reports that Moroun asked for $3 billion for the bridge."

But discrediting Moroun is something that DRIC tries all the time so what is happening new now to try and make him appear so bad?

That answer is obvious:

  • "MDOT chief: Time to get moving on a new bridge
    He says enough fighting, wants legislation by June

    Meanwhile, Michigan Transportation Director Kirk Steudle is moving ahead with plans for the new span Downriver, telling Free Press editors and writers Tuesday that he'll press state lawmakers to approve financing for the new bridge by June 1 -- over Moroun's objections.

    Plan for span is still on

    He called for legislation by June 1 that would clear the way for work to begin on the Detroit River International Crossing, or DRIC, about 2 miles south of the Ambassador Bridge, creating thousands of jobs and building what he said is needed capacity at the busiest U.S.-Canada border crossing...

    I believe that the money will be there, both federal as well as private sector," said Joe Corradino, a longtime MDOT consultant. "You could create thousands of jobs and effectively benefit both sides of the border" with little or no initial cost to the state.

    Steudle urged legislators to step up momentum for the DRIC.

    "That's the most significant piece that needs to happen -- and it needs to happen by June 1 -- is the vote by the Legislature to say yes we're going to do this or no we don't," Steudle said."

Come on guys, give it up. Trying to terrorize Moroun just won't work.

Here is the game: If there is no agreement with Moroun to sell, then we need a new DRIC bridge now! That is why Steudle wants P3 legislation by June. Now THAT should pressure Moroun to sell at distress pricing.

As I commented on the Free Press site:

  • "No talks for a long time and then a big leak with a huge amount that Moroun never asked for...why?

    Obviously, another MDOT/Canada ploy to try and show that Moroun is greedy and that no deal can be done with him.

    Quick Legislature, give us by June P3 legislation so we can build a DRIC bridge even though traffic is not there, the P3 market is dead and Michigan cannot afford it.

    Canada's so-called offer just demonstrated that DRIC was a total lie and that the best location for a new bridge is right beside the Ambassador Bridge. DRIC was nothing more than a plot to force Moroun to sell out cheaply.

    Haven't the Governments figured out that he is not afraid of them and that it would be better to work with him since he is the best border operator in North America according to FHWA."


Seriously, why stay around? There won't be much money for road work if MDOT's vision works out. They will have to pay part of the cost for the Moroun Bridge or the US Government will veto it and then MDOT wants this on top:

  • "Steudle said the state is willing to partner with Moroun in managing the new bridge, but public oversight is considered crucial by both governments, who also want the location Downriver so both spans aren't affected by the same emergency situations."

What are we looking at here realistically, $8-10B for both bridges and enormous subsidies for these bridges and the Blue Water Bridge and the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel since traffic is at the 1999 levels. Half at least coming out of MDOT's and the Feds' road budgets

No road work in Michigan for a looooooong time when there is not enough money to do hundreds of projects now.

Oh sure, you doubt me. Then look at how Joe Corradino, a longtime MDOT consultant and DRIC consultant too so he has an interest in this tried to slide one by:

  • "I believe that the money will be there, both federal as well as private sector," said Joe Corradino, a longtime MDOT consultant. "You could create thousands of jobs and effectively benefit both sides of the border" with little or no initial cost to the state."

Hey Joe, it is not the "initial" costs that we are worrying about only, it is the "ongoing" too! And he knows too how the P3 operators will rip off the Governments and users. Take a look at the latest fiancial results from Highway 407 in Toronto


The Michigan Represntative is kind of cute with this remark:

  • "State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who represents the district where the bridge is located, said the sale of the bridge to the Canadians would be a breath of "fresh air," but added she doesn't think it's going to happen...

    "I'm not really sure that this is actually a legitimate move on their part; that they are serious. ... I'm pessimistic about this, but I would be very happy if it happened and people came to me and said, 'I told you so.' "

She just completely discredited herself and proved her opposition to an Enhancement Bridge is not based on facts or to help her constituents but being anti-Moroun.

You see, she is so concerned about health issues in SW Detroit. What has she said mind you about MDOT's DRIC, DIFT and the possibility of a DRTP Rail Tunnel:

  • "I can't believe how many people have health issues," said state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, who grew up in the area and has asked Gov. Jennifer Granholm to order a state study on the cumulative effect of pollution in the area. "Of course poverty is an issue, but something else is going on."

Lots of issues if the Bridge Company has two bridges, especially environmental ones, but no concerns and "fresh air" if the Canadian Government does the exact same thing.

See what I mean Stephen. Do you really understand how ludicrous this all is. You are embarrassing yourself even more than you did in DC when you tried to endrun the President with the Congressional leaders. It really is so hopeless for you that even the Governor General cannot help you out.

Will The Windsor Star Be Banned From City Hall

Things are getting very ugly at City Hall. Apparently people are putting up inappropriate website material.

It must be due to the low morale at City Hall I would suspect. Can you blame employees with the high stress levels there. Dennis Perlin's regime was a picnic by comparison.

Read this, especially the highlighted parts, from the CORPORATE LEADERSHIP TEAM.

Wow, that title in itself scares the bejeebers out of me. It sounds pretty intimidating:
  • From: CAO Office
    Sent: Friday, February 05, 2010 4:22:41 PM
    To: Office of the Chief Administrative Officer; Office of the City Clerk;
    Office of the Chief Financial Officer; Office of the City Engineer;
    Office of the City Solicitor;
    Office of the Community Development & Health Commissioner;
    Office of the Auditor General; Transit Services; Mayor's Office;
    Local 543; Local 82; Fire Association Office
    Subject: Update on Budget and Phase Two Organizational Structure`

    To all City of Windsor Employees:

    ** Please post on internal bulletin boards for the benefit of staff without computer access.

    On Monday night, February 8th, City Council will begin deliberations for the 2010 Budget with a goal of maintaining a zero percent tax increase. As you know, from previous years, this is a challenging task and it could result in service reductions or the implementation of other cost cutting measures. Consideration of the ideas submitted by staff in each department were incorporated where possible into the budget documents prepared for Council review.

    As part of the 2010 Budget deliberations, the Corporate Leadership Team will also present to Council our recommendations for Phase Two of the corporate restructuring initiative. Although it is our intention to be ready to present this information to Council on Monday, we cannot predict how quickly the Operating Budget Committee will complete the budget and restructuring reviews. Therefore we can't guarantee that we will have an update for you on Tuesday, but we can commit to providing that information to you as soon as we do have Council's endorsement of the new organizational structure. We appreciate your patience as we await that approval.

    Phase Two is the last formal step of the corporate restructuring process that was launched last September, 2009 and, when approved, the organizational charts will be shared with all of you. As well, I will soon be meeting with the Senior Management Team who will then be asked to convene meetings with staff to explain any changes to the various organizational structures.

    The financial constraints and resulting decisions that we face are placing stress on many employees and I understand this. However, I would ask each of you, during this challenging time of change, to maintain your professionalism and carry out your duties in the same way the public has come to expect. Unfortunately I have been made aware of a few incidents where inappropriate information has been printed from various websites and posted or placed within the workplace. This type of action has been identified as hurtful or harassing to your colleagues and so I ask you not to do this. I expect that all staff will maintain a Respectful Workplace as outlined in our policy as it is designed to ensure a positive workplace for all of us.

    Your demonstrated care and dedication to the job is acknowledged and I thank for you continuing to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers and our residents. I hope to provide an update to you on the budget and restructuring by early next week.

    On behalf of the Corporate Leadership Team,


    Helga Reidel,

    Chief Administrative Officer

Hmmm, this email seems pretty inappropriate to me. I wonder if it was posted.

However, I immediately thought of the big scandal in Australia

  • "The nation's mortgage holders might have been holding their breath for the Reserve Bank's announcement on interest rates yesterday, but one operative at Macquarie Bank apparently had better things to do. During Channel Seven's live cross to the bank's Shelley Street headquarters for its analysis of the decision, viewers' attention was drawn away from the banker doing the talking, Martin Lakos to his colleague in the background ogling at pictures of a naked woman on his computer screen."

Could this be taking place within the confines of City Hall....ogling and then posting dirty pics from websites?

No, that could not be it. Too tame. This is Sin City after all.

I know that my BLOG and that of other Bloggers in town are printed and distributed to people without PCs at City Hall. Speaking for myself, I know that my BLOGs are written in a very respectful and positive manner so it cannot be mine that are being referred to. Moreover, I am told senior people read my BLOG to find out what is going on there.

What about the BLOGs of Councillors. Nope, Councillor Postma has written nothing since June 29. Sure Alan may write some strong stuff but he also did a powerful BLOG recently telling people to vote in the Monopoly Contest. [Yawn]

Then it hit me "inappropriate information has been printed from various websites...This type of action has been identified as hurtful..." It could mean only one thing: Doug Schmidt's Windsor Star BLOG!

I have Blogged before about some of the horrific postings by Schmidt including his use of the shudder "M" word in relation to the Mayor. Now that was hurtful and inappropriate. In my opinion, that is more than enough to get his BLOG banned from City Hall bulletin boards.

Why try and find Roseann Danese's BLOGS or those of Dave Battagello! They have been banned from the Star website itself so they must have been so inappropriate and hurtful to someone.

To Marty Beneteau...clean up your operation before it is too late. Control those reporters of yours better. Let them know how bad a shape the newspaper industry is and that they should be lucky they still have a job.

After all, Danese, Battagello and now Schmidt, that's three strikes...does the Star want to be "out?"

Windsor Movie Tops Avatar

Boffo box office so far! Five stars beyond any shadow of a doubt.

The Motion Industry groups will NOT like this but a locally made Windsor movie is so wildly popular that it knocked Avatar off the #1 list here. People are bringing portable DVDs to their place of business to show it off to friends and colleagues.

I would not be surprised if the film was nominated for an Oscar or a Golden Globe.

Movie reviewers seem split whether it is a comedy or a tragedy or both so you will have to judge for yourself but it is getting rave reviews. I wonder what Gord and Michele think of it.

The stars of course are Windsorites, and, hrrrumpf, our Council did not want to support a film industry. Some of them are well-known and recognized celebrities around town too. Two of the main characters are local lawyers if you can believe it. The drama between them is rivetting to say the least.

What is fantastic is that clearly a lot of the movie is carefully stage managed but the part that is not, the improvisation part, is the most electrifying. It is filmed cinéma vérité style. You can just feel the tension in the air.

Fortunately, one of the crew members is a fan of this BLOG and I was allowed to have a sneak preview in this short trailer. The best part is the first 54 seconds.

Watch and enjoy.

How good is the film? Just ask the Mayor. It is so good that Edgar (aka Eddie) was running around the in camera meeting room last Monday playing the movie on his portable DVD player for whomever he could drag over to watch it.

Now I think I know the real reason why the Council meeting was 45 minutes late in starting. Edgar wanted to ensure that everyone in the room saw it.

For some reason though, he stopped it at the 25 second mark I was told and then went off muttering:
  • "Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis, who chaired Thursday's waste management meeting, said he attempted to get city council to defer a decision on the fate of Tecumseh and Amherstburg daycares, but wasn't successful."

It was to justify something that he saw but no one else did it seems. He just HAD to show it so the Mayor character would not be blamed.

Interestingly, those who played it past that mark right to the end, other Councillors as an example, shook their heads and took a different view saying:

  • "Some Windsor councillors also expressed shock at claims by Mayor Eddie Francis he attempted to get council to defer a decision on the fate of the two county daycares, but wasn’t successful.

    Francis told reporters Thursday he attempted to get council to defer a decision on Tecumseh and Amherstburg’s daycares.

    “I was surprised to hear that,” said Coun. Drew Dilkens. “That was the first I heard of his being interested in deferral for those locations. The support would have been there if he actually put that motion forward.”

    Several councillors said it was Dilkens who lobbied for a deferral to allow for a special meeting this month with the county."

Edgar obviously mixed up the actors playing Windsor's Mayor and Councillor Lewenza because it was the Councillor who sought deferral to involve the County twice.

No wonder so many people want to see the movie for themselves. They want to know the truth.

Can you imagine if the Director could only have put these famous movie lines in the film somehow:

  • You want answers?
  • I think I'm entitled.
  • You want answers?!
  • I want the truth!
  • You can't handle the truth!

Now that's entertainment!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Random Thoughts

Here are some ideas for you


Every year now the same drama is played out over and over again. Windsor should become Groundhog Day The Movie Capital of the world. There are the countless meetings of the Mayor and Council going line-by-line through the Administration budget, the pain and agony until victory is reached. All the while they are laughing at us.

Of course we have been deceived. As if high taxes are the norm, that success is a 0% tax increase (oh forget about levies and high Utility costs that give the City "tax" money through the back door) and tax cutting...heaven forbid.

We are being trained NOT to ask for our money back, to allow our politicans to use every penny we give them as if it is their God-given right to spend it on whatever mind's eye vision they can dream up next.

And there is the Messenger not only helping out but congratulating them for screwing us royally. The Windsor Star really has become a crummy newspaper as far as I am concerned.

Let me give you another small example from good old Mini-Gord. This guy is a gold-mine for Bloggers.

He writes:
  • "City gains from debt discipline

    On Feb. 19 the final $18.3 million payment comes due on Windsor's new arena and community playground, the WFCU Centre.

    And yes, Windsor is good for the cheque.

    Thanks to the "pay-as-you-go" financing regime adopted by city council in 2002 (at the urging of former treasurer Roman Martiuk -- thank you, wherever you are), Windsor taxpayers will own the $72.1-million recreation complex free and clear."

Unfortunately, he is a**-backwards on his view of that financial concept. Doesn't the Star have fact checkers who have access to their own story archives?

It is completely wrong but it provides the justification for us being ripped off. Just read the following and understand why taxes are so high:

  • "Windsor Star 11-30-2001

    City treasurer Roman Martiuk was reluctant to provide details on how the money will be spent because a comprehensive report is being prepared for budget deliberations, which begin next week.

    But he said the money is coming at an opportune time as the city attempts to lower its debt. City council has already adopted a "pay as you go" strategy introduced by Martiuk that relies less on lease financing and short-term borrowing...

    Council has approved Martiuk's debt management strategy, which includes phasing out short-term, five-year debt -- which used to be taken out for infrastructure projects like fixing roads.

    The policy limits debt to the financing of large one-time expenditures for long-life assets over $10 million -- such as a new arena."

DUH don't use pay-as-you-go for huge projects like an arena.

Oh joy, we saved money on interest but the City took it out of our pocket-books! Taxpayers in effect financed the arena as if we were the City's Bank and did NOT charge a penny of interest. We suffered.

Remember this BLOG [October 09, 2008, Bank Of Windsor Taxpayers Going Broke]:

  • "You will learn that City Hall's "pay as you go" philosophy is great for Administrators. That can keep borrowings down and interest rates lower as the City supposedly becomes financially stronger and fiscally responsible. The problem is that the cash comes right out of the pocket of taxpayers.

    We become the "banker" to the City except we are forced to "give" the politicians the money whether we want to or not. It is taken from us through increased taxes or through games playing like 86% increases in WUC charges and sewer levies. A debt reduction Levy is not really used for debt reduction but rather for "debt avoidance." That means, while we think that our money is being being taken to reduce the amount of our debt, it is not. It is being used on spending programs.

    In some cases, pay as you go makes sense, say for small item purchases. So if you bought a TV set, you really should have the cash rather than pay the outrageous interest rate that stores and credit card companies charge for credit purchases.

    But how many people would buy their house that way? Very few. Most people do not have the money to do so and would take out a mortgage. Even if a person had the money, it would be unlikely that it would all be paid out just for the home since who wants to be "house-poor."

Ok, you say, we suffered a bit. Now that the arena is paid off, we can get tax reductions since in future, we don't have the big payments to make.

Oh are you ever silly. We have just given Edgar a ton of money for him to spend, spend, spend ever year on canals, airport hubs, Zalev brownfield and other mind's eye visions. Think I am fooling, let Henderson tell you that:


    By 2009, when major projects like the Norwich Block fiasco, the city hall welfare tower mistake and the new Huron Lodge at St. Clair College have been paid off, the city will find itself with torrents of money flowing in and no major funding obligations. In 2009 it will have an additional $23.5 million available, in 2010 $36.4 million and in 2011 another $36.4 million."

Now you know why WUC rates keep going up. Replacing sewers is not sexy enough for Edgar so why use the Torrents for them.


It was suggested at least in the 2005 Report where it was said:

  • "The City is still compromised by the community perception that there are some preferred agencies in the know while others are left out, providers feel powerless that changes will be made regardless of their input...

    The City often struggles with communication relying on an "inner circle" of providers who are informed first."

I wonder if that perception is still out there a half a decade later. Are there private daycare centres that have the edge?

Hmmm if Angela Berry is loooking for an audit project, auditing daycare to see where the money went and to whom for the last 5 years might be fun. Better than the arena audit I would think.


So much for local content. Watch for the big US firms to come in thanks to the Conservatives

  • "The crux of the deal will see Canada agree to provide U.S. suppliers with access to a range of construction contracts across Canada's provinces and territories, as well as in a number of municipalities.

    In return, the United States has agreed to provide Canadian suppliers with access to state and local public works projects in a range of programs funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009...

    "(The United States) has won that access for American firms, and I look forward to signing the agreement soon," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement Friday. "For years, U.S. firms have sought market access to Canadian provincial procurement under the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, which Canada resisted."

The only problem from our perspective. It is too late for us:

  • "Washington has already spent much of the nearly US$800 billion that Congress has set aside for stimulus spending. Van Loan said he recognized that, but added: "I am not going to cry over spilled milk in the past, but I am going to be very happy about the opportunities we are securing for the future, which is more jobs for Canadians..."

Canadian officials declined to put a value on this deal, or how much Canadian companies stand to gain."

No wonder!


About the Mayor's wildly successful trip to Coventry, England, here is how it was reported by the Coventry newspaper

  • "Coventry Telegraph
    Ties are key for business
    Feb 5 2010

    TIES between Coventry and a Canadian city have been strengthened – which could lead to increased business between the two, according to local leaders.

    Eddie Francis, the Mayor of Windsor, Ontario, along with business leaders from the city visited Coventry as part of a brief tour of the UK.

    The delegation from Coventry’s twin city visited the headquarters of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in Binley and a return trip has been arranged for June this year."

Wow, was that it? A nice stop with some friendly people to arrange an exchange? Use SKYPE next time. It is has video too and is free.

UPDATE: Canada's Trial Balloon Popped

Whoever dreamed up floating a story that Canada wanted to buy the Ambassador Bridge better look for a new job.

That went over like a lead balloon.

It completely undermined Canada's DRIC position and destroyed the rationale created at a cost of $60M or so that created the lies that kicked out the Bridge Company from building a new crossing. It merely proved that the Bridge Company's location was best and that Canada is running the show to put Moroun out of business so that he would sell out cheaply.

I still do not understand its purpose unless it was to tell Moroun in advance how much Canada would pay and nothing more. I guess whoever is Canada's negotiator is too petrified to meet Moroun face-to-face with an insulting offer.

Time to put the story to bed before it causes any irreparable damage:
  • "Spokesman for fed transport minister says no offer made for Ambassador Bridge

    WINDSOR, Ont. — Transport Canada confirms it has held talks with the owner of the Ambassador Bridge, which spans the Detroit River to connect Windsor, Ont., with Detroit.

    But a spokesman for Transport Minister John Baird says no offer has been made to buy the bridge from Manuel (Matty) Moroun.

    James Kusie says in an email the government has had discussions on a variety of topics with Moroun, but won't comment on the details."

I wonder what brilliant idea Canada will come up with next.

The Government Mind

Honest, bureaucrats don't think the way we do. They have their own value system, thought process and sense of logic. They cannot understand us and we cannot understand them.

We are two ships passing in the night

The "Buy the Bridge" story is a terrific example of this.

Just look at some of the things that Government people are saying in these two stories and wonder why we are entrusting them with our tax money and our future. It's scary.

  • "Canada offers to buy Ambassador Bridge

    Bill Shreck, director of communications for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said MDOT had only heard about the offer late Monday.

    "We didn't know anything about the offer, nor should we since you negotiate in private," Shreck said.

    "It's an interesting proposition, though."

Errr uhhh, Bill, didn't MDOT and Transport Canada just issue an RFPOI

  • "asking private investors if they'd like a piece of the action when it comes to the proposed Detroit River International Crossing."

Don't you think that Canada's action to buy the Ambassador Bridge might just undercut your partnership? It makes the RFPOI irrelvant don't you think. If they got the Bridge, then they would pull out of DRIC wouldn't they? Why would they need two separate bridge sytems?

And MDOT did not know about it? Come on Bill, that is a huge slap in the face. Is that how partners act towards each other.....oh I forgot, that is what MDOT did to its partner, the Ambassador Bridge Company and you are being sued about it.

But then again the Governor did that to Canada too when she pulled the downriver crossings off the table.

Karma. Even/Steven. That is how Governments act normally I guess...sucking people in and then screwing them!

Oh boy, the Government partnership is falling apart fast. And what will the US President and Congress say to the Michigan Governor when they figure out that Canada is no different than DP World, a foreign state-owned company that wanted to buy six major US ports. Here a foreign government directly wants to take over the major North American land border crossing as part of a plan to dominate the import and export of goods to the US.

How will Jenny get a new job now? She is term-limited. Who would hire her after this fiasco? Poor Bill, his work will be cut out for him then.


  • "Transport Canada offers to buy Ambassador Bridge linking Ontario to Michigan

    WINDSOR, Ont. — Transport Canada confirms it has been in talks to buy the Ambassador Bridge, which spans the Detroit River to connect Windsor, Ont., with Detroit.

    There's no word on a price that would be paid to the current owner, Manuel (Matty) Moroun.

    If it is successful in buying the bridge, Transport Canada says it would have no impact on plans for a new bridge down river at Brighton Beach.

    The federal government has purchased 38 hectares of land from the city of Windsor, at a cost of $34 million, to help build a new six-lane bridge.

    Officials have been working for years to add capacity at the world's busiest border crossing, now served by the current bridge and a tunnel that runs under the river."

So let me get this right. The Ambassador Bridge was kicked out of the DRIC process even though its location was the best because it would destroy Sandwich. But now the Government wants to buy the old bridge for several billion dollars and then what? I guess Canada would build a new one beside it and rehabilitate the old one thereby resulting in the destruction of Sandwich.

Rest assured everyone, Canada will still go forward and help build the DRIC bridge too.

Since Canada has to be seen not to screw its partner, Canada and MDOT will spend multi-billons on the new DRIC bridge and plaza which will destroy Delray. After all, Canada has to justify paying about 7 times what the land is worth at Brighton Beach: $34M for land worth maybe $5M.

Considering that traffic numbers are down to the 1999 levels, so what capacity problem is there, and that up to 75% of the border traffic will go to the new DRIC bridge, the Canadian Government Ambassador Bridge will either go bankrupt or the Government will have to subsidize it.

Considering that traffic numbers are down to the 1999 levels and that there is not enough traffic for two bridges, then the two Governments' DRIC Bridge will either go bankrupt or the Governments will have to subsidize it.

Of course, operating costs will be double with 2 locations each handling a low amount of volume but I bet no one has thought of that.

No matter which way it goes taxpayers on both sides of the border are being fleeced.

And P3 you think anyone will be interested in overpaying for competing bridges where toll revenues will never cover costs.

This makes no sense to me. No business person using their own money would ever contemplate such idiocy. No normal mind would ever do this.

Wait, I forgot. I am dealing with unaccountable bureaucrats dealing with an unlimited source of money: taxpayer cash.

I am so foolish. They are acting absolutely fairly and even-handedly in their own world.

Oh I get it now...the Governments want to be equitable, neither side should suffer more than the other. Spend gagillions of taxpayer dollars for 2 bridge systems that will never be needed or be financially successful and then wipe out a community on each side of the river.

Government logic. I understand!

Manipulating The Star Forums

I am so sick and tired about people complaining that the Star does not post their notes on the Star forums or that the Star censors them or is one-sided in what they post or that comments are planted or not real .

Especially from those whiny CUPE supporters who always [expletive deleted].

Let me show you what I posted and when and what I saw when I submitted my note. I want to end this controversy once and for all.

I posted a comment on the story "Feds to ponder purchase of Ambassador Bridge" in the name of JoeBlog at 4:12 PM. Here it is:
  • "JoeBlog
    4:12 PM on February 9, 2010

    Harper personally has tried at least 3 times to discuss the Windsor/Detroit border with US Presidents Bush and Obama and has been rebuffed.

    If this 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 their 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.

    This all started in 2002 and we are no further ahead and in fact we are worse off since there have been lawsuits started that will take a decade to finish.

    By the time this is over, the bridge will become a symbol of our worsening relationship with the US--remember NAFTAgate--- and could become our next softwood lumber dispute.

    Check out windsorcityblog's latest posting re "Border Vindication" to understand this better."

I did see it online for a few minutes but when I checked later it was missing for some reason.

But when it was submitted, guess what else I saw. Two other comments that are still posted there. Notice their times please

  • "4:36 PM on February 9, 2010


    Infrastucture of the magnitude of the Ambassador Bridge is often referred to as a natural monopoly and as such public owner ship is not unusual.

    A public private partnership would be in the North American publics best interest."

And take a look at this one

  • 4:44 PM on February 9, 2010

    REALITY !!!

    Any crossing between Canada and the USA should be owned by the people and should not be in private hands. Despite what we are conditioned to think, not everything that is privately owned is " better". The Ambassador bridge is the only privately owned crossing, but still charges the highest tolls. The government should than can lower tolls for people and trade crossing this bridge which will be a win win situation for everyone. For once, its time to put people before profits, as we can see this profit before anything else menality has nearly driven Canada and the USA into bankruptcy and has ruined the lives of millions over the last several years."
I made a copy of this and emailed it to myself to keep a reord.

How can this be? Two comments timed after my 4:12 PM comment all of a sudden appearing when mine was submitted at 4:12 PM. And then mine disappearing.

I somehow for a few minutes was able to see the future. It must have been some freakish time-warp that I thought only appeared in Sci-Fi movies, not in real life. If only I had submitted a comment on the Lottery....I might have seen the winning numbers in advance too. {sigh}.

Wow, do you think those CUPE supporters might be on to something after all!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Border Vindication

DRIC has seemed to me for the longest time to be a phony. A pressure play!

Now we know it don't we. Admit it. What Matty Moroun and Dan Stamper have been saying all along is true. They have been vilified for telling us what the bureaucrats and the four Governments did not want us to know.

I feel totally vindicated now as well. Absolutely and completely. My “conspiracy theory” is accurate about what the border file is all about. Here is what was written in the National Post last night and rewritten in the Star today:
  • “It has been estimated that it would take an estimated 75% of the truck traffic that uses the existing bridge. That prospect may persuade Mr. Moroun to take another look at any federal offers to buy the Ambassador…

    Government pressure on 81-year-old Mr. Moroun to give up the fight has increased of late.”

You mean the Government has been applying pressure, say since as long as the late 1990’s after they supposedly settled the Bridge matter forever over FIRA or maybe even for the last 50 years to take over the Bridge and at a bargain basement price! Do you mean that Bill C-3, the International Bridges and Tunnels Act, really was directed at them to pressure them? What a surprise.

At least you, dear reader, as a loyal reader, are way ahead of everybody else in knowing that the DRIC bridge was nothing more than part of an attempt by the Canadian Government to force the owner of the Ambassador Bridge to sell out cheaply.

I was sitting at my computer last night trying to figure out what I should write about and then all of a sudden I received an e-mail about a National Post story.

  • "Ottawa mulls buying Windsor-Detroit Ambassador Bridge

    Stephen Harper has instructed his ministers to explore the prospect of buying the Windsor-Detroit bridge -- the busiest international border crossing in North America -- from its American owner.

    Lawrence Cannon, the Foreign Minister, said buying the bridge from the private sector is one option being examined. "My understanding is that the file is progressing and there are options being looked at," he said"

I literally almost fell out of my chair when I saw it. I could not believe it. What I have been arguing was proven true after all.

I am certain that we will learn a lot more over the next few weeks about what is really going on. However, I find it shocking that this story would appear in the media at this time, especially if there are sensitive negotiations going on that might lead to the Government of Canada buying the Ambassador Bridge.

There are all whole bunch of thoughts that immediately arose in my mind that I wanted to point out in this BLOG:


Who in their right mind would finance this new DRIC Bridge with Moroun's competition or even take over Matty's Bridge.

We know now that the Government values Matty's bridge at least at $1.5B so that is the minimum price. Let's add on a billion for a negotiated price since DRIC has been telling us that traffic volumes will double (and who can argue against those geniuses) and another billion for a new bridge beside the Ambassador Bridge. We are at $3.5B easily that some P3 operator would have to fork out in advance.

No one is going to do that without sky high tolls which will chase business away. Look at how David Bradley of OTA whined about the Blue Water Bridge toll increase. Alternatively there will have to be Government subsidization which means taxpayers pay.

Yes, Michigan taxpayers are going to be thrilled to pay for the border bridge rather than their highways. So will road contractors who will not have work since Michigan can't pay for road projects now!

No wonder we saw the stories about alternative methods of payments instead of tolls. And these people are looking after our tax money.


It could be the Bridge Company but I doubt it. They have a reputation of being pretty secretive with respect to their business dealings so I doubt that they would publicize it so the whole world could know what was going on. I especially doubt that they would throw out numbers either.

I would expect in addition that if the Bridge Company was going to do leaking then the source that they would use would be the Windsor Star or a Detroit paper because I would doubt that even the Bridge Company has the clout to get the National Post interested in the story.

I am shocked that the story was not leaked to Today's Trucking first as has been done many times before. This has to be a BIG story then.

The most obvious Leakor is the Government of Canada. After all, whose name appeared other than that of the Prime Minister and the Former Minister of Transport and now Foreign Minister, Lawrence Cannon right at the beginning. I certainly am surprised that John Baird’s name was not mentioned since this is his file but that suggests that he might be the one who is negotiating on behalf of the Government given his close relationship with the PM.

Or is he still too involved in giving out infrastructure election goodies!

Oh, and why did it come first through the National Post? Who is their Chairman at financially troubled Canwest and remember what I have Blogged about him before!

Geez, at least try and make this a challenge.


Let us assume that the Government leaked the story. It is pretty clear from the quote below isn't it. Why would they do so?

Certain sums of money were set out in the story, again leading me to believe that it was not the Bridge Company who leaked the story:

  • “One insider said the government has approached Mr. Moroun in the past and been told the asking price is $3-billion -- roughly twice the government's valuation.”

To me, revealing amounts is designed to discredit Moroun. What you are to take from the story is that he is not interested in building another bridge. Rather, it is all about the money and how much he can squeeze out of the Canada. Demonize him again...that has been Caanda's strategy for some time.

It has not worked before so try again.

Seriously, if that is Moroun’s asking price, he better get Edgar (aka Eddie) to negotiate for him. Only asking for twice the value is peanuts! I hardly see why the Government would be concerned about a price that is only twice what they think the Bridge is worth when they paid so much money, $34 million, to the City of Windsor for land at Brighton Beach that is only worth $5 million.


As the story sets out:

  • “Government pressure on 81-year-old Mr. Moroun to give up the fight has increased of late. Last Friday, he lost a major court battle with the Michigan government that ordered the bridge owner to demolish his newly constructed duty free store and gas pumps on the Detroit side, after the judge concluded the company violated government agreements and illegally built the structures on city property.”

Someone in the Government needs a lesson in Court Procedure. This was nothing but a Summary Judgement in a lower court which was a decision without a trial that will no doubt go to Appeal! It was hardly a major victory. Someone over-reacted in Ottawa.

As the Free Press story on border lawsuits pointed out:

  • “MDOT Resident Engineer Victor Judnic, who helped plan Gateway, suggested that a ruling on any of the suits in any courtroom won't necessarily end anything.

    "They'll appeal, we'll appeal," he said.”


Poor Governor Granholm. Even now, Canada just won’t leave her alone, even as a lame-duck Guv of Michigan. They really are insulting her as they have done over the last few years, ever since she tossed out the downriver communities as the landing spot for a new bridge for her political purpose of being re-elected.

Can you believe this. Poor MDOT is being sued for breach of partnership by the Bridge Company since MDOT has beeen working with Canada and now MDOT’s DRIC partner, Canada, has being doing things behind MDOT’s back without telling them anything. What a farce:

  • “Another partner in the DRIC team is the state government of Michigan. It was unaware on Monday of any discussion regarding a potential Ambassador sale by Mr. Moroun.

    "It's news to us," said Bill Shreck, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Transportation. "That's very interesting, but we haven't been privy to any of this. And I'm sure we wouldn't be until it's farther along."

What a bunch of fools in that Department! I wonder what the Legislators will have to say about a Department that wants to spend billions but which has no clue what is going on. They are helping Canada thwart the Governor’s #1 border priority yet they are not in the loop.

No wonder I argued that the Guv should clean house before she leaves office. They have embarrassed her.


What clearer indication is there than this story! DRIC’s purpose was to terrorize the Bridge Company owner to sell out before he was forced out of business:

  • “However, the government received environmental approval for the new Detroit River International Crossing in December and the Ambassador Bridge's annual $60-million toll revenue would be badly hit if the new crossing was built. It has been estimated that it would take an estimated 75% of the truck traffic that uses the existing bridge. That prospect may persuade Mr. Moroun to take another look at any federal offers to buy the Ambassador. "

Think about it. Canada would “mull” buying the Bridge notwithstanding:

  •  The plaza required for the new bridge would wipe out Sandwich
  •  The DRIC road is being designed to go to the new DRIC bridge
  •  Land has already been bought for the new plaza
  •  The secondary off-site inspection facilities are supposedly not the ideal for CBSA
  •  There are security and redundancy problems having bridges side-by-side
  •  "construction would occur in close proximity to neighbourhoods on both sides of the border -- one reason why the DRIC project would instead be constructed in industrial corridor away from residents." [Geez, Delray really does not count at all!]
  •  And so on, and so on and so on

Those excuses which were used to exclude the Bridge Company as the ideal crossing were all lies. They always intended to build a twinned bridge as they did in Sarnia/Port Huron and as is being proposed in Fort Erie/Buffalo.


  • "He added the government's first choice would be to pursue development of a new publicly owned bridge, the Detroit River International Crossing, down river from the Ambassador Bridge. But he said that deal is complicated by the involvement of state governments in the United States. "No decision has been taken on what specific option to take," he said."

Does Michigan know that they are a complication? What other state is involved? Why has it taken Canada so long to understand this? How can Cannon shoot off his mouth like this without bursting out into laughter or having the reporter do it? And the readers too!

  • "The government remains committed to the building of a new (DRIC) bridge between Windsor and Detroit, as additional capacity is needed along this corridor to support the anticipated growth in broader [sic]traffic...

    Michigan will still support construction of the government crossing regardless of what transpires with Mr. Moroun's bridge, he said.

    "It's never been about a specific crossing -- it's about a border system. Detroit-Windsor needs more capacity now and in the future in order to maximize jobs because of its unique location as a conduit to move goods internationally."

Lord, how long will we hear about capacity when volumes are at the 1999 levels and worse.


The Government thought they could steal the bridge for about half a billion dollars! Why else did they set aside in the Budget $400M supposedly for the DRIC Road. It was the amount they reserved for the time Moroun wanted out.

After the 2 1/2 page Globe and Mail spread, they must have known that Moroun did not want to sell out. They had to suspect that the price that they ultimately would have to pay to Moroun and his son--who they said would sell out in a New York minute--would have to be substantially higher. They had to justify spending that kind of money.

How do you do it and not look as if you were taken to the cleaners:

  • "The federal government has been involved in the proposed $5-billion Detroit River International Crossing -- a bi-national government effort to build a competing crossing, plazas and feeder highways about two kilometres downriver from Mr. Moroun's bridge."

If you can do it for the price of $3B plus the cost of a "cheap" DRIC road, why then they are financial geniuses as well as controlling the border for trade. Unfortunately, Matty's number has probably just increased too.


I told you that the CTV interview where the US Ambassador to Canada was blind-sided over DRIC would have consequences.

The news story confirmed that Canada really wants to control US border crossings as I have Blogged so many times before.

It is the Dubai ports all over again. Can the Canadian Government be any more stupid? Leak the story and then face the American reaction. Are they truly that dumb? Is Michael Wilson still round?

Again, as I have predicted, the fuss over the Ambassador Bridge will become the test case for our relationship with the US as was softwood lumber.


Again confirmation about what Governor Granholm said about Canada blocking the Bridge Company from moving forward:

  • "We need another crossing. If Canada, and if Canada would allow Matty Moroun to do it, I think everybody would be in favor of that as the first priority. They are opposed to his bridge... So until Canada gives permission, he can’t build a bridge that’s halfway across the river."

Confirmation again that their crossing was Number 1 but for the DRIC lies

  • "Mr. Moroun has his own proposal on the table to build a twin span in order to avoid losing the financial stranglehold he has held for decades at the Detroit-Windsor border. That proposal has been stalled in environmental red tape since construction would occur in close proximity to neighbourhoods on both sides of the border -- one reason why the DRIC project would instead be constructed in industrial corridor away from residents."


Go back and check out my BLOG September 10, 2009 BLOGextra: Why The Feds Don't Want Matty Around

It is explained graphically by Lufthansa of all people.

Clearly, Moroun should now ask for more, a lot more, if Canada wants his bridge so badly! And why not? Canada's leak shows their desperation. Except he probably will NOT sell out. Why should he? He built it to become the #1 border crossing. The Bridge is his icon. Transport Canada was right about that. Nor will his son. They have under-estimated him badly.

Obviously, they are business people too as the Globe story pointed out. If the price is right....but it will have to be a big price.

And who has to take the hit for him asking for more? Why no one else than the Senior Level's bestest buddy, Mayor Edgar Francis of Windsor. No wonder that Edgar is being bad-mouthed by the Senior Levels even more now. They don't need him any longer. He is done. Watch the Star start to go after him soon. The "M" word was the first indication of that.

Edgar (aka Eddie) gave it all away in the Schwartz report when Gridlock Sam's Socialist-type musing brought the Blue Water Bridge into play.

  • "Balanced Traffic between Blue Water Crossing and Windsor-Detroit Crossings

    Developing a balanced traffic network between the Sarnia-Port Huron and Detroit-Windsor Crossings would provide benefits without a new crossing but would be compatible with any of the new crossings... It sets aside the profit-motive, which means each facility is competing for the most traffic, with a utilitarian-motive: the greatest good for the greatest number. Such a scheme may require revenue sharing among participants."

That could never happen unless Moroun operated both crossings or he was bought out and a "private" P3 operator ran both.

There was no reason for Sam to say what he did other than for Edgar to point at it in the future and to let everyone know what a genius he was. Except he gave the Government plot away to Moroun years ago!

If the Governments want one private operator to run both crossings, then it may as well be Moroun since he has the track record of being best border operator between Canada and the US. I bet he could figure out a way to make that bridge work without destroying Port Huron!

Throw in Minister of Finance Flaherty's asset review of the Blue Water Bridge and Dwight Duncan's Gong show faux pas that told us nothing would happen until 2010 and you know why all hell is breaking loose now.

And we may as well throw in something into the pot involving Buffalo/Fort Erie because Moroun wants to build a bridge there too. Something will have to be done there as well.

Oooops, I almost forgot Edgar's ridiculous $75M Tunnel proposal and how Canada tried to stop Moroun's Tunnel deal and 200 Customs booth concept. It was all part of this too. So much for shared border management and why it really failed.

Oh these Government guys are so smart, their plans so complicated, nothing is easy. The initials prove it all: DRTP, DRIC, DIFT, TC, FHWA, MTO, TC, BIIG, DWT, EA, DEIS.

Don't they understand as Moroun does, since it is HIS money that is at stake, that it is as easy as 123, do-re-mi.

In fact, it is as simple as ABC!

Declaring a Pecuniary Interest

Think it is easy being an Integrity Commish. All open and shut stuff. Hardly. Read on and let's see what you would say if asked to give a ruling.

The declaration of pecuniary interest is what is done at the beginning of a Council meeting so that a Member of Council will not be in violation of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.

I am going to pretend to teach you, dear reader, a course on "conflicts" for Integrity Commishes and give an exam on the subject by showing videos of Windsor's Mayor and 2 Councillors making their declarations.

You will of course be tested on what they did to see if they complied with the Act and be graded on your results accordingly. Let's see if YOU would make a worthy Commish!

Here are the relevant statutory legal and other obligations to keep in mind:

Section 1

"interest in common with electors generally” means a pecuniary interest in common with the electors within the area of jurisdiction and, where the matter under consideration affects only part of the area of jurisdiction, means a pecuniary interest in common with the electors within that part"

Section 4

4. Section 5 does not apply to a pecuniary interest in any matter that a member may have,

(j) by reason of the member having a pecuniary interest which is an interest in common with electors generally

Section 5

5. (1) Where a member, either on his or her own behalf or while acting for, by, with or through another, has any pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, in any matter and is present at a meeting of the council or local board at which the matter is the subject of consideration, the member,

(a) shall, prior to any consideration of the matter at the meeting, disclose the interest and the general nature thereof;

(b) shall not take part in the discussion of, or vote on any question in respect of the matter; and

(c) shall not attempt in any way whether before, during or after the meeting to influence the voting on any such question

Here are some relevant provisions of the Council Code of Conduct that deal with Conflicts that incorporate the Bellamy Inquiry Recommendations – Ethics:


20. Rules about conflicts of interest and apparent conflicts of interest should form part of the City’s codes of conduct.

21. Councillors and staff should be made aware that it is unacceptable for them to act on a matter in which they have either a real or an apparent conflict of interest.

22. Councillors and staff should take steps to avoid as best they can both real and apparent conflicts of interest. For assistance, they should seek the guidance of the office of the integrity commissioner.

A big hint: note especially that "apparent" conflicts are just as much a No-No as are "real" ones. Of course, that is one of the issues for the Commish to decide that I raised in my Complaint to Mr. Basse


Listen to what she said

What did she do that some might not think of until it was raised in the Jones matter? It should be easy to answer now.

Notice that she confirmed that "apparent" conflicts are a problem in Windsor so there can be no argument about it. The Mayor confirmed it as well since he accepted her declaration. Did you get that for one mark?

Howver, take a look at the Act to see what she forgot to mention.

Did you catch as well that the Mayor made an error too? He forgot to remind the Councillor about something that he should have as Chair of the meeting.

Yup, if you said it revolved around forgetting to mention "the general nature thereof" give yourself a passing grade. Why did she recuse herself? What was the reason? Enquiring minds want to know.

If you recall, even Edgar (aka Eddie), and he IS a lawyer, seemed to have made that mistake on a Tunnel meeting and again at this session so we ought not to get too angry at the Councillor. It took several notes from me to find out finally that his general nature thereof had to do with Mr. Taqtaq.


Listen very carefully since he speaks quickly and tell me if there is an issue:

The Mayor's daughter attends private daycare. The Mayor made the bald assertion that he had received legal advice that he had no pecuniary interest and so he could participate in the debate. Did he tell us what was the basis of that advice? If he did not, why not? Was he required to do so?

Obviously, if Municipal daycare ends, then private daycare benefits. Private owners can make more money, get more customers and increase profits. It could also be, because of better economies of scale, costs might even be reduced.

425 new students placed in private daycare could be a life saver.

Remember what I Blogged before:

  • "Daycare operators worried

    Owners of daycares and Montessori schools are concerned that the province's new full-day kindergarten option will cause a significant drop in business at private-sector child care centres...

    That could be bad news for people like Julie Roy, who owns three Montessori schools in the area.

    "People are just seeing free daycare," she said, of parents who may opt to save on fees at her schools by enrolling children in kindergarten.

    "Competing with free is impossible..."

    Roy fears if there's a mass exodus of older children from her schools to kindergarten, her business simply won't be viable."
One mark if you can explain if that is a pecuniary interest or not.

Let us assume that the Mayor may well be right that there is no "real" pecuniary interest involved but what about "apparent?"

For a bonus mark, consider this pecuniary declaration by the Mayor in another case. Explain the distinction if you can between merely being a homeowner in the area thereby declaring an interest and having a family member in daycare where there could be an impact and not declaring an interest:

For his second reason the Mayor's comment was that he need not be concerned because if there was an interest deemed, the interest would be the interest which would be the same as with all citizens affected by the Motion generally.

Is that what the Act says where it talks about "by reason of the member having a pecuniary interest which is an interest in common with electors generally?"

Remember also Section 1 which talks about an area: "a pecuniary interest in common with the electors within the area of jurisdiction."

For another mark, give your reasons why the Mayor is right or wrong in what he said. Hint: can the Act be interpreted so narrowly as to mean only people impacted by a Council Motion. Does that make sense because doesn't it mean that he has a pecuniary interest since he is limiting the "area" to only those people who are concerned with the subject-matter.


Now this "pecuniary interest" is a real toughie. Only the top students will be able to figure this one out. Do not worry though, I will bring in expert help to give you some clues. Listen hard to what the Councillor says since the audio is not the best:

Congrats to the Councillor's family member for getting a job recently at PCR.

Hmmm, wait a minute...That Company name sounds familiar. Didn't that Company build the East End arena? Wasn't Councillor Brister Chair of the WFCU Centre Steering Committee that oversaw the project? Their function was:

  • The Steering Committee is responsible for:

    --Review progress reports on construction activity & monitor performance
    --Review monthly financial report of budget vs. actual expenditures
    --Recommend changes to City Council as needed in respect of total budget
    --Address any issue that has major implications to the success of project
    --Recommend to City Council the financing strategy for the project
    --Recommend to City Council the overall operating strategy - post completion
    --Ensure all City by-laws (including the Purchasing By-Law are adhered to
    --Approve and recommend to City Council a comprehensive public relations / communications plan.

It looks like the final meeting of that Committee took place on September 14, 2009. Therefore the hiring of the family member took place some time within 4 1/2 months of the completion of the project presumably since it was recent although the Councillor did not reveal the exact date.

Oh Dave, what a can of worms you have just opened up. Doesn't he see the obvious political problem especially if he wants to run for Mayor if Edgar does not run? Dave of all people, the former Chair of STOPDRTOP, the guy who should be so conscious of this type of issue. Two marks if you can identify the concern!

Do you see the issue? Is it real or apparent? Or is there one at all?

Stumped? You don't see it. OK, bring in the expert help, Gord Henderson.

Here is what he wrote about a similar matter, granted not identical, involving former Mayor Mike Hurst who took a job with DRTP within 6 weeks after leaving Office. In this case, it is much tougher and not as direct. It involves a family member taking a job with a Company over which the Councillor had oversight in a controversial multi-million dollar transaction within 4 1/2 months of project end.

Can Gord's remarks be used as a precedent? How do these comments apply to this situation if they apply at all:

  • "Mike Hurst is an honourable man. No question about that. But nobody would have understood better than he the city's game plan in resisting the DRTP and the nine-point plan to turn the E.C. Row and an extended Lauzon Parkway into a continental truck route...

    It boggles the mind that the individual who ignited resistance to the DRTP is now a DRTP super salesman attempting to persuade Windsorites to accept what many of us view as the unacceptable."

  • "Instead, if he takes the DRTP job, it will raise troubling questions about the appropriateness of an individual who's only weeks removed from the city's most powerful position joining a corporate player in the most controversial high-stakes duel in Windsor's history."

  • "I'm happy Hurst has found work and will be able to put bread on the table at his Southwood Lakes hacienda. But jeesh. I just wish it was a job that didn't put him back on the razor's edge of a fight that will further polarize this community and arouse venomous passions. People close to him tell me he could have had rewarding positions with either the CAW or the University of Windsor that would have kept him out of the limelight."

  • "Hey, I'm as interested as the next person in seeing that kids don't go hungry. But I suspect many of the same folks who have no qualms about Hurst's employment choice would go ballistic if they read headlines about a cabinet minister leaving government to join a corporation that was lobbying to overcome government resistance to its plans."

  • "Councillor Caroline Postma gave notice this week that she's drafting a "post-employment code of conduct" that will feature a one-year cooling off period before city politicians or senior officials can take a job with a company that has current contracts with the city or is a major proponent in any infrastructure project over which the city is perceived as having control.

    "It's way too late to deal with him (Hurst) and that's a shame," said Postma. "I was amazed at what's lacking in terms of accountability for city politicians."

  • "A gaping hole in provincial legislation allowed Mike Hurst to go from ruling Windsor with an iron fist to being the hired gun of a powerful corporation pushing a mega-bucks deal that the city strenuously opposes.

    Now the city, according to Mayor Eddie Francis, is moving to fill that gap by introducing city legislation requiring departing city representatives to observe a "cooling off" period before taking their knowledge and experience to corporations that have direct dealings with the city."

So do you see what the issue is now and how difficult it is to make a decision?

Ok, add up your marks to see what your total score is. If you got a good report card, then you may have a new career at a good rate of pay open up in front of you:

  • "Basse, whose contract ended Dec. 31, will continue till June.

    For the 16 months he was on the job, he charged the city $27,000, plus his $16,000 retainer...

    In the meantime, the city will accept proposals for an integrity commissioner beyond June."