A Windsor Square Exclusive By: Ed Arditti | ©
Here are the key excerpts from the relevant documents as disclosed in Wikileaks.
There are relatively few documents but the story they tell is very disturbing. I try to put each one in a context for you and try to explain to you how everything fits together. I want you to be able to make sense of it all so that you will understand the significance.
I apologize. It is a very long and ugly read. But very essential. It is very disturbing when you cut through it all and see how Governments really operate. It is fascinating that such disclosures have been made. Clearly, no one in the public was ever expected to read this material so we can learn things that were to be kept secret from us. Tell the public one thing, act another way behind the scenes.
How can people act this way in a supposedly democratic society? How can they look at themselves in the mirror in the morning? How do they justify their actions?
Oh I get it, they are the “good guys” wearing the “white hats.” They are entitled to act this way. They have a noble cause and objective so everything done is not really bad; it’s excusable. You know, the end justifies the means. Can it really be that much of a power trip!
Economic nationalism goals for Canada and protecting ourselves against irrational US Protectionism. How worthy. Creating jobs by partnering with Asian and European countries using Canadian controlled ports, gateways and corridors so we can assemble and distribute products into the US and supposedly help Americans export their products too. Admirable. Allow the sale/lease of key assets to foreign P3 investors to bring in outrageous sums of money to help rebuild infrastructure. How innovative as long as no one figures out how all of this can be paid back without mortgaging our future.
Who cares what is said. It does not matter. There is no accountability, no responsibility. They know better. We just need to follow along, ignorantly, enjoying the pablum we are fed.
However, with the Wikileaks documents, we can see them for what they are. They let their hair down and we now can give the people responsible a real haircut for trying to deceive us!
As I suggested, read all of this when you have the time to give it your full attention. It will take your breath away at the enormity of it all.
This merely scratches the surface of what is out there. Imagine what is still hidden or perhaps even shredded by now. This is a huge story and more is yet to come. I can hardly wait until soemone, a person with principles, has had enough and gets the courage to speak out to make this entire boondoggle completely unravel.
- Summary: Ontario Community and Social Services Minister Pupatello emphasized the importance the Ontario Government places on relations with the United States during an October 13 courtesy call the Consul General paid on her. Pupatello digressed from issues associated with her portfolio to raise her riding’s concern with Windsor-Detroit border crossing issues, to include expressing displeasure with premature statements by Michigan Governor Granholm regarding options taken off the table in the bi- national process…
- Minister Pupatello stated that the Ontario Government was not pleased by Michigan Governor Granholm’s decision to publicly announce on October 4, on her own initiative, the Detroit River International Crossing Study decision to drop several border crossing options from the study. Pupatello complained that Granholm should at least have called Premier McGuinty to let him know what she intended to do. Ontario officials were also displeased that Granholm’s office subsequently delayed returning their calls on the issue while Michigan Department of Transportation official Mohammed Alghurabi continued to speak publicly on the issue throughout the week (Note: Premier McGuinty’s staff has also lodged this complaint. End Note.)…
- She said Ontario would prefer that political leaders on both sides make decisions regarding the border crossing rather than engage in the bi-national process, but in the current litigious environment, she acknowledged this did not appear to be a viable option. The CG responded that waiting until 2013 would likely not reduce the number of lawsuits and asked if Pupatello had heard of the possibility of enacting omnibus legislation. Pupatello said that this might be necessary, but all levels of government on both sides of the border would need to enact legislation in sync with each other…
- She said Windsor currently had no voice at the federal level because Windsor’s NDP opposition MP has no influence in the federal government. The federal government was only engaged with local issues if it felt it could win the local riding. This situation meant she must be a stronger advocate for Windsor than would otherwise be normal for a provincial Minister.”
There it is. Right in front of you. As plain as the nose on your face. No wonder DRIC had to be invented.
The Canadian Government can do nothing about Moroun. If they could have done something, they would have done it years ago. We would not have to be involved in the charade known as the DRIC for the last decade as Minister Baird confirmed.
Exactly why not I do not know but I am sure that the Bridge Company does. There must be some legal reason that stops Canada cold. I suspect that it is hiding right in front of our noses and probably in the open too. And when it comes out one day, utter shock!
If Canada knows the reason and the Bridge Company knows the reason then I do not understand why we are playing this game. All that is being done is replaying the FIRA lawsuit. Nothing different is going to happen this time than happened last time.
I expect however, as I have said before, that the Canadian Government has completely misread and misunderstood the Moroun Family. They made the erroneous assumption, that was destroyed when that Globe and Mail 2 1/2 page spread came out several years ago, that the Moroun family would sell out and at a cheap price for fear that the Government would destroy the value of their business. Obviously, that did not happen.
Here is the key to what I mean:
*”[The CG] asked if Pupatello had heard of the possibility of enacting omnibus legislation. Pupatello said that this might be necessary, but all levels of government on both sides of the border would need to enact legislation in sync with each other“
No one Government has the ability to force out the Bridge Company. After all, it operates in two countries. Its rights and obligations are those set out and granted by the Governments themselves which give the Bridge Company exclusivity in perpetuity forever, as the US Legal Scholar informed us, for the building and operation of a bridge in this area. No one, even the Governments, can build one on their own.
Someone raised the idea it seems, a trial balloon perhaps, that the Governments of Canada and the United States should join together to beat out the Moroun family. Obviously, there had been some discussion about it because a question was raised. I expect however that the answer, as Sandra said, was that the Governments would have to act in concert together to pass legislation that somehow would work and would not be illegal or unconstitutional.
I also make the assumption that this “omnibus legislation,” while discussed, was never going to happen. In my opinion, there is no way that a US President or the American Congress were going to be part of an action to force an American company out of business. Do you really think that the Americans were going to assist Canada to become a Cuba or Venezuela to injure one of their own! Where would it end? My recollection is that Canada did not want to pay a penny if the Bridge was expropriated/condemned.
That is why the strategy was developed to demonize the Moroun Family in order to eliminate supposedly any thought of anybody providing them with any kind of support whatsoever. Then, the idea was to terrorize the family into selling out because of the perceived sanctions that could have been imposed upon their operation of their business including setting up a competitor to them, DRIC, a competitor that would take away the vast majority of their traffic. Ergo, Bill C-3.
The assumption made was that the Morouns were smart businesspeople and would recognize that the value of their business could be destroyed or the business could even be bankrupted so that they would beg Canada to buy them out. They would be happy at whatever price that Canada offered. Moreover, Canada would then not be faced with a Dubai Ports type situation if they could show that the sale came from the initiative of the Morouns themselves.
What a joke we read as well in this document. How many times have we heard Canadian senior officials and politicians tell us how important our crossing is to the well-being of Canada and the United States. They didn’t mean it.
Oh, it is important, to them, for whatever reason. However, they could not care what happens to the people of this region whatsoever. We are merely pawns in their game. If they did care, we would not be fooling around with this border fiasco for a decade during the worst economic time of our history since the Great Depression. The new Ambassador Bridge and the road to the Ambassador Bridge would have been built years ago. We would be prospering today but for the Canadian Government.
All we are good for is voting in Jeff Watson as a Member of Parliament.
Poor Jenny. If you read the stories about the book that she has written that is just about to come out you will see how much she wanted to be re-elected as Governor of Michigan. It seems that she would do just about anything to make that happen:
- *”Granholm considered dropping out in ’06, she reveals in book
(David Shepardson and Karen Bouffard Detroit News September 9, 2011
*Granholm says an ad harshly criticizing DeVos for creating jobs in China “drew blood. It offered no subtlety, no nuance, no shades of gray.” And she quotes Sun Tzu’s “Art of War:” “When your foot is on the throat of your enemy press harder.” Granholm adds: “So we pressed harder with a second crushing commercial.”
What else did she do? She eliminated unilaterally the downriver Michigan communities as possible border crossings. She had to do it. She would have lost a ton of votes if she had not. She needed those votes to be re-elected.
So much for the DRIC process being fair and objective and impartial. It was not. It was political. She played to win, to be re-elected. She did not care about process or the consequences of what she did. Staying in power is all that counted for a politician as Margaret Thatcher’s speech writer told us.
As you will read below, there was an agreement between Canada and the United States that if one of the sides did not want a crossing then the other side would go along with it. That is really why the Ambassador Bridge location was not picked even though it was identified as the best crossing on the American side. Canada did not want it for their games-playing to force out the Moroun family. And the Americans could not object but had to go along with it. (I suspect that it did not break MDOT’s heart either since they obviously hate the Bridge Company as well.)
In my opinion, once Jenny made her move, and you can see how angry Sandra was about it, then Canada “owned” her. She got what she wanted and fortuitously, Canada got what it wanted. And it cost Canada nothing to do so.
She did it to herself. Once she dismissed those communities, then she was obliged to do whatever Canada wanted. She acted first and thereby allowed Canada to get its shot in. She had no choice. She had to agree to whatever Canada wanted, no matter what or how much it would hurt the State.
That tells me a lot about why she was breathless and ran to the Michigan Legislature waving a letter in her hand about $550 million. She was desperate to build a legacy for herself and wanted the DRIC bridge to be that legacy. Again, Canada took advantage of the situation and gave her a supposed agreement that was nothing more than a Letter of Intent that was not binding legally whatsoever. A possible US Supreme Court Judge would surely know that!
Moreover, in her book apparently, since it is not yet been discussed by the media, she is going to be talking about P3s and how wonderful they are to salvage the infrastructure of the United States. What was the key P3 project that was going take place under her regime: the DRIC bridge.
Can you imagine if she had been able to get that P3 project going considering that the Governerd is about to make a speech about infrastructure spending and perhaps how to pay for it. I can just picture in my mind a whole army of foreign P3 companies or their lobbyists knocking on her door offering her all kinds of goodies hoping that she and her hubby would join up with them.
- “Is A New Detroit River Crossing In The Cards?
- The Detroit Free Press article was published one day after the latest meeting of the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) Study, evaluating possible sites for a new border crossing (NOTE: PolOff attended the meeting and will send a report on its conclusions via septel. END NOTE). U.S. participants in the closed-door meeting noted that constructing a second span parallel to the existing Ambassador Bridge, would probably be acceptable from a U.S. standpoint, if the new crossing were publicly owned. But David Wake, from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, said he expects the Canadian side will shortly rule out this possibility for social and environmental reasons because it would result in an increased volume of truck traffic running on already congested local roads through downtown Windsor. DRIC meeting participants agreed that, if the bridge span twinning proposal is rejected by Canada, the U.S. side will drop it from consideration.
- C) An Army Corps of Engineers representative at the DRIC meeting, said the Ambassador Bridge owners have in recent weeks come to the Corps offices in Detroit to discuss how to obtain the permit required to construct a second bridge span. She, and the Coast Guard representative at the meeting, noted that the U.S. permitting process is basically technical, rather than policy-oriented, and must be completed within 90 days (for the Coast Guard) and 120 days (for the Corps of Engineers). Wake said the bridge owners have been in similar discussions with Canadian government officials. He observed that the Canadian permitting process is similarly technical, noting that it may also be difficult for the Canadian government to avoid issuing a permit if/when they are asked.
- Opening a new span on the Ambassador Bridge site could bring some benefits to the Detroit side of the river where a highway construction project will soon provide the needed road infrastructure to smoothly funnel additional cross-border traffic onto I-75. But adding a bridge span in downtown Windsor would present a difficult challenge for officials on the Canadian side of the river.”
How the US government was lied to is what comes out loud and clear in this document. I did not know that the location where cars and trucks came off the bridge onto Huron Church Road was part of “downtown Windsor.” That lie has been carried on for years from people who ought to know better.
Obviously, no one from the US Government has ever been to Windsor to know where our downtown is! Obviously, they are mixing up Edgar’s Tunnel with the Bridge! I know that the US Embassy people in Ottawa watch Canadian television but can’t they read a Canadian roadmap.
How interesting that if Canada says that the crossing should not go right beside the Ambassador Bridge, the Americans fall meekly along with it even though they determined that the Ambassador Bridge Location was the best on their side of the river. What a sell-out!
Here’s the part that I don’t understand at all:
“He observed that the Canadian permitting process is similarly technical, noting that it may also be difficult for the Canadian government to avoid issuing a permit if/when they are asked.”
What it clearly means to me is that the Bridge Company should have received all their permits from Canada already. They should have been able to build their bridge and in fact, it should have been finished by now.
Instead, Canada has been delaying them and delaying them and delaying them. For years. All in order to give Canada leverage to pretend to build a DRIC Bridge.
All of this gibberish that we have heard about the Bridge Company not meeting the EA requirements in Canada is clearly wrong. What is being done is nothing more than a stall to prevent them from building their Bridge.
And a publicly-owned second Ambassador Bridge, it’s ok as long as it is public. Now you know why Prime Minister Harper wanted to buy it and where he wants the second bridge to go. And why Canada must control the corridor. Keep those Americans off-balance too by pretending you want another crossing.
October, 2005 (a few days after the meeting above)
Update on Plans for New Detroit River Crossing
- In a day-long closed-door session on October 19, 2005 in Detroit, Joe Corradino described to U.S. federal and state government officials (including Poloff) the status of the DRIC study of potential new border crossings and plaza sites on the U.S. side of the Detroit River (NOTE: The Corradino Group, a consultancy firm specializing in engineering, planning, and construction projects, is conducting the research and analysis and producing the U.S. version of the DRIC study under contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation. END NOTE). Corradino outlined how and why several potential crossings had been eliminated from the study in the past few months…
- Corradino said that, if the Canadian side rejects a potential site, the U.S. would also drop it. David Wake, Windsor Project Coordinator for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, agreed that, if the U.S. side finds a potential crossing to be unacceptable, Canada would likewise no longer consider it.
- ¶7. (SBU) Wake noted that Canadian experts, who are proceeding on a separate but parallel track, also agree that the central area under consideration is the most promising. Wake said the Canadians rank order the central area crossings differently, noting that the Ambassador Bridge site ranks poorly from a Canadian perspective because of the impact a new/additional plaza and more traffic on Huron Church Road would have on downtown Windsor (ref (B)).
- ¶8. (SBU) U.S. and Canadian experts are focused on narrowing the range of potential crossing and plaza sites for a new publicly-funded crossing of the Detroit River…
- Wake noted the Canadians are looking for 80 to 100 acre sites for plazas, per request of the Canadian Border Services Agency…
*ACTION REQUEST: Department is requested to provide informal concurrence with the centrally-located practical alternatives for a future Detroit River Crossing by November 4 to James Kirschensteiner James.Kirschensteiner@fhwa.dot.gov) (NOTE: All involved federal and state government agencies — Department of
Homeland Security (Customs and Border Protection and Coast Guard), General Services Administration, Army Corps of Engineers, Interior Department (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Michigan Department of Transportation — have been asked to provide comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation by November 4.”
Remember how shocked I was at the naïveté of the US Embassy in Ottawa about the border file. It is no surprise to me now. They were given the same misinformation that everyone has been given to justify rejecting the Ambassador Bridge location as the best crossing.
In fact, if you will remember, the previous US Ambassador thought that the DRTP was a good short-term solution. I could never understand that but now I do.
In this meeting, DRTP was rejected. The poor fellow was misled about DRTP and thinking that it was a viable solution. He probably wasn’t told that MDOT rejected a similar concept many years before. All of this was part of the process as far as I’m concerned to put pressure on the Bridge Company to sell out cheaply, even involving the US Federal Government in helping to do so even if unknowingly. After all, the Bridge Company might not be all that concerned if Canada was opposed to them but might think seriously about selling out if both Canada and the United States were against them.
This document makes it clear that the border file is being run by Canada and MDOT with the Ontario Government (and Edgar) going along for the ride because they have no other choice anyway. It also didn’t hurt that the Minister of Finance in Ontario worked for the Federal Minister who was responsible for going after the Bridge Company in the FIRA matter.
First we read the nonsense about this gigantic plaza on the Canadian side that will destroy all of Sandwich. Yet we have learned recently that Canada Customs said that the existing Bridge Company Plaza is good for 25 years or more. It is no different than the gigantic plaza required at the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron that all of a sudden shrunk dramatically in size when push came to shove and the US Federal Government ran out of money.
Remember when it was disclosed that the binational partnership people were using old maps when they considered what should be done in Windsor. Clearly, the Ontario Government is guilty of that since Dave Wake has no idea where traffic exits from the Ambassador Bridge. He thinks that traffic goes to Downtown Windsor as well! He tells that to the US Government people again.
Do you really believe that the Environmental Assessments on both sides of the River were done fairly and objectively and impartially. Don’t make me gag. It was all done politically not from an engineering perspective as this paragraph makes absolutely clear:
*“Corradino said that, if the Canadian side rejects a potential site, the U.S. would also drop it. David Wake, Windsor Project Coordinator for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, agreed that, if the U.S. side finds a potential crossing to be unacceptable, Canada would likewise no longer consider it.”
What a neat way to eliminate the Ambassador Bridge location even though the Americans had spent a quarter of $1 billion on the Ambassador Gateway project which was designed to accommodate a second Ambassador Bridge.
Jenny made it so easy for Canada to get its way too.
The other very interesting comment that was made is in relation to a “public” bridge. I was not aware that at this time any decision had been made whether the bridge should be public or private. Obviously, that decision had been made a long time before. All of this DRIC study was another charade designed to pretend that an objective study was being undertaken to eliminate both DRTP and the Ambassador Bridge Company which both just by the way happened to be private operators.
Here is a rather disingenuous comment also made in this memo designed clearly to mislead the US Government. If it was so easy for the Ambassador Bridge to get a permit, then why didn’t they have one:
*”They acknowledge that their rejection of a potential site would not preclude a private sector entrepreneur from requesting and obtaining the needed permits to construct and operate a new crossing without public sector financing (ref (B)). The twinning of the Ambassador Bridge and Detroit River Tunnel Partnership proposals could be constructed without public sector endorsement by the DRIC study.”
You will notice the Action Request. This is extremely significant:
*“Department is requested to provide informal concurrence with the centrally-located practical alternatives for a future Detroit River Crossing.”
Go back and take a look at this Blog that I wrote and the letter that I disclosed “May 12, 2006 President Bush’s Choice: The Twinned Ambassador Bridge”
That letter makes it absolutely clear that the concurrence requested, informal or otherwise, was not granted by the US Department of State on behalf of the President of the United States. No Presidential Permit was going to be issued and yet this DRIC fiasco has been carrying on for six more years. Why? I asked this question at the time which is just as relevant now especially in relation to what has been told to the US Embassy in Ottawa:
” THE QUESTION IS: HAVE THE BUREAUCRATS TOLD THEIR POLITICAL BOSSES WHAT THE US PRESIDENT HAS SAID? IF NOT, WHY ARE THEY STILL IN THEIR JOBS? IF THEY HAVE, THEN WHY ARE THE POLITICIANS STILL IN THEIRS!”
I am sure that you remember this document that I revealed some time ago quoting the Canadian Deputy Prime Minister. It was made in March 2005. It made no sense to me at the time. Now it does. It was all part of the process designed to mislead the US Government, to make it appear as if the DRIC process was a real one with objective results to be obtained:
“When discussion turned to the Windsor-Detroit Gateway and what seems to be a rather long lead time (until 2013) to actually implement any of the long-term solutions currently on the table, DPM McLellan warned that the USG and GOC should remain objective and not prejudge the five options currently being considered. She added that the process is underway (beginning with the announcement of contracts for environmental impact assessments) and should be allowed to move forward. The DPM and her staff suggested that President Bush and Prime Minister Martin should continue to underscore the importance for both nations of finding a solution to easing congestion at the Windsor-Detroit corridor. Agencies of both governments are currently implementing short-term solutions to meet the 25 Percent Challenge (to reduce transit times by 25 percent over 12 months) announced during the December 2004 Ridge-McLellan meetings.’
A terrific way to stall off the Americans don’t you think and to allow the Canadian process to go on to meet the Canadian objectives and timetable! No point in having the US Federal Government mess in. All the they were required to do was to put up a couple of hundred million dollars for the US Customs facilities on the US side. Otherwise, this was a Canada/MDOT enterprise.
PROPOSED DETROIT WINDSOR TUNNEL TAKEOVER EXCITES SIGNIFICANT OPPOSITION
I love it how the Canadian Government went after an American city and the US Government did not do a thing. Can you imagine the howls of outrage if that happened to a Canadian city?
Nice to know that the Government of Canada, City of Windsor and DCTC were all working together to oppose the Ambassador Bridge. Of course the letter from the law firm was incorrect because the Ambassador Bridge was never going to become the “owner” of the Tunnel. There are merely going to be the operator. Somehow it is fine for a private P3 company to operate a Government bridge but is not fine for a private company like the Bridge Company to operate a Government Tunnel.
As for a super plaza, what is it that Canada and the United States were talking about in Buffalo/Fort Erie? It was shared border management. There is no doubt that it was not being considered for Windsor/Detroit because if it was, then there would have been no need for a DRIC bridge. Obviously then, the Canadian Government position to use DRIC to force out the Moroun Family would have been seriously prejudiced.
It is pretty clear that Canada used the heavy-handed action of hiring a US lawyer to threaten Detroit with an antitrust lawsuit to scare the City to prevent their agreement with the Bridge Company being finalized. It is amazing how the competitor of the Bridge Company was able to see that letter and presumably provide a copy of it to the US Government. That again confirms how nasty the Bridge Company people are. Nothing like demonizing them.
Of course, the real purpose behind this was to prevent the Bridge Company from being involved in the Tunnel. A P3 operator of the DRIC Bridge, or rather the second Ambassador Bridge if the Bridge Company had sold out, will probably be forced to take over the Tunnel as part of the deal. They won’t really object because they don’t need a competitor like the Tunnel keeping tolls low when they need to charge as much money as possible in order to cover their costs to build a second bridge in Detroit. (Or rather to charge as much as possible to minimize the availability payments that the Governments will have to make to pay for the bridge because the bridge is not financially viable).
P3 companies like monopolies too so they can make money. It’s OK though. That would be a Governments approved “public” monopoly to screw taxpayers!
December 20, 2005
SUMMARY: Michael Kergin, Ontario’s Special Advisor on Border Issues, told the Consul General on December 6 that he is working to facilitate trade while maintaining high security standards at the border as mutually reinforcing objectives. He said the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) study was proceeding well but could benefit from the attention and leadership of senior political-level U.S. and Canadian officials. Kergin expressed concern about the Ambassador Bridge proposal to assume the operating lease on the Detroit-Windsor tunnel…
- Ontario is a stakeholder in border traffic processing, he said, but the federal government has the lead in resolving these issues…
- The Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) study process is working pretty well, according to Kergin. All involved jurisdictions (Canadian federal and provincial and U.S. federal and state) must stay united or the other stakeholders will drive wedges into the process. He noted local politics would trump the big picture in Windsor and Detroit. The Canadian provincial and federal governments are relatively happy with the central corridor that is the focal point for the two remaining possible bridge sites…
- Kergin expressed concern that the proposed takeover of the Detroit-Windsor tunnel operating lease by the Ambassador bridge company raises serious governance issues. Public oversight of this near monopoly would be needed. He also expressed concerns about a possible twining of the existing Ambassador Bridge span, but suggested Canada,s major way to influence a possible twining of the bridge is by not providing the improved road infrastructure needed to feed the additional traffic onto the bridge.
Comment: Kergin is approachable and easy to work with. He will be a useful interlocutor for the U.S. on cross-border issues. We have heard that his appointment was not Premier McGuinty,s idea ) rather that his appointment was suggested by the federal government – though McGuinty reportedly quickly endorsed the idea. Kergin, who resides in Ottawa said he has had really good access to Canadian federal officials, though he is not close to the Martin government, having previously served as foreign policy advisor to former PM Chretien. We believe he will be able to cut through some of the complexity that can characterizes issues that cross federal and provincial lines. Kergin oversees Ray Mantha, former Chief Engineer of Ontario, who has built a Border Implementation Group within the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MOT) to implement the DRIC. Mantha, who advises Kergin, has also proven to be a valuable interlocutor to the Cnosulate.[sic]“
Watch out for those nasty wedgies! Stay united to beat Moroun! Work in concert together which really means do as Canada demands. And why not? Canada controlled Ontario and was friendly with MDOT. All that needed to happen was to charm the US Feds. Clearly, that was former Canadian Ambassador to the US Kergin’s job. Heck even his role was not the truth.
It should be abundantly clear now that Canada is running this file. Even Ontario’s border advisor was forced on them by the Feds. And he controlled senior Ontario officials!
Look who is giving such good information to the Americans to help fool them: DRIC people. Why those receiving the valuable information hardly had to do anything. Canadians wouldn’t lie now would they?
Haven’t the Americans ever heard the expression: Beware of Canadians bearing DRIC gifts.
Now you know how the Bridge Company was going to be pressured if all else failed: the DRIC road. Cut off their traffic, cut off their business, cut off their revenues, bankrupt them.
Please don’t tell me that Edgar (aka Eddie) did not know what was going on in this file right from the first time he became Mayor. Remember the Sam Schwartz drawing below.
It shows our new Champs Elysées on Huron Church Road. Did you notice it is not six lanes but four lanes. What a coincidence.
Do you remember when the Federal Transport Minister and the Ontario Minister of Transportation talked negatively about trucks on Huron Church Road?
Do you understand now why the $300 million of Border Infrastructure Fund money was never spent to fix up the road to the Ambassador Bridge?
There is no doubt in my mind that the final pressure point on the Bridge Company is to tell them that the traffic from Highway 401 will be “encouraged” to use the new DRIC road to the border rather than Huron Church Road. Oh, they will allow some trucks and cars to exit off to Huron Church. They have to do that or the businesses on that stretch of the road will go bankrupt.
Just watch all of the threats of cutting off traffic start up as the DRIC road starts taking place. However, you and I, dear reader, know that the road is really going north on Huron Church right to the Ambassador Bridge. Why else was the Tourist Office almost closed and why else are the University Schools being moved downtown. That road was engineered back in 2005 by the way!
After all, our Minister of Finance has said that the DRIC road is not a road to nowhere but will be built “regardless of crossing.” We already know that the contingency of the DRIC bridge not being built has already been taken into account with plans being made to move traffic right to the Ambassador Bridge.
When the Prime Minister of Canada wants to buy the Ambassador Bridge, then obviously it would be foolish not to have a plan to build a road to it.
CANADIAN MPS RAISE BORDER AND SPP CONCERNS
- There is also concern by MPs who live in the Windsor area about bridge expansion and management and a desire for clarity and strategic planning between the U.S. and Canada on this key issue…
- Judy Sgro, Liberal – York West, Ontario, Management of Ambassador Bridge: In a meeting with Poloff, Ms. Sgro asked for reassurance about how the Ambassador Bridge was being managed in terms of security and expansion. She was uncomfortable with the private sector management of the bridge in an era of rising threats and sought assurances that there was strategic planning being conducted by our two governments on the future of the bridge.
- – Jeff Watson, Conservative – Essex, Ontario, Ambassador Bridge Expansion: Like Sgro, Watson covers a riding whose current economy depends on the smooth operation of the Ambassador Bridge, and whose future economy depends on the expansion of the bridge. He is very interested in the ongoing negotiations over twinning and the third span and the various options for this, and wants to see a better bilateral planning process for the future of the cross border infrastructure. He is concerned by recent indications that the U.S. may not be fully supportive of the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) planning process. “If the DRIC is undermined,” Watson said, “there will be a free for all and the required infrastructure upgrades will be delayed,” with potentially negative consequences for the cross border economy. NDP MP Brian Masse from Windsor similarly is concerned with rumors he has heard that officials on the Michigan side of the border are considering abandoning the bi-national planning process…
- In these and other discussions with MPs we get a good sense for the range of issues they are facing in border ridings. They leave us with several observations… Second, they appreciate clarity. On WHTI and the Ambassador Bridge what hurts us most if simple lack of clarity about what will happen and when.
Nothing like members of the Liberal and Conservative parties joining together to make it appear as if those Bridge Company people are so evil and bad. They have to be managed after all because they are a” private” operator. Again you can see the need to ensure that the American Federal Government is kept onside but that they don’t know too much about the border file to ask any significant questions.
- Ontario provincial officials have decided on the design for the Windsor access road linking the end of provincial highway 401 with the customs plaza for the new international bridge under consideration by the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) project. On January 10 Fausto Natarelli, Director of the Windsor Border Initiative Implementation Group for the Ontario MoT, told Pol/Econ Chief the final decision to build the C$1.6 billion highway was made with input from key provincial Cabinet officials, including Windsor-area MPPs Duncan (Finance Minister) and Pupatello (Economic Development and Trade), but without the direct concurrence of Windsor municipal officials, who had proposed construction of an alternative “Green Link” (ref (A)). Windsor city officials are publicly clamoring for information on the proposed access road, but Natarelli said provincial officials will not directly engage Mayor Eddie Francis or other city officials, who have a track record of not respecting confidential information and using the local press to try to ramp up the pressure on provincial politicians…
- In a separate January 9 meeting, Environment Minister John Gerretsen affirmed to the Consul General that the DRIC project is a high priority for his ministry and that Environment officials are prepared to expeditiously advance the provincial EA when they receive the formal application from MoT next fall…
- Natarelli said Transport Canada separately is currently holding up a C$35 million plaza expansion project at the Windsor end of the Detroit-Canada Tunnel. Under the 2003-04 plaza expansion agreement, MoT and TC agreed to spend up to C$10 million each for plaza construction while the city agreed to acquire the needed additional property and kick in some additional funding. Natarelli said that TC officials, frustrated by the political grandstanding and spending choices (such as the C$500,000 to C$1.5 million spent retaining the services of New York-based traffic expert Sam Schwartz, ref (B)), are insisting the city kick in more funding for the project. Provincial officials are arguing to their TC counterparts that a single year delay in the project will increase project costs by more than the amount of money TC is demanding Windsor kick in. And right now Windsor claims it doesn,t have the money, Natarelli said.
- ¶6. (C/NF) During a December meeting, Natarelli told Pol/Econ Chief that the City of Windsor has established a Municipal Corporation to “manage” the tunnel. The city then “sold” its management interest in the tunnel to the Municipal Corporation, which has subsequently applied for a loan against future tunnel revenues from the provincial agency — Infrastructure Ontario. Natarelli explained that this shell game enabled the city to obtain the funds it needed to pay its share of the cost of renovating the tunnel ventilation system. The city meanwhile has reportedly been spending its tunnel toll revenue without setting aside funding for future capital needs.
- ¶7. (C/NF) Comment: Ontario is committed to advancing construction of the Windsor access road linking the end of highway 401 with a new publicly-overseen international bridge between Detroit and Windsor. The tactics of the Windsor municipal government headed by Mayor Francis has alienated the provincial and federal transportation officials who are planning and will be constructing major border infrastructure projects within the city limits. Because of its linkage to the binational bridge, the access road project will not be derailed. But the sorely-needed plaza expansion project in downtown Windsor, is taking a hit, to the detriment of Windsor residents, many of whom commute through the tunnel. Despite the obvious lesson for city officials, we do not expect Windsor to adopt more accommodating tactics, leaving city officials as a factor to be ignored or overcome as federal and provincial officials work to improve border crossings in southwestern Ontario. End Comment.”
Now did you really think that the Environmental Assessment was a fair and objective and impartial process? Think again.
Remember when Dwight and Sandra told our Council that they could not meet with them because of provincial legislation that required them to stay out of discussions relating to the border file. What a crock.
When the decision had to be made who got involved:
“the final decision to build the C$1.6 billion highway was made with input from key provincial Cabinet officials, including Windsor-area MPPs Duncan (Finance Minister) and Pupatello (Economic Development and Trade).”
Oh I feel so sorry for the US Government people. Did they ever get suckered! They bought into Canada’s propaganda hook, line and sinker. They were misled just as we were thinking that Edgar was our hero fighting the Province for years and years and years to get the best for the people of Windsor. Hogwash. Gord told us the truth years later, or as much of that as he was prepared to let us know:
“A killer quiche bought goodwill and more”
- In early 2008, with the battle between the city’s GreenLink proposal and DRIC’s Essex-Windsor Parkway plan at a fever pitch and with relations between Mayor Eddie Francis and the city’s two provincial cabinet ministers going through an especially rocky patch, Pupatello decided it was time for the trio to sit down, roll up their sleeves and speak their minds, no holds barred, in an attempt to eliminate misunderstandings and mend the relationship.
- The Warrior Princess, never someone to be trifled with, invited (make that ordered) Francis and Finance Minister Dwight Duncan to a clandestine breakfast at her South Windsor home where, over her infamous bacon and cheese quiche and strong coffee, the three of them got everything but the kitchen sink off their chests. This wasn’t a negotiating meeting. With the environmental assessment of the Parkway still underway, the two Windsor ministers remained gagged and bound with bureaucratic Velcro. There could be no promises made. No commitments. No horse-trading.
- But there could be, and needed to be, a drastic change in the working relationship of Windsor’s three most important politicians. They needed to recognize that they were on the same team, the Windsor Team, and had the same objective in mind, the best possible border infrastructure deal that could be carved out for their city.
- “We’re going to sit here until we sing Kumbaya if it kills me,” Pupatello recalled telling herself as the “Quiche Conference” started off on a stiff, almost brittle, note. But being Windsor- bred politicians, the painful formalities were soon cast aside in favour of honest, unvarnished talk. Oh to have been a fly on the wall that morning when the gloves came off and the china started rattling at the Pupatello kitchen table.” (Gord Henderson Windsor Star 04-17-2010)
Just take a look at the Schwartz drawing again to understand that Edgar was involved with right from the beginning. That is not to say that there were no disagreement amongst the parties opposed to the Bridge Company. There is no doubt that each of them fought amongst themselves to get as much of “East Europe” as they could. But to make it appear as if Edgar was not onside to fully Americans, how disgusting.
An aside for Windsorites only:
Is it any wonder that no significant Corporation has decided to locate here or set up a new plant while Edgar has been Mayor? If you thought that development had stalled under our former Mayor, then you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Talk about a black eye for the City of Windsor, this is it in spades. Nothing that any Blogger could write would be as damaging as what was said about our Mayor and Council to the US Federal Government and then commented upon by US officials. If you don’t think that these same US officials will tell people who want to relocate here how bad this City is, then you must still believe that there is a need for the Undevelopment Commission to be around.
It really is that bad. I wish I had seen this document before the last Municipal election. Frankly, after this comment alone, Edgar should do the decent thing and resign and go. But continue reading to see how bad it really is with this Mayor. If only we had the power to recall an elected official as they do in Michigan as an example.
How about this:
“…provincial officials will not directly engage Mayor Eddie Francis or other city officials, who have a track record of not respecting confidential information and using the local press to try to ramp up the pressure on provincial politicians…”
However, the worst thing is that the reputation of the Mayor as a business person was absolutely destroyed in this memo. Can you imagine, the Mayor not having enough money to pay for the City’s share of the Tunnel Plaza Improvements and yet wanting this City to spend US $75 million to take over the management of the Detroit side of the Tunnel. That would have bankrupted us considering the sharp decline in the volume of traffic.
It is more than that however. The Tunnel is almost as old as the Ambassador Bridge. We know how much money Matty Moroun is putting into revitalizing that Bridge. We have seen the engineering reports that say that it is in pretty good condition considering its age.
We know nothing however about the condition of the Tunnel. How good or bad shape is it in? I think that I should be very concerned about taking the Tunnel when crossing the border considering this:
“And right now Windsor claims it doesn,t have the money, Natarelli said…
- Natarelli explained that this shell game enabled the city to obtain the funds it needed to pay its share of the cost of renovating the tunnel ventilation system. The city meanwhile has reportedly been spending its tunnel toll revenue without setting aside funding for future capital needs.”
I had asked both the City and Transport Canada for a copy of any Engineering Reports on the Tunnel. I have received nothing. I had better ask for those reports again. More importantly, why isn’t the Federal Government doing its job to ensure the safety of users of the Tunnel. Where is Congressman Dingell who was supposedly so concerned about the safety of the Ambassador Bridge?
The hypocrisy of opponents of the Ambassador Bridge is disgusting.
Can you imagine the treasures that can be found in the files of the Office of the Prime Minister or the Governerd or with the Premier?
Would you like to know what Prime Minister Harper said to Presidents Bush and Obama of the United States about the border file and building DRIC specifically. What stories he must have told him to try to justify its construction, or rather, to help force out the Bridge Company. Canada’s Ultrasecret Playbook is in full operation.
I sure would like to see the memos amongst the parties as they plotted against the Bridge Company. I would like to know who is responsible for all of the lies, misinformation and disinformation that have been spread.
It is all available. It is all there. It will be a war though to try and get access to the materials. It would take years and require countless appeals and court applications. The Governments would do everything in their power to prevent their disclosure, to prevent accountability and responsibility being placed on specific individuals.
Secrecy rules. Keep citizens in the dark. That is what our Governments have come to. That is why there is an urgent need for a Wikileaks and a Squeeki-leaks. If they did not exist, they would have to be invented! continued » Summary.
About the author, Ed Arditti offers some musings about the state of events in Windsor from the perspective of an interested observer of local politics. Sometimes we just have to help out! I have the luxury of time to do and say what I want. Agree with me or disagree, it does not matter as long as you take an active role in ensuring that the Community we live in prospers. Anonymous “Whistleblowers” everywhere are invited to write!! I’ll check out also interesting “rumours” and will write about them.