Ambassador Bridge - Canada's View
October 23, 2012
By: Stephen Kent
Roy Norton, Consul General
Consulate General of Canada
, Consul General with the Consulate General of Canada, spoke to Rotary about Canada's position on the Ambassador Bridge Issue that appears in proposal 6 on the ballot November 6. Norton represents Canada in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, a territory with a population of 34 million, which is the same population as Canada.
The view of Canada is that the vast advertising on proposal 6 is not the truth. People should vote NO, in the view of Canada.
Two way goods trade between the US and Canada was valued last year at just over $70 billion. Goods and services trade reached $689 billion. "It's the largest two way trade relationship on the planet. We do more business with each other than any other two countries on earth" Norton said. Canada is Michigan's most important export destination.
The Indiana and Ohio legislatures have both passed resolutions calling for Michigan to proceed with this bridge. Kentucky has petitioned the US State Dept. asking that President issue a permit for the project to proceed.
The existing Ambassador Bridge is 83 years old. Most bridges of this age were designed for a 50 year life. The bridge carries 25% of all US Canada trade. Should this bridge fail or be closed, as some other major bridges have, the disruption would be serious; there are no other bridges and trucks can't go through the tunnel.
Canada has agreed to cover the entire cost of a new bridge, including the interchange in Michigan, and to accept full liability for it. "Given the extent to which the owners of the Ambassador Bridge have successfully influenced legislators and the general public through their no more than $15 dollar advertising campaign... we Canadians were forced to make a choice, and maintaining a death watch on an 83 year old bridge, while crossing our fingers and hoping for its eternal life, did not strike us as sound or rational public policy." Doing nothing as not an option.
In 2010 Canada stepped forward to absolve Michigan of any liability for any part of the program. Michigan government officials, chambers of commerce, all major automotive companies, parts suppliers, agricultural organizations, labor unions, and iconic Michigan companies all support the bridge program.
Norton said that the reasons for supporting the new "International Trade Crossing" are numerous and compelling. "In fact there is only one rational reason for opposing the program; if you own the Ambassador Bridge, you will cease to enjoy monopoly profits".
He went on to say that "frankly, what [the ads] tell are lies. They can't be characterized any other way." The new bridge will cost Michigan nothing; the ads say it will cost $8 billion.
Second, the commercials say a second bridge is not necessary, a position that can't be supported in any way. Third, the ads say that Canada and Michigan should not be building a bridge; the private sector should.
Norton offered a number if interesting facts including "the 8,000 trucks that cross the bridge into Windsor travel 8 miles on city roads to the freeway and encounter 18 traffic lights. By contrast, truckers can drive from the Texas-Mexico border all the way to Montreal and encounter 18 traffic lights... all in Windsor."
Canada's position is that Michigan should defeat this constitutional amendment.
CLUB NEWS and ANNOUNCEMENTS
Today's meeting was intended to be a club assembly
. In light of the last minute Ambassador Bridge presentation, President Kim preceded that program with an abbreviated summary of the projects, giving, and funding given by the club to the community and the world.
Cindy Chadwick made a finally announcement about the District Foundation Gala
Chuck Cusick said that the dictionaries
have been received. He needs help putting labels in the books, which are at the school administration building. Sample dictionaries were on each table.
Ron Bloomfield announced that the Rotary Concert
date has been booked for Thursday, April 11 at the State Theater.
Rob Clark announced that the annual Rotary Homecoming
meeting will be November 20. The club will give out the annual ROSE award. The program will be on the work of the MCVI foundation. After the meeting will be a CPR certification program.
Homecoming is basically a membership drive
. Members are asked to bring a guest. Members are also encouraged to wear school colors,
Harry Farris reminded the club that some may have forgotten the words to "America the Beautiful
". Some people are singing "mountain's majesty". The correct words are "For purple mountain majesties
Remember to contribute to the clean water campaign and contest:
Put SILVER in OUR JUG ---
PUT BILLS (and checks) in the MORNING JUG
DATES TO REMEMBER
April 11, 2013.
(See the official schedule at
Oct 30, 2012: McKinley Technologies
Nov 6, 2012: Rotary Video
---- ELECTION DAY ----
Nov 13, 2012: 10 Minute Rotarian
Nov 20, 2012: Rotary Homecoming
Organized by Rob Clark
Current and past DISTRICT DISPATCH
newsletters are available on the District site shown in the LINKS section below.
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