Tuesday, October 21st11.4°C
23836
23786

After Keystone delay, Canada back in U.S. pushing for progress on another file

WASHINGTON - Still smarting from the sting of the latest Keystone XL delay, a Canadian cabinet minister was in the U.S. on Friday to push for progress on another major bilateral file: a new bridge crossing between Windsor and Detroit.

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt used her visit to request funding for completion of a replacement for the aging bridge that handles nearly one-third of all Canada-U.S. trade.

She delivered the message in a Chicago speech, one week after the Obama administration announced an indefinite delay in a decision over an oil pipeline that has caused tensions between the two national governments.

Raitt noted that the Canadian government has put up nearly all the money for the New International Trade Crossing and is simply awaiting the U.S. government to fund a new customs plaza on the American side.

"The government of Canada is concerned about the vulnerability of that trade and the jobs it sustains in both our countries," said the prepared text of Raitt's speech, which she delivered to the NAFTAnext summit in Chicago.

"President Obama issued a presidential permit for the bridge in 2013, and all that is missing now is the commitment of the U.S. government to build a new customs plaza in Detroit. Canada continues to await a decision by the U.S. government to pay for this new facility. It requires a relatively modest investment — some $250 million out of the $4 billion overall cost for the project.

"But this final hurdle is holding up a vitally important project."

The new public replacement for the privately owned, 85-year-old Ambassador Bridge has the stated support of both national governments. As a Canada-U.S. trade issue, it might only be rivalled by Keystone XL.

But don't expect things to move faster to soothe any hard feelings over the stalled pipeline project, said one Canada-U.S. watcher. David Biette of the Wilson Center counts a number of ways the two files are entirely separate.

For starters, Keystone XL was delayed by a Democratic administration amid election-year divisions among Democrats. The bridge is more likely to face funding obstacles in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives from conservatives opposed to new government spending.

In that context, Biette said, it's not so easy for an outcome on one file to lead to change on other. It's just U.S. politics, where friends and foes can vary from one issue to the next.

"The United States tends not to link things," Biette said.

"And the Canadians are quick to think about linking things. As in, 'If you don't do acid rain, we won't do... fill in the blank.' Or on softwood lumber."

The bridge project also faces opposition from the owners of the current Ambassador Bridge. They'll be in court next week seeking an injunction preventing the U.S. Coast Guard from issuing the last permit required for the new public project.

The privately owned Detroit International Bridge Co. will argue that the new project infringes its rights, acquired under century-old arrangements. It wants to build its own new span, next to the existing bridge near downtown Windsor, and accuses the national governments of blocking it with red tape.

"While (Raitt) wants a new bridge, bureaucrats are stopping a new bridge," said Dan Stamper, president of the Ambassador Bridge.

"They don't like the idea of a private bridge, and they don't like the idea of a private bridge owned by a U.S. citizen."

The Canadian government calls the existing site, in downtown Windsor, impractical for a major lane expansion and has thrown its full support behind a construction project already underway far from the downtown core.

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

23028


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14547.71+209.94
S&P CDNX822.2810.93
DJIA16614.81215.14
Nasdaq4419.479+103.404
S&P 5001941.28+37.27
CDN Dollar0.8914+0.0005
Gold1249.20-2.50
Oil82.17+0.21
Lumber329.70+0.10
Natural Gas3.687-0.024

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.100.00
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.17+0.05
Cantex0.055-0.025
Anavex Life Sciences0.192+0.001
Metalex Ventures0.045-0.005
Russel Metals33.09+0.81
Copper Mountain Mining2.17+0.18
Colorado Resources0.150.00
ReliaBrand Inc0.012+0.0009
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.060.00
Mission Ready Services0.46+0.01

 



20759

FEATURED Property
1991615#6-6267 Sundstrom Court
6 bedrooms 4 baths
$684,969
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Keep it rubber side down

This time of year, I always worry about which friends of mine will get caught going off the road in adverse weather conditions. With a little preparation most accidents can be avoided. Having won the...


Big bank predicts rate hike

Photo: Thinkstock.comThe end of record-low rates is nigh, according to one major bank, which has taken a stance and predicted when the Bank of Canada will raise its long-standing overnight rate. &ldq...


Experts share strategies in Kelowna

The third week in October is “Small Business Week”, a week dedicated to supporting local, small businesses. The week was designed to bring awareness to Canadians about the role small busin...

_



23803




Member of BC Press Council


23824