MASSE: HARPER GOVERNMENT INACTION JEOPARDIZES DRIC PROJECT

Harper Government Ignoring Potential Legal Challenges that Could Delay or Derail DRIC

[OTTAWA] Startling new information surfaced today when it was revealed that the Harper Government is ignoring a Transport Canada recommendation to bring forward legislation that would inoculate the DRIC project from potential legal challenges for the proposed new crossing between Windsor and Detroit. An Access to Information request for the Minister of Transportation’s briefing book revealed that the Harper Government was in fact aware of potential legal challenges to the DRIC that could delay the project moving forward on the Canadian side.

Brian Masse NDP Critic for International Trade is incensed by this apparent lack of preparedness for potential issues that could impact DRIC’s progress: “Time and again the Conservative Government has indicated that this project is shovel ready—today we find out that it is lawsuit ready.  This government has completely lost focus and has spent it’s time as a majority government destroying crucial Canadian institutions and undermining fundamental rights of citizens.  It wasn’t long ago that the Harper government clearly stated that the DRIC project is ‘the most important infrastructure project in Canada’.  Now we find out that they aren’t even sure if they will be able to move forward once the legislative issues are resolved on the Michigan side.”

The Minister’s book indicates that the Ambassador Bridge may be able to mount legal challenges to the DRIC project that could “delay...or in the worst case, they could prevent the project from proceeding.”

Masse is concerned about the message this sends on the US side to decision makers considering the viability of this project: “Part of Canada’s message to our American partners has been that we are completely ready for DRIC to proceed. 

The revelation that this is in fact not the case calls that into question and may give opponents of the project new ammunition in their dis-information campaign.  The Government should act immediately to address this potential delay and introduce the appropriate legislation immediately.”