Cornwall Ontario City Councilor on Chem Tanks & Federal Government Cash – JAN 27, 2015

Mark MacDonald NOV 2014Greetings:

I would like to set the record straight regarding the chemical tanks on our waterfront.chem tanks ball park april 2014  The federal government bullied the city of Cornwall and shoved that deal down our throats.  At one point Councillor Rivette had even suggested calling in the army to stop them and now he is talking about rules when it comes to dealing with the feds.

The only rule in politics is that there are no rules in politics, especially when it comes to the federal government owing us money for the damage that they have done to our gorgeous waterfront.

Our city is in desperate need of cash and we need to use every angle possible to get extra money, without raising taxes.  We are short over 5 million dollars in our capital reserves and now is the time to push the feds for help.

Mark A. MacDonald
Councillor, City of Cornwall

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  1. Mark….all nice and fuzzy. Sure the tanks and land are located in Cornwall. BUT the tanks are on land owned by the federal government. The contract is valid with a company that leased that land. As it was pointed out last night if one party walks away from the divestiture talks then the talks are cancelled and we are back to square one. Keep up these requests to be compensated and I wouldn’t be surprised if the federal government walked away from the talks. Then where are we? If you think the city is going to get compensation for these tanks you are dreaming in colour. If the city and MCA want control of the harbour lands they have to play by the federal gov’t rules, not the federal gov’t playing by city or MCA rules.

  2. Author

    Hugger we do not know any of what you said for fact. It has not been independently investigated. It’s simply the word that Bob and Norm passed down. Not even Transport Canada or the Feds are on record as making those statements.

  3. It’s a well known fact that the harbour lands are federally owned. TC did comment last year that they had leased the land to the company that built the tanks. As I’ve said before the federal government does not negotiate in the media. It’s behind closed doors. If you negotiate in the media then things get misconstrued and prices go up. For example if they were to say they wanted a piece of land and it became known and the price would magically be bumped up due to interest that the feds wanted it. As Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy said last night “Right now the federal government isn’t committing to anything,” he said, suggesting studies are still being completed concerning the status of the land. Those studies could take up to six months to complete. And as Councilor Andre Rivette said “You’re playing by the feds rules. You play by their game, or you don’t play at all.”

  4. Author

    Hugger governments work on behalf of the people. There are laws of the land even applicable to the Federal government. Some of those laws can be challenged even. People make mistakes or have funky interpretations of rules or laws. That’s why we have these things called lawyers who spend years arguing and evolving laws. They argue them in these things call courts which are presided over by Judges, some of whom aren’t even political appointees and know something about jurisprudence…..

    just sayin’

  5. Yes, governments do work on behalf of the people. But as Andre Rivette pointed out….”You’re playing by the feds rules. You play by their game, or you don’t play at all.” Federal laws outrank provincial and municipal laws. Yes, a lot of times the feds will abide by Provincial and / or muicipal law. But when the federal government digs in their heels they usually win. Do you think they want to let Cornwall win in the tanks case? If they did then they’d be open to letting cities and towns decide what they could do with their federally owned land. Not a position the federal government would want to be in.

    And BTW…..”just sayin”…..arghhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

    If the tanks had been on Cornwall or privately owned land the tanks could have been stopped. The tanks are on federally owned land. And yes, the people are really the government. But we elect representatives at the municipal, provincial and federal level for a reason; to represent us. Sometimes they don’t do what we want. Then that’s when elections come in to play.

  6. Author

    Hugger, the Feds have to follow the rules too, whatever are applicable. Again, go back and listen and read to who said what and when. 🙂

  7. I think that is a popular (?) misconception. The feds do not have to follow municipal / provincial laws. In most cases they will. But they will go against said municipal / provincial laws if they feel the need.

  8. Author

    They do have to follow other Federal agency laws though. Of course will one Fed agency enforce on another should be one of the questions asked….

  9. Of course they have to follow other federal agency laws. I remember back when I was working for the feds the department I was working for was fined by an agency due to rules that had been broken. The funny thing was that agency fining the department was actually an agency of that department. And they wonder why Joe Average gets confused.

  10. Author

    Well Hugger I know of at least one, and there were probably more, people working for other Federal agencies that off the record commented on how the chem tanks reeked. If you don’t ask the right questions of the right people you don’t get the right answers and in this case I think certain people had zero interest in those answers as they would not help achieve their goal of planting those tanks in our waterfront. And sadly the man who should have asked those questions, Chuck Charlebois, is now on our WFC. Scary.

  11. I never said I agreed with the tanks being there. In fact, I do not like it. But as Councilor Andre Rivette said “You’re playing by the feds rules. You play by their game, or you don’t play at all.” I’m one for following the rules. Without rules you end up with anarchy, not somewhere I’d want to be.

  12. Author

    Hugger I have no problem playing by any set of rules imaginable. The problem is that those that who were in the game chose to duck their heads down and stand down letting our city get nailed.

  13. And this surprises you? It doesn’t / didn’t surprise me.

  14. Author

    And yet you argued and defended Andre’s silly statement….

  15. That was because I know how governments operate and accept that’s how they do business. Is it right? Probably not. But it isn’t easy changing government policy that has been in place for many, many years.

  16. Councilors, mayors and city administrators can all play the blame game and fool some of the people some of the time. I have no respect for individuals who jump to pass the buck while offering no acknowledge of their own shortcomings or lack of involvement.

    This situation (tanks) was a completely avoidable and controllable situation.Just ask a lawyer about “a right of first refusal” and how this would have provided the city with a avenue of control in the matter. Enough said on that as no one at the city knew how to deal effectively with planning (no vision).

    Bottom line is that had the former mayor and council (five members remain) not embroiled themselves in costly payouts and associated legal bills (millions in total unnecessary costs)and all the drama they might have had time to represent the taxpayer instead of their own selfish interests.

    Move on to deal with the bigger picture, accept the consequences of the failure of prior councils, do you jobs and accept the responsibility that follows and for our sake show some leadership. That is some direction that the current administration I believe should consider, but will it happen? I personally will not be holding my breath given the talent pool. Hopefully I have assessed them wrongly, time will tell but excuses are not a good start.

  17. Author

    David to this day the question has still not been publicly asked in council. Who heard about the tanks from TC or Trillium at City Hall and why wsan’t it in their ED report? This reeks of a cover up and if the information was public at the time it occurred chances are the tanks would not be in the ground now. What scary is that the negotiating team is mostly made up of those part of the last council.

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