Sports

Feds, Province Deliver Clear Message: They Don't Respect Our Democracy

By RTH Staff
Published August 06, 2010

The following message was just posted to Our City, Our Future:

The federal government and the government of Ontario have delivered a clear and unmistakeable message to Hamilton: they don't respect us, they don't respect our local democracy, and they absolutely don't respect our right to make our own decisions about our city's future.

On July 31st, our provincial MPPs issued a statement declaring the Pan Am stadium location was a local decision and that they would support whatever site City Council selected.

The truth, however, is that the feds and the province were fine with whatever site we chose, so long as that site was the East Mountain.  Then they realized that the community was simply not going to let that happen.

The West Harbour won.  We were soon going to be celebrating a remarkable grassroots campaign that rose up against private interests to defend the interests of Hamilton and all Hamiltonians.

That was the case until yesterday, Friday August 6th at 5:30 pm, when our provincial MPPs sent a message to the City of Hamilton saying that they, and the federal government, would only provide money for an East Mountain Stadium, completely circumventing our decision-making process and effectively declaring our local democracy worthless.

It's ridiculous.  It's outrageous.  It's un-Canadian and it's intolerable.

As Mayor Eisenberger put it, "The community has spoken loudly and clearly that the West Harbour makes the most sense for the people of Hamilton.  It is obvious that the upper levels of government are ignoring the community and have instead listened to private interests.  The truth is the West Harbour won. The West harbour won the support of the community. The West Harbour won because it is best for the community.  Powerful private interests compelled the federal and provincial governments to move the goal posts. They changed the game so they could win."

It's time to stand up for Hamilton.  City Council is still voting on this issue on August 10, 2010.  We must tell our Mayor and Our Councillors to pass the Our City Our Future motion, reaffirming our democratic right to make decisions about our own community.

What you can do:

1. Send an email to City Council asking them to stand up for Hamilton’s democracy and pass the Our City Our Future Motion at their meeting on August 10th, 2010.  Click this link to compose an email to Council.

2. Express your outrage to your MPPs, Premier McGuinty, MPs, and Prime Minister Harper.  Click this link to compose an email to them.

3. Attend the RALLY taking place today at 3:30 pm in Hess Village.  Enough is enough: it's time to make ourselves heard.

4. Attend the August 10th Committee of the Whole that starts at 9:30 a.m. in the Council Chambers at Hamilton City Hall.  A strong showing of the community at the meeting helps to send a message to Council to pass the motion.
    
5. Make a verbal statement at the August 10th Committee of the Whole.  To do this you need to submit the following form on the City of Hamilton website by the deadline of noon on Monday the 9th.

It's our city, our future, our money, and our rights.  If our elected representatives aren't hearing that clearly yet, perhaps we need to speak a little louder.

34 Comments

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By kourt (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 07:38:25

...the money trail

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/david-braley-acknowledges-gifts-to-harper-campaign/article1575852/

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By lorne (registered) - website | Posted August 07, 2010 at 07:41:43

I hope that all Hamiltonians are as outraged as I am over this heavy-handed action by both the Federal and Provincial Governments. There is no question in my mind that the McGuinty Liberals are totally complicit and in agreement with this decision, despite the attempt by their local functionaries Ted McMeekin and Shophia Aggleonitis to portray the Provincial Government as having had no choice but to go along with the Federal decree.

Here is a copy of the letter I sent to McGuinty last night:

Once more you have provided me with another reason I was right in deciding to withhold my support from the provincial Liberal Party at the next election. Despite claiming for the past few weeks that the location for the Hamilton Pan Am stadium entirely an independent local decision, you have overridden local decision-making and decreed that it must be located on the East Mountain. In addition to that decree, which will wind up costing local taxpayers $80 million more than if it were sited in the West Harbour, according to a staff report delivered to city councillors, I believe you are once more being dishonest with the public as to the reason for your betrayal of your earlier statements of impartiality.

According to your spokesperson Sophia Aggelonitis, the reason for this reversal is that the Federal Government decided it would withhold funding for the West Harbour site, and the Provincial Government cannot go it alone. The only flaw with this fable is that the announcement made it sound as if both the Federal and Provincial Governments were in accord on this issue. Since you stand to lose much owing to taxpayer outrage over this dictate, why would you have gone along with it? Would there not have been more political capital, especially if you hope to have more than one elected Liberal in the area after the next election, had you said that the Province stands behind the independence of Hamilton's decision, and would guarantee the already committed amount of money, provided that a new stadium was actually built for the Pan Am Games?

As well, when questioned by the CHCH news host Nick Dixon about the influence that private interests might have played in influencing the decision, her answer was, as they say in television courtroom dramaa, unresponsive, as she went on to answer a question that wasn't asked, a favorite trick, I have observed, of the contemporary evasive politician.

It is clear to me, and probably to many clear-thinking Canadians, that private interests (a.k.a., Bob Young) reached out to other private interests (a.k.a David Braley, the former owner of the Tiger-Cats, former Pan Am board member, current owner of two other C.F.L. teams, and a newly-appointed Conservative Senator) whose business interests are best served by a football league that includes the Tiger-Cats.

Just as you and your Party evaded responsibility for the cruel lie you perpetrated on Ontarians when colluding with the police to deprive peaceful protesters of their Charter Rights, this latest misrepresentation leads me to conclude that your contempt for the people's right not to be lied to merits the withholding of my vote in the next election, and provides me with the motivation to try to persuade as many as I can, through the various media available to me, to do likewise,

Sincerely, Lorne Warwick

Comment edited by lorne on 2010-08-07 06:44:03

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 07:42:26

City Democracy vetoed by David Braley who owns two CFL teams ....DISGUSTING!

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 07:57:44

Shock. Horror. Disbelief. But only for a moment, it was becoming obvious that the West Harbour would win the day. Sadly, it comes around to Belief. And Comprehension. The rich and powerful of this city, country and provence were not going to let a rag-tag bunch of citizens feel empowerment. Why do you think the G-20 happened? It, like this, was a beat-down of the involved citizen.

We can do better for the West Harbour with our Future Fund. Abort the Pan-Am stadium.

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By Jason (registered) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 07:58:32

I hope the Cats get their precious new fans from Guelph or London because this life-long fan is done.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 08:14:29

If the feds are going to stick their noses I'm and make our decisions for us the feds can cover the city's contribution. No Future Fund money for the east mountain!

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By Jason (registered) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 08:25:26

Not a CENT from city hall.
Let's chat with Katz, Whitestar, Molinaro and others about cleaning the WH with our money. Pretend the Cats and the Feds-province don't exist.

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By Impotence (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 09:26:52

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 09:35:38

I'm very disappointed with both levels of government. I've always said that any stadium is better than no stadium, but this latest stunt has made me change my mind.

I would rather have no stadium than have someone else dictate where it goes.

I've sent e-mails to McGuinty, and Aggelonitis, and I'm debating sending one to Harper.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 10:33:51

There are plenty of cities that don't have a stadium and are very successful. We don't need the Ti-cats or the CFL or a Stadium if they're going to try and dictate every aspect of what we do with it.

We're better off redirecting the funds to programs that make a difference in reducing the rates of poverty and social assistance in this city, and helping children in Hamilton to succeed.

Anyone know if we can still get the velodrome if we turn down the stadium?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 10:55:34

A commenter posted this FDR quote on the Spec blog:

The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism - ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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By thehound (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 11:12:56

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By masked&Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 11:40:09

http://www.thespec.com/Opinions/article/821927

Is it ever refreshing to hear a Hamilton Mayor go out on a limb and take a clear sand on something without the usual political-speak.

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 11:40:41

thehound,

People like you just don't get it.

There is a very distinct possibility now that we will get no stadium at all. The EM was the loser. Thats why the feds stepped in and pulled funding for the West Harbour.

If in fact Dave Braley has anything to do with this mess, he can be charged. If it is found that he asserted any influence over this decision that would be an abuse of his position as a senator for his own personal business interests. It would be a clear conflict of interest. Influence peddling is a very serious offense.

Maybe some one should request an investigation by the auditor general of Canada into his role in this decision.

Comment edited by bigguy1231 on 2010-08-07 10:49:38

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By Easy east (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 11:45:22

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By kevin (registered) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 11:47:05

bigguy123,

If in fact Dave Braley has anything to do with this mess, he can be charged. If it is found that he asserted any influence over this decision that would be an abuse of his position as a senator for his own personal business interests. It would be a clear conflict of interest.

Maybe some one should request an investigation by the auditor general of Canada into his role in this decision.

I hadn't thought about that. GREAT POINT. Put Matt jelly on it!

Tell everybody about the rally. This is crazy!

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By federal cop out (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 11:47:29

I have heard back from my email that says that the province pulled because the Feds did and they were not prepared to be the only partner.

If that is so what caused the Feds to pull out? Has any MP given a reason? We all know what it looks like but without a real reason it is hard to discuss/dispute it.

Ticats wishes are not enough as it is an empty threat anyway. Is our government that lame? I think we know the answer but I would like to here it all the same.

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By Easy West (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 11:51:38

Hey Easy east...your actually Scott Mitchell right? Come on, admit it...I'll but you a Tim Horton T-Cats do-nut if you do.


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By TheLastStraw (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 12:05:02

A very interesting read considering what's transpired over the last 24 hours.

http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/821947

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By thehound (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 12:08:06

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By kdslote (registered) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 14:04:19

Could it be that the moment track and field was pulled from Hamilton the feds and province realized they could no longer justify funding a stadium in Hamilton?
Rather than simply cancelling the funding, they have attached strings to the funding in anticipation that city council will pull their $60 million, resulting in no stadium. While the upper tier governments still look like jerks for limiting funding to the east mountain, history will remember city council as the ones who prevented the stadium from being built.
Wow - this process has made me cynical.
Either way, I hope that council has the balls to withdraw their funding. No stadium is far better than an East Mountain stadium and our future fund will be in tact to serve a true legacy project.

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By thehound98 (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 14:31:53

Perhaps the objective is to rejuvenate the core for a full 365 days a year as opposed to 10 or so football games and perhaps soccer as well.
The veledrome and ampitheatre would be excellent attractions downtown and a decent stadium where ever it is located will be beneficial.
My take is that track was pulled because the distance to the stadium from the athletes village in TO is now seen as a problem. Driving to Oakville everyday from Grimsby tells me that it is a legitimate concern, and the drive from Oakville further east is worse. As well by building the stadium to preserve the sight lines for football enjoyed at Ivor Wynne ,the "legacy" value of the stadium is diminished once the track came out. To purpose build it for soccer/football fits the "legacy" component of any new Hamilton Pan Am stadium , as one of these sports ( soccer )is what is proposed for it's post Pan Am use.

As I have stated before, the West Harbour with the ampitheater and "permanent" velodrome could be enhanced with perhaps a Navy Pier 'ala' Chicago complex (IMAX, Ferris Wheel and shopping concourse complete with eateries.This gem on Chicago's lakefront juts right out into Lake Michigan, and the climate in both our cities shows that it could be done here. As well the pier there is well connected by mass transit.

Perhaps the "Hamilton" can still be raised from the bottom of Lake Ontario near Port Dalhousie, to be displayed there as well (ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY THAT ALSO SLIPPED OUT OF THE CITY'S GRASP.

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 16:00:07

How is it that you think this 'Opportunity' was even in the City's grasp? The word 'grasp' is there, but it wasn't our hand doing the grasping.
The minute it looked like Hamilton might have a hand in the process, that hand was duly slapped.

This was an 'opportunity' in the same sense that kicking yourself in the @$$ for a week is an opportunity to exercise that option & your legs.

All the decisions were made long ago & far away.

This just might be the best thing to happen to Hamilton in the long run! Some honest committed developers, who want to work with the City might arrive, once they know we are Not in anyone's back pocket.

Maybe Oakville wants the Pan Am Stadium? Can we throw in the Ti-Cats too? (I wonder what Sen. Braley would say about that?)

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By Be T (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 16:15:14

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By JimmyS (registered) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 16:32:05

More to come, but there is rumblings that the feds are going to backtrack and say that they never said what was reported them saying yesterday....

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted August 07, 2010 at 17:04:04

I was in Vancouver a few of the years previous to the Olympics, and this is exactly how things worked there. Back-room dealing for millions or billions worth of developments, clearly in opposition to any kind of "rational democratic process".

Witness the financial shambles they're in now: http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/compa...

All this nonsense about how "Hamilton isn't a good place to do business" makes me sick. If this is true, it's because our city has bowed at every opportunity to the business community, and those decisions have been massive mistakes. The destruction of our vibrant downtown by tenement towers, malls and parking lots? The half-billion dollar Red Hill/Linc expressway system? Sprawling suburban wastelands? Abandoned, toxic brownfields? Randle Reef?

If we don't start standing up for quality of life in this town we're never going to see much of it.

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By kourt (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 17:17:32

JimmyS...Mayor Fred also alluded to that at the rally this afternoon. Wow...stranger than fiction...but let's hope it's true.

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By kourt (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 19:44:42


...and this just in from the Spec.

http://www.thespec.com/News/BreakingNews/article/822172

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By Jason (registered) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 19:56:41

I was at the rally. Great turnout and great speeches. Looked to be all regular citezens there, not a room full of friends.

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By dsahota (registered) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 20:32:36

I was at the rally as well and it was a great turnout. I took a stroll down to the Rheem Factory afterwards and then checked out the Mardigras festival at Bayfront. It would have been even more fantastic day if I could have caught a Ti-Cats game as I wandered back towards downtown for dinner.

Let's hope Bob Young muzzles Scott Mitchell and he and the province both come to their senses. If there's anywhere where the Ti-Cats could actually get consistent sell-outs (and presumably leverage that into breaking even), it would be at the West Harbour.

Between Barton, York, Main and King, there's more than enough roadway capacity for those who want a "driveway to driveway" experience and parking all over the place. For those of us who want to use alternative transport, its an ideal location.

And if the Ti-Cats really don't want to play at WH, lets work on getting an MLS team onboard. Gary Lunn's only requirement is that it be used for high-performance athletics after the Pan-Am Games. MLS is growing way faster than the CFL and has the potential to become a first-tier sports league in North America, something the CFL will likely never achieve.

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2010 at 21:50:20

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By Oskee (anonymous) | Posted August 08, 2010 at 02:30:03

Things you can do:

Get over it and realize that the West harbour front is currently not ready to hold a stadium traffic would be a nightmare and not financially suitable for an owner.. Im not crazy about the East mtn site either but as it looks West harbour is long gone and people should try and get COnfederation back on the list, its a 5 min drive by the QEW and you can see both hamilton and on clear days toronto downtown, it can fix up that beach strip and oh most important the ticats LIKE it!!!! the most imp. point!!!.. BTW how come this site seems so pro West harbour and the ticat forums are mostly for east mtn.. Like come on people a stadium is for who the CFL, aka the tigercats if there not happy and dont play there then who does.. Nobody and what an eye sore.. Copps *cough*.. Well since my statements are mostly anti-west harbour I expect my comment score to be low but oh well West Harbour is gone look at the future and other alternatives not dwelling on the past..

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By Be T (anonymous) | Posted August 08, 2010 at 08:42:46

Mr. Meister you speak the truth and then are censored by this group. Time to go and get my seasons tix before they sell out after Tuesday's decision.

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 02:50:19

Well Be T, you will be still sitting in Copp's for This season, no matter what happens on Tuesday. Unless the Ti-Cats intend to abandon ship/stadium in mid season? WHAT! NO GREY CUP!
(sarcasm)

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