canada

flickr user Sara Long / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


Your dollar is worth more.

At least, it is in Canada.

Just four years ago the exchange rate meant it took more than one U.S. dollar to get a Canadian one, but now you can get a Canadian dollar for only 77 cents American.

FLICKR USER U.S. EMBASSY, JAKARTA / FLICKR

The relationship between the United States and Canada has been a figurehead of sorts for international cooperation and friendship between two neighbors.

Efforts to get the New International Trade Crossing Bridge up and running, however, continues to test that international friendship.

Jack Lessenberry, Michigan Radio’s political analyst, recently wrote an opinion piece for Dome headlined, “Cross-Border Chivalry on Life Support.”

This hasn’t been a good week for Matty Moroun, when it comes to his battle to hang on to his monopoly over transporting heavy freight across the Detroit River.

Moroun, who will be 88 in June, owns the Ambassador Bridge, which itself is 85-years-old. Twenty-five percent of all trade between Canada and the United States comes across this bridge.

A drawing of where the New International Trade Crossing will be located.
MI DOT

Sometimes bigger is better. Sometimes it’s not. This week, Jack Lessenberry and Zoe Clark discuss what an earlier presidential primary might mean for Michigan, the state’s ever-expanding tax credit bill and a big step toward a new international bridge.


It now seems certain that we will have the needed new bridge over the Detroit River.

That’s because Canada is going to pay for it – all of it – up front -- even the U.S. government’s inspection and customs plaza, something that should have been Washington’s responsibility.

That became officially clear with an agreement announced yesterday. 

Canada, which is already picking up all Michigan’s costs, will pay for building our customs plaza too, which will amount to an estimated $250 to $300 million. 

Oli Haukur / Flickr

 

How far would you go to try to make some money?

If you're Annie Edson Taylor of Bay City, you decide to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel!

113 years ago this month, on her 63rd birthday, Annie Edson Taylor became the first recorded person to go over the Falls and live to tell the tale.

Sherman Zavitz is the official historian for the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week’s attack on the Canadian Parliament building raises questions about security at all government buildings.

On Wednesday, a lone gunman shot and killed a soldier standing guard at the national war memorial in Ottawa. The gunman was later shot and killed inside the parliament building.  

User: marymactavish / Flickr

A recent report from the Council of Canadian Academies finds our Canadian neighbors have a pretty fine grasp of science. 

The panel has commissioned a nationwide survey of how Canadians relate to science. Compared to similar surveys in other countries, Canada ranked first in science literacy: 42% of Canadians are able to read and understand newspaper stories detailing scientific findings.

Despite our shared border, Canadians seem to be ahead of the U.S. in understanding and appreciating science topics.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan congressman is the latest to stand up against plans for a nuclear waste storage facility on the Ontario side of Lake Huron.

Ontario Power Generation wants to store its nuclear waste at the site which is less than a mile from the Canadian shore of Lake Huron. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The owner of the Ambassador Bridge is asking a judge to stop the U.S. Coast Guard from giving a permit for a new bridge connecting Michigan and Ontario.

Lawyers for the bridge company say it has an exclusive right to provide a bridge between the U.S. and Canada. It wants to build its own second span. The Detroit Free Press says a federal judge in Washington could hold a hearing early in April.

White House

It’s been 20 years since the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect. It drastically changed the economic relationship between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

While signing the bill into law, then-President Clinton said, “NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs.”

So, let’s spend the next little while taking stock of NAFTA, and what it’s meant particularly to Michigan, it’s economy, the auto industry, and the state’s workers.

Patrick Anderson, the CEO of the Michigan-based Anderson Economic Group, and Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California Berkeley who specializes in labor and the global economy joined us today. 

http://buildthedricnow.com/

  

Remember all the political wrangling over the "New International Trade Crossing"? After that feverish campaign in the fall of 2012, where Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Maroun failed to convince Michigan voters to give him a monopoly of the Detroit River crossing between Detroit and Canada, and after Canada agreed that it would indeed pay the lion's share of the $2.1 billion it'll cost to complete the bridge – after all of that – why has there been no more movement toward getting the new bridge built? Michigan Radio's political commentator Jack Lessenberry explains what's up. *Listen to the audio above.

User: dmealiffe / flickr.com

If you live in Michigan, particularly the Eastern Upper Peninsula and the Southeast Lower Peninsula, chances are high that you’ve crossed the border into Canada. We certainly know that our Canadian neighbors are heading over here in hefty numbers. A check of license plates at Metro Detroit shopping centers makes a strong case.

Our next guest makes a case for taking these two large countries and merging them into one. She believes the two would become much stronger for joining together.

She is currently Editor at Large at the National Post, a blogger for the Huffington Post, and a Distinguished Professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto. Her nine earlier books focused on politics, immigration, economics and finance and white collar crime.

Her newest book is “Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country.”

Author Diane Francis joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Canada is dumping its garbage in Michigan. We took a look at why it's so cheap to haul trash over the border and the political reasons making it hard to stop.

And, we celebrated the 80th anniversary of the drive-in movie theater. Did you know Michigan once had more than 100 drive-ins? Today just a hand full are still in operation.

Also, Amtrak is making some improvements. We spoke with Tim Hoeffner of the Michigan Department of Transportation about what Michigan train passengers can expect.

And, Michael Stern from Roadfood.com, and frequent guest on The Splendid Table, stopped by to tell us about his recent trip to the Upper Peninsula and the culinary marvels he found up there.

But, first on the show, Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress are still at odds over federal spending on this, the 14th day of the partial government shutdown. In weekend discussions, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell could not reach a deal to raise the nation's borrowing authority. Stocks are lower as the nation moves to a potentially disastrous default on its debt. Democratic Congressman Sander Levin joined us today to talk about the impasse.

Flickr

Michigan is known for its lakes, sparkling rivers, forests, and campgrounds. And for being a great, cheap place to dump your trash, at least if you’re a Canadian waste hauler.

Consider this: It costs $64 to dump a ton of trash in a landfill in Windsor, over $100 in Ottawa, and on the U.S. side of the border, you’d pay $12.99 a ton in Wisconsin.

Here in Michigan? It costs 21 cents per ton.

And that Canadian trucker hauling the trash pays just five dollars to cross at the border.

It’s a small wonder that Michigan has become a mighty attractive destination for Canadian businesses looking to get rid of their trash.

Just why is our state so ‘cheap and easy’ when it comes to Canadian trash?

Barry Rabe teaches public and environmental policy at the University of Michigan at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and he joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Canada is dumping its garbage in Michigan. We took a look at why it's so cheap to haul trash over the border and the political reasons making it hard to stop.

And, the rise of the pop-up: Why temporary businesses are springing up and finding success.

And, we spoke with Jacob Hirsch, the boy from Bloomfield Hills who won a trip to the White House to have lunch with First Lady Michelle Obama.

Also, Jake Miklojcik joined us to talk about why Detroit casinos are seeing a drop in revenue.

But first we talked about Friday's decision by the Michigan Supreme Court. The court said it would not make an early ruling on the constitutionality of the state's new right-to-work law. Governor Snyder had asked the high court to decide the issue before the case made its way through lower courts.

The law was passed last December during a very controversial lame-duck legislative session. Under the law, workers cannot be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

Chris Gautz, the capitol correspondent for Crain's Detroit Business, joined us today to help break it down.

great-lakes.net

A three day conference is getting underway in Marquette today, looking at the unique needs of cities on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.

More than a hundred American and Canadian cities are part of the group organizing the conference.

Dave Ulrich is the executive director of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.

He says this year’s conference is focusing on the effects of climate change on Great Lakes cities, particularly on water levels on the lakes.

bbmcshane / flickr

DETROIT (AP) - A Detroit judge says a lawsuit can go forward against federal authorities accused of violating the rights of Muslims at U.S.-Canada border crossings.

Federal Judge Avern Cohn says he's not ruling yet on the merits of the case. But he denied a request by the government to dismiss it Tuesday.

Some Detroit-area Muslims sued last year, saying they've been held at gunpoint, handcuffed and repeatedly questioned about their religion when returning to the U.S. from Canada. Some have given up on crossing the border.

Cohn says the government might come up with valid reasons for pulling Muslims aside for additional questions at the border. But he says that's not the key issue at this stage of the litigation.

Google Earth Engine

Earlier this week, I posted on the power of Google's "Earth Engine," an online tool that lets you fly back in time and space to see how land has changed.

TORONTO (AP) - Earthquakes Canada is reporting a 5.1-magnitude earthquake just west of Ottawa that was felt as far away as Toronto.

The federal agency that monitors earthquakes revised its original report, saying it registered a 5.1-magnitude temblor with an epicenter located about 21 kilometers (13 miles) northeast of Shawville, Quebec, about an hour's drive outside Ottawa.

It was felt as far west as Toronto, Canada's largest city, but no damage was immediately reported.

Concept NITC Drawing
NITC

A newly awarded presidential permit will allow Michigan to wrap up an agreement with Canada to build a new international bridge. The bridge will connect Detroit and Windsor-Ontario. Michigan, U.S. and Canadian officials cheered the news today. 

GM

General Motors announced today that the next generation of the Camaro will be built at the Lansing Grand River (LGR) Assembly Plant. The Cadillac CTS and ATS are currently assembled at the Lansing plant.

The move could take a few years, according to the Detroit News.

The current model Camaro is built in Oshawa, Ontario.

The announcement sparked concerns that the move would lead to job losses at the plant in Canada.

Dana Flavelle of the Toronto Star reports the effect on jobs is not known yet.

“At this stage, there’s no immediate impact on employment. In the longer term, we really can’t speculate at this time,” GM Canada spokesperson Faye Roberts said in a conference call with reporters.

The timing will depend on when the product life cycle of the current generation Camaro comes to an end. “We haven’t said a specific time,” Roberts said.

In a statement, GM said "lower capital investment and improved production efficiencies" were reasons for their decision.

Gov. Snyder / Twitter

Governor Rick Snyder is in Canada today to talk trade and regional cooperation.

He's in Toronto to attend a conference on public-private partnerships. The former business executive and investor relies heavily on agreements with the private sector to meet his goals.

Snyder is expected to announce an agreement with other Great Lakes states on a Canadian trade office. Canada is Michigan’s biggest international trading partner.

The governor’s economic plans envision a thriving Chicago-to-Montreal trade zone with Michigan as a center point.
    
The governor will also meet with his Ontario counterpart, Premier Dalton McGuinty.

The subject of a new Detroit-Windsor bridge will be part of their discussion. Michigan voters just rejected a ballot question that could have hindered the project.

After weeks of court battles, the Michigan ballot is now final, and in addition to a boatload of candidates, we will be asked to decide six statewide ballot proposals.

One of these is designed to prevent anyone from building a new bridge to Canada, no matter who, what or why, without first holding a statewide vote of the people. That may sound sensible.

But it is anything but. This is the result of a private monopoly spending millions of dollars in order to keep a stranglehold on trade.

Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Detroit Mayor hires firm to stop consent agreement challenge

The Detroit Free Press calls the case"the City of Detroit vs. the City of Detroit."

Mayor Dave Bing has been trying to convince city council to join him in stopping the city's lead attorney from going forward with a legal challenge against the city's consent agreement with the state. Now he's hired lawyers of his own:

Mayor Dave Bing, exasperated by the lead city attorney's unwillingness to drop her challenge of the financial deal meant to spare Detroit from the appointment of an emergency manager, has brought in hired legal guns to try to quash her complaint.

Bing has hired attorneys from Miller Canfield -- the same law firm the mayor contracted to broker the consent deal with the state and a bond agreement that kept the city financially afloat -- to file a motion to intervene against the city's top lawyer, Krystal Crittendon, people familiar with the decision told the Free Press on condition they not be named because they're not authorized to speak on the issue.

Crittendonwill be in Ingham County Circuit  Court today where she's expected to request an expedited decision in the case.

Protests in Lansing over potential abortion legislation

Protestors opposing a set of bills aimed at putting restrictions on abortion were in Lansing yesterday. MPRN's Rick Pluta reported protestors said the bills would force some clinics that provide an array of services to women to shut down.

They were protesting a group of anti-abortion bills to be voted on this week by the House. The legislation would outlaw terminating a pregnancy after 20 weeks. It would also require clinics to be inspected, and impose new restrictions on abortion providers.           

“Frankly, these bills terrify me,” said Susie Simons of East Lansing.

Announcement on new bridge to Canada expected

Since he's become Governor, Rick Snyder has been pushing for a second bridge linking Detroit to Canada. Now it appears plans for that second bridge are coming together.

From the Toronto Star:

A deal to build a second bridge linking Windsor and Detroit will be announced this week, sparking hope that the chronic congestion at Canada’s busiest border crossing will soon be relieved.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to join with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder on the Windsor waterfront for the official announcement on Friday, a source told the Toronto Star Tuesday.

user Eja2k / wikimedia commons

The Canadian Parliament is close to passing a bill to force striking railway workers in Canada back to work.  The Canadian Pacific rail strike threatens to disrupt the flow of many key auto parts into the U.S. The legislation would require workers to return to the job later this week.  The Canadian Teamsters union plans to protest this afternoon at the nation's capital in Ottawa.

railroad tracks
Ian Britton / creative commons

A strike by Canadian railway workers threatens to slow or shut down production at some U.S. auto plants.

5,000 Canadian Pacific Railway workers walked off the job early Wednesday because of a dispute with management over a new contract.

Large numbers of finished vehicles and auto parts come to U.S. factories via Canadian Pacific.

Ford and General Motors say they don't expect the strike to affect production - at this time.

Chrysler says it is actively working to mitigate any impact to its operations through alternative shipment methods, such as trucks.

The longer the strike goes, the greater the chance it could affect the U.S. auto industry.  The Canadian Labor Ministry says it has the authority to intervene and will do that if the two sides haven't reached a deal by Monday.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Governor Rick Snyder declined to say a lot about his recent meeting with Canadian officials about the proposed new Detroit-Windsor bridge.

The high level, closed door meeting took place in Windsor on Thursday. 

Snyder would only say it was a “good meeting”.

"We continue to have dialogue…and as I’ve said from day one…I’m continuing to work on getting a bridge built," says Snyder,  "Because it is in the interest of more and better jobs in Michigan.  It’s about more and better trade.   And so we’re going to continue working on getting the new international trade crossing done.”

The governor says he hopes to make progress on the bridge project in “the near term.”

The owners of the Ambassador Bridge have been funding a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign against the proposed new bridge.

Last year, the Michigan legislature rejected a proposal that would have had Canada loan Michigan a half billion dollars for its share of the construction costs.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The owners of the Ambassador Bridge are once again attacking Governor Snyder’s  push to build a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.  

The company says experts it hired say the proposed bridge would not attract the billions in federal money promised by the governor and would end up costing Michigan taxpayers money.  

Matt Moroun is the vice chair of the Ambassador Bridge company.   He says "building a new bridge to Canada will not garner any more federal funds for highways in Michigan…then what Michigan gets ordinarily from the feds every year.”  

Jim Wallace / Flickr

State Republican leaders say they hope to move forward in October with a proposal to build a publically owned second bridge between Detroit and Canada.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley says a second bridge would benefit businesses throughout the state.

"Those entities that make things here, be they automobiles, furniture, chemicals, cereal or baby food or even Slinkys, all these things we make in Michigan, and agricultural products as well, Canadians buy more of that than anybody else in the world," said Calley.

He says a publically owned bridge that connects major highways on both sides of the river would keep exports streaming into Canada from Michigan.

Calley was on Mackinac Island over the weekend for a Michigan Republican Party conference.

He lobbied for the bridge project while there saying the bridge project is a conservative one that will be attractive to Republicans and Democrats alike.

The proposal has been unpopular with some Republicans who think a second bridge should be built by a private company. The owner of the existing bridge in Detroit was also at the Michigan Republican Party conference on Mackinac Island to try to influence lawmakers oppose a publically owned bridge.

Calley says he and Governor Rick Snyder are not deterred by campaigning against the project by the company that owns the existing bridge in Detroit.

"[We're] making very steady progress and feel good about the track that it's on right now," said Calley. "It's really always been more a matter of getting through all of the garbage on the TV ads, and simply articulating what the proposal is."

Calley says one of the biggest hurdles they face is countering the influence of the multi-million dollar ad campaign. The campaign is paid for by the owners of the existing Ambassador Bridge.

Pages