Friday, February 7, 2014


People dependent on the Fort Erie Race Track can breathe a sigh of relief that an important by-election is happening in the riding and that a provincial election looms in the Spring.  Joyce Morocco, the Liberal candidate for Kim Craitor's former seat made the announcement today that funding is available for the 2014 season of the historic horse track.

While EDTC General Manager Jim Thibert and Fort Erie Mayor Doug Martin can rightly take a bow for their efforts, it probably would not have taken place if it were not for the hotly-contested race in the Niagara Falls riding which includes Fort Erie.

HERE is on article on the subject. From the article:

"Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak says it’s clear the timing of the Fort Erie announcement is tied to next Thursday’s by-elections in Niagara Falls and the north Toronto riding of Thornhill."

Yes Tim, it is poitical. Like when you go on radio ads proclaiming your love of your home town  when the truth is that you abandoned Fort Erie for a riding with a higher profile/ Alas, they all play political games and the stakes are high because of upcoming provincial elections.

While the details are very sketchy, it may boil down to the number of races, rather than racing days that will make up the 2014 horse racing season at Fort Erie.  Speculation is that the track will have 400 races in 2014, similar to the 2013 season.  It is yet to be determined if the proposed Year of the Horse Festival will be part of the package.

The earlier Airbus announcement, plus the racetrack announcement is very good news for Fort Erie no matter how you interpret who is responsible.

Meanwhile, unemployment in Niagara tops the national average at 8%.  That is for all of Niagara, not just Fort Erie. Infact, it is a trend that is felt in many cities and towns all over Canada and the U.S.

I supposed the Four Councillors of the Apocalypse will be blamed in some way for the high Niagara unemployment rate.  (BTW, they were retroactively responsible for the War of 1812.)


Folks, I have to apologize for recent mistakes in The Strand Blog. Boy, was I ever wrong!

  • I'm sorry that I said that Jim Thibert was not at the recent expansion announcement at Airbus.  (How was I to know he had been shunted off with those not on the VIP Tour?)
  • I'm sorry that I criticized Stephen Passero for his attempt at a joke at Premier Wynne's expense. (How was I to know that Passero is a professional comedian?)
  • I'm sorry that I remarked about Mayor Martin being in Florida while we freeze here. (How was I to know that he was meeting with his Fort Erie friends down there?)
  • I'm sorry that I misspelled Lesley North's name. (I copied it from the town's agenda.)
  • I'm sorry that I have so inflamed others that they have to resort to personal attacks against me. (Not really, but it does show how desperate they are to shut me up.)

However, I'm not sorry that I published a first-hand account of the Airbus announcement. In fact, I'll reprint it here:

"The fact that Jim Thibert wasn't hogging the spotlight was very telling. It tells me he didn't have anything to do with this new contract and they were not going to let him take the credit.
I’m sure Wynne remembers the banners at the track and at town hall.  Jim Thibert did not talk to her at all.

The plant manager, Wynne, Regional Chair Burroughs, Federal EDT minister Goodyear and Stephen Passero took a tour of the factory.

All the other dignitaries that were not invited to go on the tour were in the big meeting room mingling and talking with workers from the factory.

John Hill is the acting mayor, but the mayor asked Stephen Passero to speak on his behalf. So disrespectful of the policy in place and it was done to elevate Stephen during an election year. 

Four National TV crews, Four national newspapers and lots of local press were there. When Wynne got up to speak she mentioned that she had had a great tour with the four gentlemen and named them, but when she came to Stephen Passero, she had forgotten his name.  She turned around to him and said, 'I’m sorry I've forgotten your name'.

So, when Passero got up to speak he thanked everyone behind him that had been on the tour.  When he got to Wynne’s name he turned around and said,  'and Premier uh,uh,uh. I’m sorry. Oh, Wynne.'"  

Not funny, Stephen. Not funny at all.