Was Granholm's appearance "orchestrated?" (con't)
Granholm said the offer could remove the financial risk from the cash-strapped state, whose approval is needed to complete DRIC.
“This is obviously a significant offer from the Canadian government,” she said.
But Knollenberg called the whole thing “theatrical.”
He said the governor interrupted the presentation by the state’s transportation director and “within a couple of minutes she was gone.”
But, he said, in the very same presentation, “they had reference to the fact that the Canadian authorities were going to commit to $550 million.”
He called Granholm’s appearance “contrived” and “orchestrated to create a buzz” with the aim of putting pressure on those state legislators, sceptical of the deal, to vote in favour of DRIC.
That vote has to be made by June 1.
Michigan transportation department spokesman Bill Shreck denied the government’s address was manipulative.
“You’ve got to get the governor available to come over (to the hearing),” he said. “Governors and premiers and others aren’t just sitting around their office doing nothing.”
He said discussions on the offer were occurring between high ranking Michigan and Canadian officials almost right up to Granholm’s appearance.
“But the fact was negotiations were going on up until the last minutes.”
As for whether there was reference to the letter in state transportation director Kirk Steudle’s power point presentation even before the governor showed up, Shreck said that while “he may have put it in the presentation thinking (an agreement) might be coming” negotiations weren’t “really done” until the governor announced it and “Mr. Knollenberg wasn’t privy to any of that.”
A presentation of Steudle’s power point presentation to the committee, sent to WindsorOntarioNews.com that same afternoon, also contained the Baird letter offering $550 million.