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Enbridge executive’s company awarded first crime Bill C-10 $38.5-million prison project

bird enbridge

Executive and company have strong and lucrative ties with the Canadian military and Harper government.

bird enbridge Enbridge executives company awarded first crime Bill C 10 $38.5 million prison project

by: Obert Madondo | @Obiemad:

Opponents of the Conservative government‘s crime Bill C-10 were justified to argue that private companies would profiteer from the new jail system the legislation proposed for Canada. On Tuesday, the Canadian Press reported that a Toronto-based construction company, Bird Construction Inc., has been awarded the contract to build the $38.5-million North East Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Nova Scotia. The 200-bed facility is due to open in 2014.

Turns out there’s a connection between the company and Enbridge Inc.: a man named J. Richard Bird, who also has a strong connection with the federal government. The 62-year old Harvard Business School and University of Toronto graduate served as a member of the Minister of Finance’s Advisory Committee on Financing from 2009 to early 2010.

Enbridge Inc.

Canada’s CFO of the Year in 2010 holds multiple high level portfolios with Enbridge, the company that occupies ground zero in the ongoing debate over Alberta’s vast oil sands. The company’s official websites summarizes Bird’s bio this way:

“As Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Development, Richard Bird is responsible for all financial affairs of the company and corporate planning, mergers, acquisitions and corporate development. Mr. Bird joined Enbridge in 1995 as Vice President and Treasurer after holding senior financial executive positions at a number of other public companies. He has also served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Planning & Development. He led Enbridge’s involvement in winning the gas distribution franchise for New Brunswick, and acquiring the natural gas pipeline and gathering and processing business of Midcoast Energy. Mr. Bird led the acquisition of the public minority interest of Enbridge Consumers Gas, established Enbridge’s 32% interest in Noverco Inc. and led the successful launch of Enbridge Income Fund. Mr. Bird served most recently as Executive Vice President, Liquids Pipelines, including responsibility for initiatives to secure $12 billion of crude oil pipeline development opportunities.”

Bird also serves on multiple boards in “7 different organizations across 11 different industries. He is presently a director of Enbridge Pipelines Inc., Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. and Enbridge Income Fund Holdings Inc. His other affiliations include: Gaz Metro Limited Partnership, Enbridge Energy Partners LP and AltaGas Ltd.

Business Week pegs Bird’s calculated compensation for the fiscal year 2011 at CDN$2,320,921.

Bird Construction Inc.

According to Business Week, Bird “has been a Trustee of Bird Construction Inc. since December 1987.”  The company won the contract to build the North East Nova Scotia Correctional Facility after it “submitted the lowest bid among seven general contractors that pre-qualified in the tender competition”, according to the Canadian Press.  Curiously, the lucrative contract arrives at a time Macleans Magazine is reporting that Enbridge has two new best friends in Canada: Ottawa and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Logo Bird Enbridge executives company awarded first crime Bill C 10 $38.5 million prison projectH.J. Bird founded Bird Construction Inc. in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, in 1920. An elaborate profile on The Canadian Business Journal bills the company as “one of Canada’s largest and most successful general contractors” which is “encroaching upon the status of a Canadian institution…”

On it’s official website, the company brags about its rising profits: “Nineteen consecutive years of profitability and growth in sales from $88 million in 1988 to over $500 million in 2006, positioned Bird Construction for further expansion.”

The company’s high profile clients includes the Canadian military, Petro-Canada and the Manitoba cities of Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie. It has also benefited from provincial Public Private Partnerships (P3s).

Bird Construction dubs its decades-long partnership with the Canadian military “Keeping Canada Safe”, a mantra often repeated in policy pronouncements by the Harper government. The company recently built a new $105-million helicopter complex at Shearwater, Nova Scotia, “for the new naval helicopters that are getting delivered to replace the Sea Kings.”

Crime Bill C-10

The North East Nova Scotia Correctional Facility is the first of numerous multi-million prison projects expected under Bill C-10, the Conservative government’s flagship tough-on-crime legislation. The bill passed into a new law, the Safe Streets and Communities Act, in Parliament in March. Bill C-10 is a suite of crime legislation that will radically stir the Canadian justice system away from the prevention and restorative measures which have proven to be more humane, effective and cheaper for Canada, towards billion-dollar vindictive and exclusionary measures. It favors punishment over compassion and rehabilitation. It will result in a massive and costly overhaul of system, a transformation expected to cost Canadian taxpayers at least $19-billion. Ontario and other provinces are expected to shoulder significant costs, and divert funds from public goods to implement the law.

RELATED: Obert Madondo’s indefinite hunger strike against crime Bill C-10: Letter to the Governor General of Canada

During the debates, legal experts, activists and opposition MPs advanced numerous progressive arguments against Bill C-10. They argued that the bill violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, particularly: the right to equal protection before the law; the right to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment; the right to liberty; and the rights of Canadians convicted overseas. They suggested that the law’s mandatory minimum sentences undermine the judiciary by taking away judges’ discretion. The mandatory minimums and tougher sentences on young offenders nuke futures, they said. They grow tomorrow’s hardened criminals, and meaner streets. The lifting of publication ban on young offenders stigmatizes the offenders for life.

Even tough-on-crime Republicans of Texas warned Canada not to follow America’s failed path of mandatory minimum sentences and massive prison expansions, which cost them billions and drove crime rates up.

But the Harper government brushed aside all these arguments. It used its acquiescing majorities in the House of Commons and Senate to pass the legislation with minimal debate and public input.

The progressives also argued that Bill C-10 would grow mega jails and a war on drugs in Canada, which would punish vulnerable communities where high crime rates are rooted in poverty, lack of opportunity and historical disadvantage. Last March, a group of former high-ranking Canadian justice officials said in the Kingston Whig-Standard newspaper: “There is something unethical with having corporations seeking profits from locking people up.”

RELATED: Unpacking my Canada Crime Bill C10 hunger strike

Private U.S. prison companies

During the heated public debates on the controversial legislation, progressives also argued that Bill C-10 was the beginning of the privatization of Canada’s prison system. Two weeks ago, The Guardian newspaper reported that two of the biggest U.S. private prison companies, Geo Group Inc.and Management and Training Corporation (MTC), had begun exploring opportunities in Canada. In the U.S., both companies “have consistently been the subject of critical media reports due to a long line of legal actions against them for trouble and neglect at some of their facilities.”

GEO, a major player in the global private correctional services industry, lobbied for Bill C-10 through The Parliamentary Group, an Ottawa-based consulting firm linked to Patrick Gagnon, a Liberal MP from 1993 to 1997.

RELATED: Coming to Canada: Prison industrial complex, punishment and profits

The company has profited from 9/11, the economic meltdown and recent anti-immigrant crackdowns in the U.S. It has profited from privatized corrections and detention operations in Australia and the UK. In South Africa, the company is connected with the African country’s unveiling massive prison privatization efforts. In the late 1990s, GEO was involved with Australia’s notorious Woomera Immigration Detention Center, once described by UN officials as a “great human tragedy” and likened to a “Nazi concentration camp.”



Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based activist and progressive political blogger. He's the founder and publisher of The Canadian Progressive blog and numerous other online publications.

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Thank-you Obert Madondo 

The connection between my wrongful imprisonment and my solution to climate change has been made via Mr Bird!

Urgent action required, appears to be the consensus of the most learned climate change advocates! 
The collective wisdom acquired through trial and error test applications of alleged solutions, has been enlightening, and agenda driven rhetoric failed time after time to deliver a replacement technology for the fossil fuel powered electrical generating facilities, which are the primary sources.of GHG the alleged culprits inducing global climatic destabilization!

Most recently 2 documents have corroborated a much maligned document I wrote! 
In My Opinion!

* Leaked Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) the report says that agricultural output may drop by as much as two percent every decade for the rest of this century, compared to what it would have been without the effects of climate change. Demand for food is reportedly expected to rise 14 percent each decade during that time, exacerbating the food supply issue.

* letter, by Kenneth Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution, Kerry Emanuel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, James E. Hansen of Columbia University and Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Adelaide

"To Those Influencing Environmental Policy But Opposed to Nuclear Power"

Unfortunately building conventional nuclear facilities is not realistic due to the costs associated with safety issues.

This leaves you with one option other than Geo-engineering "A New Nuclear Technology"! 
Geo-engineering is the newest subsidy for the fossil fuel industry and is wrought with unknown risks and dangers and therefore not an option.

The New Nuclear Technology I propose is as follows: 
Human Excrement + Nuclear Waste = Hydrogen … … … … … … … … … …

You've tried everything else first and these have failed adding to the urgency of action required!

Dennis Baker 
1. - 998 Creston Avenue

Penticton BC Canada V2A1P9 
@dennisearlbaker @silenced_not

Melissa Munro
Melissa Munro

Well, just as it's supposed to go. Next, it will be Enbridge Bottled Water. And Enbridge Childcare. And Enbridge Environmental Assessment. This is the way they do it in Texas - MacDonnell Douglas suddenly in the business of prisons AND weaponry, and using prisoners as cheap labour. How medieval! Where is my country?

michael banfield
michael banfield

Pretty horrible living under a quasi fasciat megalomaniac

Obert Madondo
Obert Madondo

Essentially, Bill C-10 - and its goal of transforming Canada's justice system - is a federal initiative. It's a financial imposition on the provinces, which will now be forced to divert resources away from public goods to implement it. Ontario and Quebec fiercely opposed the bill on that basis. Also, on the fact that the law would result in "additional inmates" in their overburdened correctional facilities. Once Ontario Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur said: “Ontario taxpayers cannot be expected to pay the full costs for federal anti-crime initiatives...” - Ed.

Jody Scheckter
Jody Scheckter

It is the NDP government of Nova Scotia building and paying for this prison, NOT the federal government..

Ron Oslund
Ron Oslund

Isn't that nice! Won't be long before we are referred to as commodities instead of people... oh wait, I'm sure there are some quarters where this is already the case! There was a very informative news report on MSNBC about the privatized prisons down in the US and, since their viability is based on how many 'felons' they have locked-up, it is sad to see some of the extents to which they are willing to go to get someone in there! I'm afraid many more innocents or minor infractions will be dealt with in the same manner as major crimes and our law enforcement authorities will continue to be driven toward that goal - making money - than actual law enforcement!

Nadine Lumley
Nadine Lumley

Contract KickBacks: Lessons on How Harper’s Reform Party is Run: A “Fat Cat Businessman” gains the trust of a government official. Soon “Fat-Cat Businessman” gives government / politician guy wads of cash in exchange for unfettered access to all the good juicy untendered contracts. If politician man can not find willing and corrupt businessman, in a pinch, the politician will use one of his family, friends or mistresses to start up a company, give them the contact, and then those two start issuing inflated invoices, bam, split the graft, done. Everyone else in society is left scratching their heads trying to figure out why politician guy makes such weird and crazy policy decisions that maken nO SeNsE.

Jaden Ø Hellmann
Jaden Ø Hellmann

One step close to Americanizing our 'free' nation. Sickening.

Suzanne Weiss
Suzanne Weiss

Come to a panel discussion on Mon. July 30 in Toronto, Rm 5150 and discuss what we should do. For more info. TorontoBolivia Solidarity @g mail. com

Damien Bouchard
Damien Bouchard

Very interesting but not that surprsiing. They are gearing up for revolt and anyone who wants to stand for the environment and future generations belong in jail! Makes cents, not sense.

Obert Madondo
Obert Madondo

I'm not giving up on Canada. Never will. In fact, the current corporations-serving politics make things a bit clear for me... Just below the surface of the Harper tyranny lies potentially the greatest country in the world: Canada. Harper will be out of office some day. Soon, I hope. And yet, I'm deeply concerned about whether we'll be able to undo the damage. I've yet to hear the opposition talking about reversing Bill C-38, Bill C-10, etc. Or limiting the growing influence of corporations. As you clearly point out with your example of MacDonnell Douglas, these corporations eventually become entrenched in the political process. Those based on energy and resources usually turn states into "petro-states." - Ed

Gerald Lasalle
Gerald Lasalle

They are not worrying about making $en$e......everything they do is driven by $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$'s AND A LOT OF $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ are involved....

Damien Bouchard
Damien Bouchard

Yes it's an abstraction indeed. But we have so many distractions to keep our attention away from that truth. FREEDUMB doesn't exist. Never has. Never will. #wisdumb? :P

Lili Bain
Lili Bain

hate HARPER. godddddddddddddddddddddddddd.

Keith Zwicker
Keith Zwicker

Freedom isnt really free!! It costs a buck or two! :(