City rightly sticks to its guns on fourplex housing densification
WindsorOntarioNews.com February 5 2024
Kudos to the City of Windsor for sticking to its guns by rejecting a federal plan to create fourplexes on single residential lots. That means the city will lose out on $30 million in federal funding from a $4 billion Housing Accelerator Fund to address the housing crisis. It was a tug of war from the start between the city and Ottawa. Unlike a host of other cities Windsor did not want all residential areas to be subject to intensified housing, no doubt part of a progressive housing scheme to limit suburban sprawl and “urbanize” suburbs, highly controversial in the United States where critics have said it’s a war on single family housing and the middle class. Housing Minister Sean Fraser didn’t use the word progressive but did use “ambitious.” The city didn’t reject the scheme outright. It put forward a compromise, agreeing to fourplexes in denser areas of the city such as along transit routes and in commercial and mixed-use sites. Some have suggested fourplexes and four storey buildings wouldn’t be built in solidly detached neighbhourhoods anyway. But, if online comments are any indication, most people feared this creeping densification. Look what happens now when an apartment building is proposed even close to a low-rise community – scores of residents oppose it for reasons like blocked sight lines and lack of privacy. It’s interesting that Windsor, a working-class city, would reject densification. And the feds were probably surprised based on their class perceptions. But that’s a lack of understanding of Windsor, the same misapprehension of local urbanists who have campaigned against “sprawl” and the new suburban regional hospital. Windsor may be working class but it’s the time-honored “aristocracy of the working class” – well paid autoworkers who live not a traditional working class life (read apartment or tenement buildings) but in suburban homes with swimming pools, owning boats and cottages and taking Caribbean vacations. The city didn’t reject densification outright only where it thought it made sense. But the feds, typically uncompromising on this and so many other – read, ideological - issues, rejected it.
People are suffering but municipal taxes just keep going up and up
WindsorOntarioNews.com January 22 2024
The post-Covid environment has seen numerous loss of jobs. Businesses have struggled - witness the current difficulty paying back CEBA loans. Inflation last year was almost 4.2 per cent. Homeowners are petrified about mortgage rate increases. More and more people line up at food banks. So why is it municipal governments continue to increase taxes? From one end of Essex County to the other municipalities are planning hikes of anywhere from 3.93 per cent (Windsor) 5.5 (LaSalle) 5.07 (Essex) almost 6 (Lakeshore) and more than seven per cent (Amherstburg and Kingsville). None are as high as the controversial 10.5 per cent increase in Toronto. Nevertheless, people are hurting and municipalities seem not to care. Taxes always increase – never decrease - regardless of wider social ills. Nor is ever a voice raised by a municipal councillor against. Municipalities like Windsor have tried to keep increases below inflation but have been criticized for even doing that. Critics say taxes must increase so government can serve a growing population. But according to the Fraser Institute, in 2020 some 37 per cent of municipal spending went to wages, the next highest amount 28 per cent for goods and services. “Clearly, municipal wage rates and employment numbers are major drivers of municipal spending,” it said. Few if any politicians are brave enough to call for salary cuts even though it’s well-known public-sector salaries are higher than those in the private sector. But there is an easier way to cut that would generate less blowback. Secondstreet.org suggests cutting salary grids before employees are hired. “Instead of starting with a salary of $80,000 and a generous pension, clerical workers could earn, say, $73,000 and a more modest pension — defined contribution, not defined benefit. Changes like this could save billions of dollars over the next decade.” Here here! That would put a sever dent in rising budgets, keep taxes at least below inflation and put money back in long suffering taxpayers’ pockets.
Protesters should pay with their wallet
WindsorOntarioNews.com January 8 2024
The United Kingdom government is considering charging protesters for police overtime and other extra civil protection in the wake of the ongoing and very disruptive pro-Palestinian/Hamas and anti-Israel/Jewish protests taking place in that country. What an idea. Protesters have blocked streets, and ventured off public spaces where they otherwise have a right to demonstrate. Moreover, there has been vandalism – sometimes quite violent like in Canada with shootings and firebombing – mainly directed at Jewish institutions and businesses. Yet police response has been almost laughable (in Toronto the other day a cop was seen bringing Tim Hortons coffee to protesters) with the illegal actions vastly ignored (blocking of the Avenue Road - Hwy. 401 bridge) and no or few arrests. Let’s get this straight. If you’re going to block streets and sidewalks, highways, and public transit, you should not only be legally charged but must pay the costs of extra policing. This enforcement should be right across the board regardless of protest group. Freedom Convoy anti-vax truckers disrupted traffic in downtown Ottawa, in Alberta and of course Windsor. They should pay – monetarily – for the disruptions. In Britain Just Stop Oil protests have long “slow marched” down, or literally glued themselves to, public streets, blocking commuters. They should pay. Canadian native protesters have barricaded highways and rail lines. Get out your wallets. Everyone has a right to protest but on public property or designated areas and in a way that isn’t unruly. In other words, stay in your lanes – literally. Or hand over the dough.
Photo: CP 24
Late voices to rescue bandshell
WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 4 2023
What is it that certain city councillors and civic groups don’t get? The Jackson Park bandshell, as venerable as it is historically hosting hundreds of concerts and events, has been rotting away for years in an obscure area of the central city park. In fact, few people, if any, have even cared about the bandshell, let alone known of its existence. And, by a weird twist of real estate fate, the dilapidated structure - not even safe for city crews to spend time on – actually fronts neighbouring public school board land making it impossible as a place to hold concerts. The bandshell’s fate was almost sealed months earlier when the matter came before a city council committee. A decision was made not to proceed with a $100,000 feasibility study – though a public consultation - and then perhaps spend millions on remediation costs. That doesn’t include making a land deal with a tone-deaf school board which hadn’t shown much interest on previous occasions when approached by the city. But now, out of the woodwork, come last minute voices who want to preserve the structure because of its historical significance, especially to the city’s Black community. The performance stage was, after all, the centerpiece of years of Emancipation Day celebrations and even staged numerous Motown acts in the 1960s on their rise to the big time. But why the clamour now and not before? Perhaps because of racialized politics within the past two years in the wake of the George Floyd killing and Black Lives Matter movement? Regardless, city council has narrowly committed to spending $100K for the feasibility study. All we can say is, good luck – they might need it.
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib must go, but where is the critical Detroit media?
WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 19 2023
Michigan US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is truly a disgrace. If she had any dignity she would resign. And yet Michigan media voices are virtually mum on one of the most divisive elected officials today in America, who happens to be from their hometown. Why? Tlaib started her political career in the Michigan Legislature and was a firebrand then. It was only a matter of time till she graduated to the US House; we all knew that. And she hadn’t wasted any time being one of the most outspoken members of the Democratic Party’s far left, a member of the so-called “Squad.” But it’s her remarks on the current Israel-Hamas conflict which are truly obnoxious and show Tlaib the odious individual she is. For example, Tlaib early on clang to the false narrative that Israel sent a misfired rocket into the al-Ahli hospital despite it being proven it came from the Palestinian side. She has constantly used the refrain “From the River to the Sea Palestine will be free” which is a call for the genocide of the Jewish people, hardly the two-state solution most enlightened people would advocate. The US House of Representatives even took the rare step of censuring her 234-188 for “promoting false narratives regarding the October 7, 2023 Hamas attack on Israel and for calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.” And her latest obscenity is reportedly being a member of a secret Facebook group which praised Hamas for the Oct. 7 massacre of 1200 innocent Israelis and kidnapping more than 200 others. Despite all this, Michigan editorial voices have been silent, at least in the outlet WON follows, The Detroit News. For example, there has not been one editorial or opinion columnist criticizing Tlaib. There have been some defending Israel and critiquing Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer for taking equivocal stances and one showing how the Democrat Party could lose votes for not speaking out forcefully enough against Israel’s counterattack against Gaza. One hates to be conspiratorial but it’s enough to make you think there’s a cozy relationship between Tlaib and members of the Michigan media going back to her Lansing days. The News’s lack of disdain on such a major issue by a local politician so obviously in the national spotlight is otherwise hard to understand.
From one bad idea to one good one
WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 5 2023
It’s hard to believe city councillors come up with these ideas. But the one by Ward 8 councillor Gary Kaschak is a good example, one which can only be met by the response “duh!” In yet another attempt to bolster downtown Kaschak wondered if the city’s very successful – more than 100,000 attend - Christmas Bright Lights Windsor festival could be moved from Jackson Park to the heart of the city. Right off the bat anyone with any sense could tell the councillor how impractical such a proposal would be. Where is the space? Where is the parking? How could this be accommodated when downtown is a destination for umpteen other purposes, from employment to retail to hotels and entertainment. City staff enumerated many of these obstacles, in very straight polite bureaucratic terms, of course. But reading between the lines even some of these civil servants might have been stifling guffaws. Among the issues – the event set up takes months and would be “dangerous” because main streets would have to be closed. Fencing would also be needed around the entire site – something “problematic.” Nor, um, is there enough electrical juice in the core to power the thousands of lights in the festival. And, oh yes, that parking problem. At least at Jackson Park there are two free parking lots. Therefore, in understated terms, concluded the administrative report, “it is recommended the event remain at/Jackson park at this time.” And just off the top, why kill something that indeed has been successful - an example of undermining with good intentions. A much better proposal was put forward by downtown councillor Renaldo Agostino, to string colourful LED lights year-round along Ouellette Avenue, to give the neighbourhood vibrancy and drawing power.
Photo: City of Windsor
Blaming the victims writ large
WindsorOntarioNews.com October 21 2023
It is like a world gone mad. Some 1400 Israelis are slaughtered at a New Age music festival and in nearby kibbutzim two weeks ago and millions of people around the world come out and demonstrate – not against these horrible atrocities amounting to a modern-day pogrom and akin to anything seen since the Second World War, but in support of the people who committed the killings, the terrorist group Hamas. It’s a counterintuitive response that enters the annals of the absurd or surreal or something conjured in deepest darkest dystopian science fiction, and yet it’s occurring. There is no modern precedent for it. Even if you protest the retaliatory Israeli bombing of Gaza targetted at terrorists and support the Palestinian cause and a two-state solution – the supposed be all and end all to seek a lasting peace in the Mideast – these protests have gone well beyond that. What has been the catch all slogan? “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free.” That means eliminating the state of Israel, guaranteed by the United Nations in 1947. (The UN also offered the Palestinians a state but they rejected it.) Moreover, there has been absolutely no nuance or equanimity, no defending Palestinians’ right to exist while deploring the atrocities – some of the most hideous (burning people alive, chopping babies’ heads off, kidnapping grandmothers) ever committed. There have even been Swastikas at some rallies. This is akin to “blaming the victims” writ large. As for those victims, the Israelis - and sympathetic Jewish communities around the world - their response has been mute or have taken solace in quiet vigils and are likely cowering and keeping the lowest profiles lest they be the targets of anti-Semitic attacks, which have also been occurring. There have been a few people waving the Israeli flag but just a few. In Windsor, we were subjected to another absurdity of modern policing, all of a piece for the upside-down world in which we’re now living. A man waving an Israeli flag was arrested, not because he attacked the pro-Palestinian demonstrators but after he had been attacked by some of them, in order, police said, to “de-escalate” the situation.
Meet Canada's aristocratic class
WindsorOntarioNews.com October 9 2023
There really is a ruling class in Canada, similar to the Ancient Regime in France before the 18th century revolution, exemplified by Marie Antoinette’s “Let Them Eat Cake” (though she actually didn’t say that). No, there isn’t the incredible deprivations that existed then. But, if you examine how politicians live and spend our money, you’d have to come to the conclusion that there is a high-flying class in this country that isn’t touched by the day-to-day financial realities of average Canadians, especially in this time of accelerated inflation. Two reports from last week demonstrate this. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s trip to Tofino in August cost us $286,000, and his three vacations over the past year totaled $678,000, according to Canadian Taxpayers Federation research. This follows the report that Governor General Mary Simon chalked up almost $120,000 on dry-cleaning since 2018 despite having in-house laundry staff. As well both Simon and her not-lamented predecessor Julie Payette spent almost $90,000 on new clothes. And to add insult to injury Simon has also received a $48,000 pay increase since the start of the pandemic, now hauling in almost $352,000 annually. Not a bad gig. Meanwhile the imperious Simon spent nearly $25 million last year including a $1.2 million junket to Dubai and $71,000 in limousines in Iceland. There was much fanfare a week ago for the new Speaker of the House of Commons, who replaced Anthony Rota, he the sponsor of the Ukrainian Nazi-affiliated soldier infamy. But MP Greg Fergus got a bump up of salary of $92,800 on top of his MP income of $194,600. The Opposition Leader also gets the same amount, as do cabinet ministers. Talk about a trough. If you’re a leader of a third party like the NDP and Bloc Quebecois your take home pay is an additional $65,800. And if you happen to be a Parliamentary Secretary – an assistant to a minister – like Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk – it’s another $18,800, according to the Parliament of Canada website. And don’t forget, many of these officials travel extensively, are feted, and stay among the better hotels. Meanwhile the median after tax income in Canada in 2021 was $68,400, down 0.9 per cent from the previous year, and those living below the poverty line increased by 7.4 per cent, according to StatsCan. Let them eat jelly doughnuts!
The green police are just about here
WindsorOntarioNews.com Sept. 25 2023
It beggars’ belief that the local solid waste authority wants to move regular garbage pick-up from every week to every two weeks. The fact there hasn’t been more outrage about this can’t possibly be because the vast majority of households are well on board with this, can it? (Any move is likely two years away.) More likely it’s because there hasn’t been enough public attention paid to it. (Of course, politicians have been rather quiet on the issue.) Yes, it’s laudable to cut down on waste, and a way to keep our landfill in operation years longer. But most people, especially with busy families, require weekly garbage pickup simply because day to day living generates a certain amount of common waste. The authority argues that introducing “organics” pickup – yes, another recycling bin like cities in the GTA – will have the magical effect of reducing regular garbage. And seemingly, counter intuitively, this would be a weekly pickup, as if people generate more organic waste than non-organic (organics include paper toweling and pet waste). A consultant’s report says this indeed has worked elsewhere. But even the consultant acknowledges there could be problems – in apartment buildings, with refuse like babies’ diapers, during hot summer months and odours – conceding special reservations could be made for extra pickups. Great – more bureaucracy. What’s more insidious is the demand that trash would have to be thrown in clear plastic bags. This is supposed to “increase diversion” because people will be more aware of what they’re throwing out. But what about privacy? A major reason for clear pastic bags is, yes, for authorities to spy - “monitor for compliance” – on what's in your bags. Here come the garbage police! Years ago, there was a TV commercial lightheartedly making fun of the “green police.” That day, and increasing Big Brotherism, has almost arrived.
Trudeau's stuck plane a metaphor
WindsorOntarioNews.com Sept 11 2012
The Trudeau gang’s plane being stuck in India could be a metaphor for the last sputtering gasp of this government, down steeply in the polls and with no viable plans to tackle the problems of the day and the mess they created through once unimaginable spending and massive irrational immigration – housing, inflation, taxes (I.e., the carbon one). Yes, the long-suffering electorate actually has to wait another two years before the government must call an election unless the Liberals' simpering NDP proper-uppers pull the coalition plug first, rather doubtful since they are even less popular and have less money and willpower to fight an election (have you heard any viable ideas from Jagmeet Singh lately?). From all reports the Poilievre convention came off without a hitch and the reborn leader (without nerdy glasses and suit but he should do something about the hair) looks on the tee to win perhaps a landslide, though two years is a long time. It can’t some soon enough. The Tories not only should repeal the carbon tax but confront a slate of issues the feds and provinces seem to lame to tackle – repealing the ban on fossil fuel powered cars, ending the attacks on resource-producing provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan and giving them greater production rights, allowing parents to be informed of their kids’ gender questions, putting an end to gun violence in cities like Toronto by reforming bail and getting serious assault weapons off the streets, and creating a tax environment to allow companies to invest and grow the economy. Trudeau‘s plane can just as well be stuck in India, since every day he’s away from Canada the less damage his government can does.
For housing growth, cut immigration
WindsorOntarioNews.com August 29 2023
Windsor, like the rest of Ontario and Canada, needs to come to grips with its housing shortage. While not as acute here as in other places the region still has a significant deficit of new residences. The provincial government wants Windsor to build 108 homes per month over the next decade. But for the first six months of this year it has only built an average 35 homes. That’s down from 41 last year when the problem wasn’t as acute and ironically the demand by governments for action had not begun. Interest rates and construction material inflation have slowed the pace. Windsor reflects provincial and national trends as the country tries to cope with a massive influx of population fueled by immigration. Some 405,000 - the most ever in a single year – came last year. The target is 465,000 permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025. Windsor-Essex is booming with construction of the new bridge and the NextStar Energy battery plant and spinoff industries to serve it, already a top housing priority for city officials. Yet governments and the housing industry are incredibly unprepared. The feds’ National Housing Strategy offers only 160,000 affordable units over the next 10 years – laughable! The Ford government housing strategy is commendable setting a goal of 1.5 million homes by 2031. But the province is forecast to grow by five million in the next 10 years - unworkable! It’s time politicians see the light. Yes, immigration is needed and wanted, but not at levels the infrastructure can't support. Already there are reports of newly arrived immigrants contacting family members back home telling them of the hardships finding housing and the general cost of living. It’s past time to put the brakes on immigration – both for those already here and newcomers’ sakes.
Wokery runamok runs only one way
WindsorOntarioNews.com August 14 2023
Wokery, or the exaggerated demonstration of a particular virtue-signaling – and only for certain groups or causes - is all the rage these days. From Pride flags on municipal buildings and schools to the newest trend, crosswalks, to radical Black Lives Matter signs on traditional buildings like African-Canadian heritage sites, to “land acknowledgements” – in which a declaration is read which shows that the meeting is taking place on historic indigenous land (not that the readers plan to give the land back but as a way to assuage guilt) - it seems our governing and institutional elites have given over to wokery. Even bastions of capitalism like banks (see photo) and blue-chip corporations, which some would think would be the last entities to be politicized, now decorate their buildings for Pride Month and subscribe to the vaunted left-wing ESG (environment, social, governance) model. School boards have arbitrarily decided they won’t allow parents to learn of their children’s choices for gender identity and shut down meetings to debate as has happened locally. Moreover, municipal councils like Windsor’s adopt, willy nilly, proposals to ban natural gas plants, kowtowing, without debate, to extreme environmentalists. Historic statues of seminal leaders of this country are torn down or buildings renamed, again, with nary a word of criticism, opponents scared into silence. What’s common about all these trends is they are of certain perspectives and certain perspectives only. You’ll never find a public body endorsing an anti-abortion stance, for example. Or a corporate body (even a fossil fuel company) speaking out in defense of its products. The fact all these developments have happened virtually overnight is breathtaking, the fact they have been done with no discussion, disturbing. The fact any sort of questioning is shut down, alarming and the new censorship. They also speak to a kind of societal groupthink which imposes its dictates on everyone, whether everyone (and probably most) don’t agree. This is a dangerous time for free speech, a time when more people – from politicians to average citizens - should “wake up” to the fact it’s under siege.
Simon, Trudeau, most blatant examples of obscene fed government spending
WindsorOntarioNews.com July 27 2023
Perhaps Mary Simon is the Marie Antoinette of our time. The Governor General, while receiving a $40,000 pay increase (13 per cent to $342,100), travelled to Iceland and billed taxpayers almost $300,000, including $70,000 on a luxury limo to sport her around mostly less than a square mile. Or it could be Justin Trudeau who splurged on a $6000 hotel room during the Queen’s funeral last year. These are just the most glaring single examples of government officials who live in such an elite bubble they can’t even see the symbolism of how this is an affront to millions of hardworking Canadians who are struggling with massive food inflation and having trouble buying or renting homes (63 per cent have given up). But the insensitivity to average people’s lives just goes on and on with a whole host of unconscionable pay raises shelled out by Ottawa to vast numbers of civil servants during and after the pandemic. When housing costs in most large cities are unaffordable the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has shelled out $70 million in bonuses since 2020, almost $12,000 per person. Then there’s the Bank of Canada, another “Let Them Eat Cake” Ancient Regime type institution that awarded $20 million in staff bonuses, this at a time when it misled Canadians how high inflation would rise, jacking up interest rates seven times! The average bonus was just over $11,000, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Since 2020 the B of C gave out $72 million in bonuses and raises. Meanwhile, the federal government handed out 800,000 civil servant raises (average pay & benefits: $125,300) between 2020 and 2022 and has hired almost 100,000 civil servants since the Trudeau Liberals came to power eight years ago, 21,000 last year alone, for a total of 357,000. And for what? Where is the discernible improvement in government services, as per the passport and air travelling fiascoes last year? The Parliamentary Budget Office says less than 50 per cent of the gov’s own performance targets are reached each year, perhaps also because of cozy work-from-home mandates. This of course is all other peoples’ (taxpayers’) money. But to hell with them and hurray for us.
Big Tech calls legacy media's bluff
WindsorOntarioNews.com July 13 2023
Ottawa thought the passing of Bill C-18, the Online News Act, would be a slam dunk against the behemoths of Big Tech – Meta (which operates Facebook and Instagram) and Google. But it hasn’t quite worked out that way, with Meta saying it will withdraw links to Canadian newspapers and Google indicating the same. Surprised if not shocked that Big Tech was calling its bluff the government, in a huff, pulled its advertising from those sites in retaliation. The traditional news media has backed Ottawa to the hilt in this years-long fight. The so-called legacy media has suffered billions of dollars in lost advertising, declining circulation, massive layoffs and numerous small newspaper closings in recent years because it simply can’t generate the revenue it did in pre-internet days. Now almost all that former advertising has been sucked up by Big Tech. That’s the way the free market works – if you have a better product you’ll get the spoils. Traditional media, however, is crying foul, stomping its feet, and accusing Big Tech of ripping them off. Hence C-18, which would require Big Tech to pay millions of dollars to legacy media for posting the links to their news stories. But is Big Tech, about which one can make a myriad of other criticisms, guilty as charged? Maybe it should be the other way around. After all, legacy media wants Big Tech to carry their stories since they link to news organizations’ websites. Even WindsorOntarioNews.com uses Facebook and Twitter as a means of circulating or publicizing stories, though it doesn’t expect to be paid. In other words, Big Tech is doing news organizations a favor. So maybe legacy media should be paying Big Tech. But legacy media, in cahoots with the government – which is already subsidizing it with hundreds of millions of dollars – thinks Facebook and Google should pay them, simply because it has a better product and has garnered most advertising dollars. Sure, and horse and buggy manufacturers were upset when auto companies took away their business.
Windsor may have saved the country
WindsorOntarioNews.com June 29 2023
Canada Day, once Dominion Day, comes up Saturday. It is a time to reflect on just how Windsor – yes, Canada’s auto capital, one of the friendliest towns in the country and for decades one of the most ethnically diverse – just may have saved Confederation. Don’t laugh. Back in 1995 the Province of Quebec held its second referendum to separate from Canada. The separatists were gaining in the polls and there were real fears the country could have been split apart. A last-minute rally was called for downtown Montreal by people who wanted to save the nation. This is where Windsor comes in. Ken Coulter of the Windsor Jaycees and a few friends decided on the spur of the moment to make the trip to Montreal. The Jaycees had this huge Canadian flag, measuring almost 1800 square feet, often displayed during Canada Day parades. It would take 10 people to hold the flag properly. But as Coulter and crew entered Montreal’s massive Place du Canada square the flag instantly became a hit. The crowd was attracted to it like a magnet. In a subsequent interview Coulter described the flag as like being in a concert mosh pit. It moved from hand to hand among hundreds of people during the pro-Canada rally. No one, certainly not Coulter, will claim the flag was instrumental in the referendum being won by the pro-Canada side, albeit very narrowly. But the flag became the instant icon of the rally, carried live on TV, and the focus of innumerable photographs displayed on the front pages of newspapers across the land. Symbols are important and it’s just possible that this “Unity Flag,” as it became known, did the trick to coalesce support for Canada, just enough to defeat the separatists, preserving the country as we know it today.
No surprise at board's public backlash
WindsorOntarioNews.com June 15 2023
School boards across the province are becoming the flashpoint of more and more controversy over issues of gender identity. This month saw widespread boycotts of classes, often by Muslim and Christian parents, over boards’ support of LGBTQ+ issues including flying the Pride flag. But what has become integral to the gender issue is boards’ apparent universal adoption of policies which affirm students’ gender identity without informing parents. Issues such as this have enraged ad hoc parent groups not just in Canada but in the US and are a continuum of protests and boycotts by parents from almost a decade ago when the province announced more explicit sex ed teaching. In Virginia, these issues saw the electoral defeat of the state’s former Democratic governor and election of a Republican one. In New Brunswick, Premier Blaine Higgs, saying he is “taking a strong position for families,” is willing to fight an election over parental consent. Part of the problem is the apparent secrecy of school boards. Parents are just waking up to the fact such policies exist, without ever having been consulted. Now the debate has come home to Windsor-Essex, with a rally last week by a local parent group denouncing the public board for doing the same. The board defends itself by saying students should identify within a “safe” space. But it’s highly presumptuous and undermines civil liberties for a state institution to declare it knows better than families. And, in an era when parents are consulted about everything from field trips to vaccinations, it’s an ethical affront when it doesn’t disclose one of the most primal and familial matters: children’s sexuality.
No need for an armed camp at Council
WindsorOntarioNews.com June 1 2023
Gee whiz. A man falls down and lays on the floor of the Windsor City Council chambers, bizarrely, for 25 minutes and now Windsor city councillor Mark Mckenzie wants metal detectors to screen out alleged disruptive spectators. Oh yeah, jump on the bandwagon introduced locally by Essex County Council (see NEWS BACKGROUNDER May 27) and big brother cities - you can take that either way – like Toronto or Edmonton! Mckenzie says there has been a growing pattern of such uncivil behavior at public facilities and thinks it’s time to clamp down. Please give some examples. What is with these politicians who at the first sign of any outburst by an alleged protester want to clamp down on proceedings? That’s all we need. Civic council chambers, city hall offices, even public libraries, becoming armed camps with uniformed guards (already at council) and metal detectors. Get a grip. This is the first incident of its kind in – what? – decades at city council. Essex County Council in April had scores of people milling about in the hallway, which prompted its action. It would also be interesting to know whom these supposed security measures are designed to screen out. Are they protesters – like the landlord group wearing red shirts that showed up this week or county folks like the people who protested in the Freedom Convoy? Or would they be directed at protesters like those who were loud and disruptive at a York Catholic school board meeting when it passed a motion to not fly the Pride flag? Regardless of the cause – left, right or centre – making council chambers armed camps, based on small or trivial incidents, is not the way to go. We are not an authoritarian country, at least not yet. And it should take more than one absurd incident at city hall for a councillor like Mckenzie to start calling for a fortified enclave in what is really the taxpayers' home.
EV mania unrealistic and destabilizing
WindsorOntarioNews.com May 18 2023
Wow, a super duper “alternative charging corridor” between Michigan and Quebec City was just announced yesterday by the Canadian and US governments. Charging stations will be placed every 80k along busy I-94 stateside and Hwy 401 and 20 in Quebec. But the announcement doesn’t tell us how many charging “points” will be at each installation. Right now there is a laughable 215 Canadian stations. “We know that more and more Canadians and Americans are switching from gas-powered vehicles to zero-emission,” said Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra. Oh really? Last year 1.7 million new vehicles were bought in Canada, only 80,000 were electric or hybrid. Canadians are not buying EVs because of cost and inconvenience including range anxiety which yesterday’s announcement is supposed to address. Assuming the new chargers are Level 3’s (photo) it will still take about 30 minutes to top up an empty battery. And you’ll need a whole lot of them to accommodate these highways’ busy traffic. And how long does it take to fill a car with gas? “Oh, well, another coffee at Tim’s and I might be running late for that business appointment or medical procedure.” As well, an EV’s range averages 250 miles vs about that as minimum for gas-powered cars. Sure, technology will improve but it seems highly unrealistic for the government to think 60 per cent of all car sales will be EVs by 2030 let alone eliminate traditional car sales by 2035. This mania for EV cars is also de-stabilizing the auto industry. Canada may lose its Stellantis plants because of the now insane bidding wars for extraordinarily high government subsidies between the US and Canada. Already tens of thousands of workers have been laid off by the likes of Ford as it converts to EVs. And for what? Supposed anthropogenic climate change. Where Canada contributes 1.5 per cent of global emissions (the US 12.5). And do you really think humanity will be able to keep global emissions to under a two per cent increase (vs pre-industrial times) as per the Paris Accords? And where predictions of cataclysmic global warming have now been wrong numerous times and likely will be well into the future, as our economy and living standards ever plunge? There was also something in the 1700s known as the Dutch tulip mania.
Time for politicians to cool the wokery
WindsorOntarioNews.com May 4 2023
Politically correct cant and actions have now infiltrated virtually all aspects of mainstream political – and corporate – life. Witness “land acknowledgements” – statements that a meeting is taking place on historic indigenous lands – before council and committee meetings. And the all-encompassing slogan, “diversity, equity and inclusion.” It’s all part of what really is left wing political rhetoric or “wokery” that has now captured the public sphere and a lot of virtue posturing, signalling nothing. Sure, everybody believes in equality and human rights. But the word “equity” as defined by Critical Race Theory ideologues means believing that entire institutions are racist from the ground up, not individuals. That’s a racist notion itself. Yes, everyone believes in a “diverse” world in that people of all ethnicities and races can partake in society together. Same with ”inclusion.” Who wouldn’t want everyone to be included? But this phrase has become a political cliché, lip service rather than real action to improve life for everyone. Recently, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens – not know for his radical views – used the phrase in a welcoming address at a public event, indicating how “diverse and inclusive” Windsor is. And just the other week a group of male federal politicians including Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra paraded around a formal committee meeting in pink high heels, an old trope to make men get a taste of what life for a woman is like. The skit is a farce. First, how many women dress in pink heels let alone heels at all? The image is a sexist throwback. And, like land acknowledgements, the effort is designed to provoke guilt. Gullible and feeble-minded politicians shouldn’t be taken in. If they want to promote equal rights – and they should – then eschewing cliches and vapid political posturing is the way to go.
Photo: Twitter screenshot
Outrage misplaced as Twitter only told the truth about how the CBC is funded
WindsorOntarioNews.com April 20 2023
It's amazing what people can get upset about – or some people. In the interest of transparency Twitter under Elon Musk has decided to label various news organizations by how they are affiliated with the government. In some cases this means indicating if they are publically funded (like the BBC where British residents pay an individual fee) or government funded, like Canada's own CBC, where almost 70 per cent of its funding comes from Parliamentary “appropriations” aka taxpayers. Everybody knew this from time immemorial. Critics of the CBC – from private broadcasters who saw unfair competition to political critics who saw an unholy alliance between what the network aired and Liberal Government policies – have long called for curtailing funding to the broadcaster if not its complete elimination. The CBC, and its supporters, must have huge inferiority complexes, because all it took was the social media site Twitter, which only a small minority of people use (but admittedly has outsized influence) deciding to label the network “70 per cent” government funded. When the CBC bristled and protested that funding vas less than 70 per cent (adverising, for example, makes up some of the rest), Elon Musk had some fun and changed the number to “69 per cent.” Which, unfortunately for the CBC, actually is easier for people to remember. Ironically, sometimes it takes a foreign entity to show Canadians an inconvenient truth. Like Time magazine exposing Justin Trudeau’s Blackface antics. And now it's San Francisco-based Twitter holding up a mirror to the CBC.
Offer incentives to curb panhandling
WindsorOntarioNews.com April 6 2023
A committee of city council has passed an aggressive panhandling bylaw, which now goes before the full council. It’s an attempt to curb what many politicians and citizens see as an intimidating presence downtown by people, often homeless, who seek money from pedestrians or motorists. Yet it’s hard to see what the bylaw, which is very similar to provincial legislation enforced by the police, would change. The vast majority – 95 per cent - of those charged in Windsor-Essex (mainly Windsor) did not pay fines over the past four years. Fines can be up to $500 for first offences and up to $1000 and or imprisonment for second. Ergo, how can the homeless pay fines? Councillor Fred Francis is behind the latest attempt to reinforce panhandling laws, which appear to exist in no or few other major Ontario cities. One of his concerns is panhandling in tourist areas. Lord knows downtown Windsor could use all the help it can get to make the area more pedestrian-friendly and encourage business activity. But this problem seems intractable. Having bylaw enforcement officers connect violators to social services and a further report on how the city might help poorer residents could dent the problem. The indigent can’t be wholly locked up or removed because that would be a violation of Charter rights. How about taking an entirely different approach? Instead of confrontation work with them. Try incentives. Offer them work and status. They could be paid as part of a new “downtown street cleaning crew” – complete with snazzy T-shirts and caps – and some with education, included in the bylaw, could even become something of downtown ambassadors. Might be worth a try.
Windsor bearing brunt on refugee file
WindsorOntarioNews.com March 23 2023
Windsor and other cities like Niagara Falls are bearing the brunt of continued ineptness on the refugee file by the federal Liberal government. With hardly any warning over Christmas break – and exploiting the city’s previous warm welcome to Syrian refugees several years ago - Justin Trudeau’s government has dumped on Windsor upwards of 1100 migrants who crossed the controversial unofficial border at Roxham Rd. Quebec. Besides putting a great strain on city resources it has meant up to 500 hotel rooms are locked out for other travellers, a blow to the area’s tourist industry and economy. Ottawa, just like on the policing costs borne by Windsor during the trucker protests a year ago, has not initially been forthcoming to fork over any payment to help with costs. Besides the feds’ tawdry handling of this settlement crisis, which has been going on for literally years in the province of Quebec, the Liberals have a lot to answer for on this whole so-called refugee mess. For one, these “refugees” are supposed to remain in the United States, the “first safe country” they arrive in. But bizarrely this only applies if they arrive at “official” border crossings, where they are turned back. Not “unofficial” ones, which means basically anywhere else along the largely undefended US-Canada border. Hence Roxham Rd. in the middle of a forest just a few miles west of the official crossing. For various reasons – perhaps because of Canada’s better social safety net and US politicians’ recently sending some of the massive influx of people crossing illegally at their southern border - about 40,000 have crossed at Roxham Rd. But the Trudeau government never fixed this issue, and not only Quebec but now other Canadian cities have to serve these illegal crossers, courtesy the Canadian taxpayer. Windsor and other cities deserve better. But the source of the problem is government incompetence and lack of principle.
Michigan’s response to mass killings vs ongoing Detroit homicides is strange
WindsorOntarioNews.com March 9 2023
It’s interesting to follow the reaction in Michigan to two relatively recent mass shootings – that at Michigan State University (photo) last month in which three students were killed and five injured and at Oxford High School in exurban Detroit in December 2021 in which four students were killed and seven people injured. Mass shootings, a particular plague in America, are a scourge on the population, and it’s more than proper to mourn for the innocent victims, condemn the assailants and find ways to prevent future occurrences. But the alarm and soul-searching by politicians, news media, the commentariat and many of the public, throws into relief the comparative disregard for an arguably much worse plague that has befallen a city like Detroit for several decades. That is the city’s horrendous homicide numbers which has made it one of the most dangerous places in America. In 2021, the city had 309 murders compared to 324 the previous year. But in the more than three decades from 1987, when Detroit had an incredible 686 murders and having earned the title of “Murder City,” the city’s yearly homicides only went below 300 only five times, in 2014 (299), 2015 (295), 2017 (267), 2018 (261) and 2019 (273). That compares to all of Canada where between 1992 and 2021 the highest number of murders was 788 in 2021, the lowest 509 in 2013. Murders, shootings and other violent crime have long made Detroit one of America’s most violent cities – in 2020, a 49.7 per cent (per 100,000 pop) murder rate compared to 6.5 per cent for the US average. Yet only when mass murders, terrible as they are, occur, does murder and gun violence become a hot button public policy issue in the Mitten State. The terrible toll of homicides that occur year after year - after bloody year - in Detroit, by comparison, are all but ignored. You have to ask why.
An affront to Canadian democracy
WindsorOntarioNews.com February 23 2023
It has come to this. An Ontario school trustee has been banned from even attending school board meetings because of what is now considered unacceptable views. Never mind that she is an elected official and for that reason alone should or must be in attendance. This ban threatens the very foundation of Canada’s free and democratic electoral system. Durham school trustee Linda Stone’s (photo) fault is that she raised questions about the board’s policy on gender transitioning. She was not obnoxious or insulting she merely presented views – which probably the majority of reasonable people including her constituents – hold. She questioned board policy, which is probably the case for all boards across the province, of “affirming” a student’s decision to transition without informing parents or guardians. "I was a little disturbed to see that you would keep things private with the student and not let parents know,” Stone said. Those aren’t harsh or condemning words and nor does it mean she’s transphobic. Stone also suggested people who are not adults may want to “seek counselling” to determine if other influenced the decision. Apparently, she’s also “antitrans” because she re-sent tweets of parents of student athletes elsewhere questioning competing against trans teens with supposedly male bodies. Whether you agree with these comments or not – a debate that appears to be growing worldwide as per controversies over author JK Rowling’s views and the U of Pennsylvania swim team – these are not censorious. And in a separate matter, Stone has been denounced as “racist” for criticizing “critical race theory” – a very new and controversial reinterpretation of racism that no one had heard of a few years back. It alleges that all institutions are ”systemically” or shot through with racism and not just some individuals having racist views. What the board has committed here is soft tyranny, some may even call it fascism. It must be opposed on free speech and Charter grounds and fought strenuously through the courts.
Photo: Durham District School Board