Michigan's Gretchen Whitmer needs to be defeated at the polls in November April 29 2022

Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer must be defeated in this November ’s gubernatorial election. Of course Canadians have no say in the election but it wouldn’t hurt for the legions of people in Windsor-Essex who have relatives stateside or have dual citizenship themselves to argue or vote against Whitmer’s re-election. Should she win it will be the Lansing born law graduate’s third term. Michigan of course has a right to elect who it wants and who are Canadians to butt in? But when it comes to the Whitmer administration Canada has every right to lobby hard to see this governor with autocratic tendencies (overseeing one of the worst state Covid lockdowns including the sending of Covid infected patients into nursing homes) defeated and the Democrats turned from office. Why? No more a reason than the controversial Enbridge Line 5 pipeline. The Whitmer administration has pulled out all the stops to see this vital pipeline shut down. It irrationally fears there could be some sort of leak that would damage the Great Lakes ecosystem. Line 5, opened in 1953, has transported safely 540,000 barrels a day of crude oil and natural gas liquids from western Canada via Wisconsin to Sarnia with 4.5 miles of it under the supposedly sensitive Stairs of Mackinac. The pipeline carries 45 per cent of all petroleum refined in Ontario and Quebec including all of the jet fuel at Pearson International Airport. Should the pipeline close it’s estimated 5000 refinery jobs in Sarnia alone would be lost. Michigan would also be a self-inflicted victim, with 55 per cent its propane derived from the pipeline. Line 5 also supplies Detroit Metropolitan Airport and refineries in Michigan and Ohio. Whitmer’s action is all the more galling because Enbridge has proposed a tunnel under the Straits that would ensure even greater safety. But the administration is brooking no reconsideration, attached at the hip to radical environmental interests. The matter is now in court and even the uber environmentally conscious Justin Trudeau government has called for the line to remain open. Michiganders must vote this November to oust the Whitmer Democrats, and Canadians who have friends and family stateside must start talking to them about the harm that could occur not just to Canada, but to their own state, should Line 5 be closed.

No surprise committee proposes salary increases for mayor and councillors April 14 2022

It’s not surprising and par for the course when it comes to elected officials. Just keep giving them pay increases. Same with federal MPs who had a recent salary increase - on April 1 no less - during the pandemic, while millions of Canadians suffered lost jobs, closed businesses and potentially dangerous public-facing work. This was MPs’ third increase in the Covid era – totalling $10,802 (to $189,702 annual salary). Now we have a City of Windsor citizens committee recommending – surprise! – increased compensation for the mayor and council members. Did you really think the three-member committee (two members from the public sector and a corporate HR professional) would recommend a reduction? Mayor Drew Dilkens already makes $199,000. (The mayor of London, a much larger city of 422,000 people, makes $142,000.) The committee, buoyed by a consultant’s report, says his salary should be pegged to annual non-union city pay increases. Meanwhile it wants to give councillors a $5000 pay raise - to $52,000 - with similar annual increases. Councillors’ jobs, by the way, are officially part time, regardless of how many hours they may put into their work. The point is, they knew this when they ran for office. Same with the mayor. What the committee ignores is that elected office is a form of public service and community-mindedness. It is not a regular job. The committee counters by saying that increasing salaries will attract a wider array of candidates. Moreover, these part time jobs are also supplementary to many councillors’ regular jobs, often full time. If this was the private sector, where companies raise their own funds, annual pay raises might or might not be understandable. The point is, the private sector raises its own money. Not the public sector, which uses other peoples’ (taxpayers’) money. In fact, the committee – refreshingly – could have made a case for a reduction in pay, affirming the public service aspect of the job. And that, unlike non-elected jobs, people choose to run for public office, not because they have to.

Government, media, even the public undermined democratic institutions March 2 2022

The political, media class and even members of the public need to do some soul-searching and offer apologies for the way they treated a mass peaceful protest. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should start by making a full apology to truckers and supporters who launched campaigns against his government’s Covid-19 restrictions. By invoking martial law over essentially a tempest in a teapot (streets blocked around Parliament Hill) he showed his authoritarian tendences and disrespect for existing law, not to mention legitimate opposition. There was no violence at these demonstrations; in fact they were good-natured family affairs though there was a lot of Trudeau animosity. The real failure was existing law enforcement which could have prevented the blockades if the competence and will had been there. Worse and even sickening was the Trudeau government’s visceral attack ordering financial institutions to freeze bank accounts of organizers and supporters. This smacked of authoritarian regimes which can’t abide any dissent and will do all possible to personally destroy opponents. Canadians may never again have full trust in their “democratic” and business institutions. Much of the media also deserves blame framing protesters as white nationalists and “insurrectionists.” If there was ever a grass roots working class rebellion this was it. Yet media despicably decided to “out” convoy supporters. One of the most egregious reported examples was a Feb. 19 story in the Windsor Star by James McCarten. “Reporters are being harassed, spammed, 'doxxed' and even threatened for reaching out to donors to an online crowdfunding campaign that was targeted last week by hackers who disclosed the contact details of thousands of pro-trucker contributors.” While no one condones threats, these journalists should realize that what they were doing ("reaching out"?!) was terrible. They were going through an illegally hacked list of people who, with good intentions, donated small sums of money. When reporters were met by nasty reactions they were surprised! But what took the cake was the editor of the Ottawa Citizen, Nicole MacAdam, saying, “I struggle to see where we put a foot wrong here.” This after the Citizen exposed a local business owner for giving money, only to have her business threatened and attacked. How naive! Politicians and media aside, there were the two-thirds of Canadians, according to a Maru poll, who endorsed forcibly removing the protesters, even using the military. Will Canada ever again seem a peaceful, tolerant nation?

Trudeau employs his inner fascist February 18 2022

Justin Trudeau has gone way beyond meanspirtedness, an attitude he shows to any opposition, to all out dictator with his invocation of the Emergencies Act. This despicable action is designed solely to erase his political opponents. Namely these are the several hundred truckers and their thousands or even tens of thousands of supporters across the country who are against vaccine mandates and more widely his government. The more than three week blockade of parts of downtown Ottawa - mainly the so-called Parliamentary Precinct - had just become too intolerable and a worldwide embarrassment to the Liberals. It had to be shut down and its participants and supporters wholly punished. This is something out of Third World and Communist dictatorships. The first time-used Emergencies Act is designed to be employed where imminent violent danger threatens the nation. There’s absolutely no evidence of that here. Ironically, the truck protest has got to be one of the most civilized, peaceful, family oriented, good-natured and indeed patriotic protests ever to have taken place not only in Canada but anywhere. Participants serve food to anybody on the street, wrap themselves in Canadian flags and repeatedly sing O Canada. Heck, they even have bouncy castles and play street hockey - how Canadian can you get. Yes they have honked horns but recently agreed to stop doing that. And they have moved trucks to open certain streets and lanes. But even fully blockading streets doesn’t translate into violence. Witness Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King’s non-violent sit-ins in public places which brought about real change. Trudeau’s vicious retaliation against truckers and supporters is most insidious with the commandeering of Canada’s banks to freeze accounts of anyone who donated to the truckers with immunity from legal action. This is straight out of Banana Republic dictatorships who want to attack any opposition in every way possible. This is not Canada. Trudeau is a dictator. Thankfully at least two civil liberties groups have indicated they will challenge the legislation in court. And perhaps Parliament will block it though that’s iffy with the even more censorious NDP supporting the Liberals’ minority government. It has come to this - a government in an otherwise democratic country not only can’t tolerate peaceful dissent but has launched all out war against its enemies. Trudeau and his henchmen are acting beyond the pale. This now authoritarian government must be defeated, handily and finally, at the first electoral chance. Meanwhile, the watchword to any such fascistic action: Resist!

Photo: Wikipedia

Want the trucker blockades to end? It's really very simple - drop the mandates February 10 2022

Governments at all levels seem to be at a loss to deal with the trucker protest. For almost two weeks convoys of truckers have been gumming up downtowns of cities – especially Ottawa where a permanent encampment is in place – and border crossings including here at Windsor-Detroit. doesn’t condone highway blockades especially when they prevent billions of dollars in trade crossing our borders. But the truckers have surprised everybody by their absolute commitment to the anti-vaccine mandate cause. They are not – repeat not – going anywhere. While border crossings may eventually be opened (there has been some flexibility on this) there’s no question mass protests will continue in the country’s provincial and federal capitals. Politicians have been caught unawares and forced back on their heels in coming to terms with this massive organic groundswell of average citizen power. And it’s not just the protesters. The convoys have been cheered on – witness the mass gatherings on overpasses and along highways – by tens of thousands. This is hardly the “fringe minority” of Justin Trudeau’s dreams. One poll showed one-third of Canadians support the protests. That’s the same, or more, than the 32 per cent popular support Trudeau got in last year's election. The truckers are in for the long haul, and they wouldn’t mind the pun. They’re adamant they won’t relent until the mandates are dropped. Not just for crossing the border (US truckers are also starting to press the Biden Admin to drop its trucker border vaccine requirement) but all Covid mandates, such as restrictions on gatherings and the totalitarian-like QR codes. Other countries and US states are starting to drop all restrictions (England will be free Feb. 26). All politicians in Canada need to do to end the protests, which they are otherwise hapless in dealing with and which are starting to hurt the Canadian economy, is simple: drop the mandates.

What’s next? A Parliamentary House Un-Canadian Activities Committee? January 28 2022

Justin Trudeau sank to a new low – well, at least so far this year – this week when he described protesting truckers’ views as “unacceptable.” How's that again - “unacceptable?” Just who is to decide what views are acceptable or unacceptable? In Justin Trudeau’s mind there are only correct views and incorrect ones, kind of like what exists in totalitarian countries. Trudeau, of course, has long admired China’s “basic dictatorship” as per his notorious 2013 widely reported comment. The truck convoys, converging on Ottawa from all parts of the country and which could see thousands of trucks - and tens of thousands of people – gridlock the city and flood Parliament Hill this weekend, are somehow not part of how the prime minister defines what Canadians should be. How else to describe his related comment that truckers and their supporters “do not represent the views of Canadians” who otherwise have been compliant with government edicts during the pandemic. Does this mean that the only good Canadian is an obeying non-questioning Canadian? His comments came after ones earlier this month where Trudeau also called anti-vaccine protesters “often misogynists, often racists.” The problem with Trudeau and others of his ilk is that their view of Canada is one that only sees adherence to big government as patriotic. Any questioning of state mandates is therefore beyond the pale and the exponents must by all means be demonized, dismissed and rapidly excluded. With the mass trucker protests – much much larger than even organizers themselves expected – it’s obvious that people can be “good Canadians” and question the Trudeau and Big Government doctrine. Just witness the mass display of Canadian flags, Justin; it’s not only the Liberal Party that gets to cloak itself in the red maple leaf. Besides how obnoxious the prime minister’s comments are, they’re also inexcusable from the point of view that they’re dividing the country. But Trudeau is either too ideological or too dumb – or both – to understand this. He needs to apologize but never will.

Covid exposes Canada's woefully inadequate hospital systems January 11 2022

What is becoming increasingly clear as the pandemic drags on – made particularly so by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant – is that Ontario’s as well as Canada’s overall health care systems are overwhelmingly inadequate to handle health care emergencies. The result: the rest of society pays through massive lockdowns, ruined businesses and lost jobs not to mention the ancillary impacts on everything from people’s mental health to usurpation of civil rights. The primary reason for the ongoing lockdowns over the past two years has been yes, to protect public health, but ultimately to ensure our hospitals are not overrun with patients and can support Covid cases. The problem is that Canada’s hospitals are woefully inadequate to handle surges in patients and barely able to support sick people during regular times. Of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries’ ICU capacity, Canada has half as many ICU beds as does the United States and about a third less than Germany. In fact, the Ontario Hospital Association reported that Canada had the lowest number of hospital beds per capita – tied with Mexico – of all OECD nations. Even before the pandemic the system was straining badly. Ontario’s health ministry reported that in 2018-19 the average occupancy rate of both acute care beds and total hospital beds was 96 per cent, which included some 28 hospitals where the average occupancy rate was over 100 per cent. Yes, during Covid the province added temporary field hospitals but has also unwisely closed them as case counts waned, including in Windsor. Now were in a pickle again. Today the MOH reports that of 2343 adult ICU beds 468 were occupied by Covid patients and 1353 by non-Covid patients leaving just 522 available. Overall, the numbers show how badly the province’s health care infrastructure is and why Canada’s vaunted health system – as good as it might be in certain ways – is terrible when it comes to a crisis like Covid. And how we all pay as a result.

Doug Ford: a deer in the headlights January 5 2022

Like Charlie Brown fooled by Lucy holding the football, we should have known better that Doug Ford’s decision to keep Ontario in its previous relatively open environment of Covid restrictions was too good to be true. Last week, amazingly for Ontario – one of the most locked down jurisdictions anywhere – the Ford government said, despite the onslaught of the Omicron variant, school re-openings would be delayed only a couple of days when governments elsewhere were delaying re-openings until mid-month. But then Ford did an abrupt 180 and now schools will re-open Jan. 17. (But please check back then.) Ford’s “ah shucks, folks” demeanor about how his heart bleeds over these decisions is wearing thin. Particularly when his government provides no data for the massive lockdowns that took effect today (“modified Step 2” but who can keep track?) So lazy has he and his government become that they just pulled the Covid shutdown playbook down from the shelf and announced holus bolus that schools will close to in-person learning despite numerous experts, including Ford’s own, saying schools are among the safest places for kids. And again, he closed restaurants to indoor dining along with the recreational and entertainment sector like arenas and theatres, when there is no evidence Covid spreads in these facilities. The silver lining is retail – including small retail – still allowed 50 per cent occupancy. Maybe Ford learned his lesson from almost decimating the industry during previous lockdowns; some small business conservative is he! These harsh measures of course are all designed to protect the hospital system and not overload wards and ICUs. But that begs the question. What happened to the temporary hospitals built during the pandemic’s early days and now closed like the one at St. Clair College’s SportsPlex? Who were the geniuses who decided to close additional beds and not anticipate the virus could mutate? But it could be worse. We could be living in Quebec where the government has reimposed a nightly curfew.

On the city's budget, Leftist councillors out of touch with average citizens December 15 2021

Recent City of Windsor budget deliberations revealed how the Left can be out of tune with the needs of regular everyday people. Ironically that’s the group the Left also claims to represent. A Windsor Star letter to the editor last weekend called out so called “progressive” councillors Kieran Mckenzie and Chris Holt (a third wasn’t named) for wanting to impose a greater tax increase to fund more projects. This after Holt voted against a Miracle Park for disabled kids and Mckenzie against the new hospital “in his own ward.” “Why would these three councillors even think it is a good thing to raise taxes, while our citizens are, in large numbers, having to go to the food banks to feed their families or rely on several help groups to get winter clothing, boots and shoes for their children?” writer Linda Thrasher went on: “Imagine the consequences of this on the public. Where do they think this money is coming from? Do they really think taxpayers right now have pockets of money to help deliver what they think is necessary?” Then Mayor Drew Dilkens countered their argument that Transit Windsor needs a further budget increase, despite transit already getting a boost in capital and improved services including making Route 518X permanent and ordering 24 new buses. But the progressive wing wanted a start to a new 418X crosstown route. Citing 1100 Caesars Windsor layoffs and impending loss of Chrysler’s second shift this spring, Dilkens responded, “The transit thing guys, had we approved that (418X) today, it would have been the worst business decision I have ever seen a city council ever take in my years on council, trying to plow that type of money on the backs of taxpayers, when ridership is at 50 per cent and you have no idea when that will change.”

O’Toole needs leadership review Nov 18 2021

Conservative senator Denise Batters has done her party a huge favour by calling for a referendum on Tory leader Erin O’Toole’s leadership. The senator had the gumption where others in the party have not, to question O’Toole’s leadership in wake of his underperformance in the September federal election. The party actually lost two seats and didn’t make hoped for inroads into urban Canada. And O’Toole hardly challenged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the raft of scandals that have ensnared his government. Sure, O’Toole kicked Batters out of caucus but she probably well knew that would happen and proceeded anyway. She has semi-autonomy as a senator and not an MP in the House of Commons where O’Toole prevails. In her video she pointed out several of O’Toole’s failings – his flip flopping on carbon pricing, firearms and conscience rights, saying he was “nearly indistinguishable from Trudeau's Liberals." And the great line, “Mr. O'Toole flip-flopped on policies core to our party within the same week, the same day, and even within the same sentence.” It’s no surprise O’Toole kicked her out. He seems a brittle man who brooks little dissent, though he tolerated a similar comment from Tory Senator Michael MacDonald which went further and called for his actual resignation. Is it because Batters is a woman? Batters noted the “double standard.” In that respect the Tory leader is no different from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, expelling women who stand up to them; see Jody Wilson-Raybould. So far almost 4000 people have signed the petition which of course O’Toole dismissed as illegitimate. The party doesn’t have a leadership review until August 2023. Given the fact that could be close to the next federal election it hardly gives enough time for the party to regroup should it end up turfing O’Toole. With so much dissent over O’Toole’s leadership why not have the review now and let the best man, including O’Toole – or woman – win?

Photo: Wikipedia

More government Covid border illogic October 31 2021

If there’s one thing that’s been consistent during the pandemic, it’s inconsistency. That’s in regard to government regulations and protocols. From ordering people not to wear masks and then to wear masks, to ordering mask mandates well into the pandemic and issuing tighter controls (i.e.., vaccine passports) as the vast majority of people are vaccinated, to allowing big box stories to open but barring small retailers, from throwing dragnets over the entire population while letting scores of the most vulnerable die in nursing homes, to the abysmal federal vaccine rollout, government planning has been haphazard, illogical, indeed bordering on criminal. So, while it seemingly is good news the United States finally decided to open its land border to Canucks beginning Nov. 8 - three months after Canada opened our side to Yanks – there is a caveat. The Canadian government will still require Canadians heading stateside to have a negative PCR test upon returning. This when those crossing will have to be fully vaxxed to enter the US anyway. Ironically America won’t require this of Canadians going stateside nor its returning citizens and its fully vaxxed rate is much less than Canada’s (58 per cent compared to almost 74 per cent). This is ridiculous and thankfully some politicians, such as Niagara area US Representative Brian Higgins, has pointed this out. Thanks also to Mayor Drew Dilkens for leading the charge to get this changed. (Where are Canadian politicians generally? Quiet of course though Windsor-Tecumseh Liberal MP Irek Kusmierczyk says he will attempt to get the policy reversed; we’ll be watching. And hasn’t Windsor West NDP MP Brian Masse been his party’s border critic?) While PCR testing will be a general inconvenience - and at $200 a pop here in Windsor though it appears cheaper stateside - it will be a particular blow to businesses that require frequent border trips. But this is Canada, we’ve come to expect the illogical.

Riverfront projects move on October 12 2021

The perennial war over the riverfront has raised its head again on two issues over the past month. One follows the victory by Riverside Dr. resident Mike Cardinal after the planning appeals tribunal agreed the so-called streetcar Celestial Beacon – a new pavilion on the riverfront – would have a roof extending too high above the Drive and infringe on residents’ views. The city says it will move it east to Caron Ave. The site has been a children’s playground donated by the National Football League for Canadian amenities when Detroit hosted the Super Bowl in 2006. Mayor Dilkens says this is even a “better” location as the playground has ended its life cycle and the area used to have a rail yard. The site also appears not to be obstructing anyone’s view as there’s a communications tower and vacant lot across the street. Cardinal is still concerned about what he calls a cramped space but he won so it’s not his concern anymore. Meanwhile, the city’s new plan for a $32.5 million futuristic canopy to cover the current more than 100,000 sq. ft. “heat island” of tarmac at the Festival Plaza further downtown is open to question. For one thing that’s a lot of dough. For a second, will the cost justify the number of events that take place there, allowing that it could attract new ones. Mayor Dilkens, who tends to think big (Bright Lights Windsor, a pedestrian tunnel under Riverside Dr.) says this can be an “iconic” feature. The translucent panels will soar 14 metres above the riverfront but across from Caesars Windsor, not residential homes though one can imagine there will still be opposition from Riverside purists who argue the riverside parks are sacred and any development is blasphemy. Never mind that it would be nice to use these parks for other purposes than just for pedestrians and cyclists and to view the river and Detroit skyline. Other questions include would people still be standing or sitting on temporary seats during events or would this be more of an amphitheatre with built in seating or moveable but comfortable seats? If it’s just standing under a roof that doesn’t accomplish a lot. Can the city guarantee there will be more events and therefore revenue will help pay the cost? All we need is another mostly unused white elephant downtown.

Photo: City of Windsor

Trudeau win near tragedy for Canada Sept. 23 2021

The near identical result of federal election 2021 to federal election 2019 has to be a disappointment, if near tragedy, for anyone who had hoped Canada would return to the pro-growth, economically responsible nation devoid of the eccentricities of (hypocritical) political correctness and fringe fetishes such as kneeling for BLM protesters and keeping flags at half-mast supposedly until Indigenous peoples approve of their raising. Not that the Conservatives’ Erin O’Toole (photo) was all that much better, with his version of a job-killing carbon tax and weak-kneed flip flops on gun control (targeting weapons that criminals don’t use) and vaccinations (a phony issue since his party’s position was almost identical to the Liberals.) But the Conservatives, who only aped Liberal policies to garner centrist voters (which it failed to do) at least may have provided a modicum of sanity in returning Canada to a country that values its heritage and primary economic drivers like the natural resource industry. On election night Trudeau claimed he had a “mandate” despite the fact he garnered only 32.2 per cent of the vote – the second time he had fewer votes than the Conservatives. Expect him, with virtually full backing from the New Democrats, to ram through more anti-carbon industry measures and kill the golden goose which fires the Canadian economy, as well as authoritarian legislation like the stalled internet censor bills, and of course simply more and more profligate spending, just because he can and does. O’Toole was credited with running a generally decent campaign. But he failed miserably in nailing the Liberals on their perennial scandals, Justin’s blackface and sexist treatment of women and his virtue-signaling but lack of progress on Indigeneous issues like clean drinking water…..Locally, Chris Lewis retook Essex for the Conservatives despite a determined effort by the NDP’s Tracey Ramsey to recapture the seat. She must have been disappointed despite saying her defeat was more an “anti-Trudeau” vote, losing by almost 1500 more votes than in 2019. Windsor West's NDP Brian Masse cruised to yet another victory, not surprising given his long service and constituency ties. Former Liberal provincial cabinet powerhouse Sandra Pupatello must have been embarrassed, losing a second time and by more than 8000 votes. The true heartbreak must have been Windsor-Tecumseh NDPer Cheryl Hardcastle, also trying to recapture her seat and losing to nice guy but opportunist (after abandoning his city council seat) Irek Kusmierczyk by only 675 votes.

Photo: Wikipedia

Anti-vaxxers play into Trudeau's hands Sept. 6 2021

Anti-vax protesters would do better than play into the hands of Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau’s election campaign. Trudeau was forced to cancel one campaign appearance in Bolton Ontario and has been dogged by profanity-spewing protesters at other stops. But the protesters do themselves no favors, just as they don’t when blocking entrances in or around hospitals, an escalating tactic. It’s plain stupid. The vast majority of the public supports vaccines and anti-vaxxers, though perhaps having sound reasons for their opposition to the jab, are simply going to alienate themselves as marginalized cranks and malcontents and generate sympathy for politicians like Trudeau. That’s not to say Trudeau shouldn’t be confronted on the campaign trail. There are plenty of reasons to protest his appearances but the anti-vax cause isn’t one. For starters, Trudeau’s opponents could show up at each campaign stop holding placards saying “Power Grab”, therefore making a more credible argument that Justin Trudeau called this unnecessary election during a pandemic simply to add to his power. Moreover, they could carry signs and shout (non-profane) slogans about how Trudeau’s Liberals are literally destroying the country through uncontrolled spending, attacks on Canada’s primary energy industry, and its efforts at suppressing free speech through internet censorship. On the vaccine front itself, a much more credible stance would be to accuse the government of allegedly harming thousands of Canadians by dragging its feet on the vaccine rollout. There are numerous other reasons to protest like denouncing Trudeau’s racism (wearing blackface) and sexism (allegedly assaulting women and tolerating government sex abuse scandals). Instead, the anti-vaxxers only give Trudeau ammunition.

Turf Trudeau government soundly August 24 2021

Justin Trudeau deserves to lose and lose big in the upcoming Sept. 20 federal elections. Trudeau had no need to call this election. After all, it’s been less than two years since the last federal election. During Covid his government has pretty much obtained any policy goal it wanted, propped up by the NDP, with an absent or diminished Parliament (Covid rules), and Opposition fears of not criticizing a government during a national health crisis. So, this is Trudeau’s obvious power grab and will cost taxpayers $600 million. It’s disgraceful, indeed obscene. Trudeau is counting on a public to return his government to power, with a majority, because of his government’s beneficence during the pandemic – the hundreds of billions of dollars shelled out in government programs, especially those like CERB, as well as a now high rate of vaccine coverage. Forget the fact his government was among the last out of the gate for major industrial nations getting the vaccine into people’s arms. But he’s banking on the electorate's short memories and gratefulness now that most finally have been vaccinated. In fact, an argument can be made that Trudeau’s foot-dragging on vaccines made things worse – prolonged economic lockdowns, ruined businesses, cost jobs, causing other sicknesses and deaths and of course even prolonging Covid illnesses and death rates. Nobody should be fooled. Beyond this disgraceful performance there are numerous other reasons to kick him and his government to the side. The scandals now are legendary – WE Charity, SNC-Lavalin, Aga Khan, allegedly assaulting women (NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau, BC journalist Rose Knight), his numerous times dressing-up in blackface. Then there are his bankrupt economic policies, especially attacking Canada’s energy industry. And in the most recent Parliament, proroguing the investigation into WE Charity and the audacious and anti-democratic move to sue the House of Commons Speaker so as not to release documents as to why two scientists were fired from a Winnipeg microbiology lab with connections to the infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology, where the Covid-19 virus may have originated. Enough with this destroyer. He must be soundly turfed from office.

Photo: Wikipedia

The border: who's the laggard now? August 11 2021

No disrespect to Democratic politicians like New York’s Brian Higgins and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (also from New York State). But they and some of their colleagues were the ones most vocal when it came to demanding the border reopen between Canada and the United States. And their criticisms were directed at Canada as being the laggard in wanting a border closed for 15 months due to Covid to reopen. And to a certain extent we could sympathize. Given Canada’s more onerous pandemic rules versus the US it was natural to think Canada was dragging its feet on reopening. (Hell, we even had interprovincial closures!) But the border’s reopening this week turned out to be just a one-way street, so to speak. It was ever-so-cautious Canada that opened its border and not the more live-and-let-live United States. We haven’t heard form Higgins and Schumer since. Why the US hesitation on re-opening? There has been some speculation. One is that the Biden Administration has so mismanaged its southern border with Mexico, with tens of thousands of migrants (illegal or seeking asylum) flooding into southern states, the government is in a pickle about how to open the legal border with Mexico. In other words, it would be a double standard if the US opened the Canadian border and not the Mexican one. The other possibilities are that the surge in US Covid Delta cases is so high (100,000 plus daily) that the administration has simply decided to keep the Canadian border closed because it has enough on its hands with the surging disease. But this doesn’t explain how Canadians who have been fully vaxxed and provide negative PCR tests would be at risk. The final possibility, mixed with the others, is that the US doesn’t have its act together on proper border protocols including creating an app (like Canada’s ArriveCAN) to smoothly allow foreigners (including citizens from countries other than Canada) to enter the USA. Life is full of ironies and this is a big one.

Sandra Pupatello tries again July 26 2021

It was surprising, and then not, to see former provincial Liberal cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello throw her hat in the ring for an expected late summer election. Surprising because she attempted to win the same Windsor West seat only two years ago. (Yes, folks, it’s been less than two years the last federal election.) But maybe not so much because a look at that election’s results showed she came within 2000 votes of upsetting two-decade incumbent Brian Masse. Pupatello is obviously counting on momentum (try, try again) to put her over the top this time. But despite Pupatello’s strong credentials as a provincial Liberal MPP in the same riding and cabinet minister between 1995 and 2011 as well as a successful diehard bring-home-the-bacon politician, she shouldn’t necessarily think she’ll win against Masse. Yes, the NDP might be out of government but Masse is a ward politician who’s personally popular and has championed numerous local causes that have resonated – single game sports betting, the Ojibway Shores national urban park, ongoing border and trade issues, and as a general prod to the governing Liberals. Moreover, she might take note of the fact the Liberals might be losing momentum as an expected August election call comes nearer. Sure, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is banking on the pandemic to give him back his one-time majority government as has been the case with provincial votes in BC and Newfoundland. But perhaps his ego is blinding him to the fact a recent Nanos poll found 40% of Canadians “upset” by an election call. There are precedents for governing party hubris. Such as Ontario Liberal Premier David Peterson in 1990 and Alberta Conservative Premier Jim Prentice in 2015, overconfident but losing spectacularly in both cases to the NDP. Trudeau is doing everything he can pre-election to blitz the country with billions of dollars in spending announcements – using other peoples’ money, of course – to maintain the hearts of Canucks. But NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s personal popularity is growing. And despite an almost non-existent Official Opposition party in the Conservatives - who is Erin O’Toole anyway? - latest polling shows better than expected results compared to the Grits. And remember how US President Joe Biden was a virtual no-show on the election trail last year, campaigning almost entirely from bis basement? So Pupatello may want to temper her hoped for victory enthusiasm.


Stand tall and celebrate Canada July 5 2021

What a contrast to watch the Macy’s New York 4th of July fireworks compared to the subdued treatment of Canada Day by our country’s political leaders. Over New York Harbor the fireworks blasted skies in a show of unabashed patriotism. This, despite a year of untold protest, rioting and racial strife in the wake of the George Floyd murder. Contrast that with Canada, where virtually any wallowing in Canada Day celebrations was frowned upon by political elites though an opinion poll showed most Canadians still wanted to wave the flag as patriotically as ever. Ironically, Canadians in recent years seem to have taken increasing pride in Canada Day, in part to express just the kind of Canadian values of peace, justice and acceptance that many see as setting ourselves apart from other nations. The reason for the subdued day? The recent discovery of hundreds of Indigenous children’s graves at the notorious residential school sites, which of course is a horrible event of our past. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also ordered government flags at half-mast and many private business and organizations followed suit. Cancellation of celebrations is one thing. But not looking at the other side of the coin another. If politicians believe Canada Day should be cancelled then why haven’t they also spoken out – loudly – against the concomitant destruction of numerous Catholic churches by terrorists (what other name would you give them?) seeking so-called justice for historic crimes? (The Catholic Church mainly ran the residential schools.) Few politicians of any stripe have commented. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the violence “unacceptable.” Conservative leader Erin O’Toole said it was ‘appalling.” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney went a step further calling one arson a “violent hate crime,” which is exactly what it is. Had any other religion’s institutions been so vandalized, you know the reaction would have been swift and overwhelming. Even the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops didn’t issue a statement. Ironically, Indigenous leaders were quick off the mark condemning the terrorism, in part because the churches, though not always respected, were part of First Nations’ histories and long supported by those communities.

Feds again fail on US border re-opening June 22 2021

Another announcement. Another disappointment. But this time, a major one, given the expectations that had been raised over the past month that there would be some lessening of the Canada – US border restrictions if not taking place June 21 then at least a timeline for when the border would be re-opened to non-essential travel. Instead, yesterday, we got four federal ministers announcing only a confirmation of what the prime minister had suggested two weeks ago, that so-called Covid hotels would end July 5 for fully vaccinated Canadians flying into the country. Mind you, you’ll still need a PCR test within three days of arrival and one once you get here. But the dreaded – and grossly unfair and exploitive hotels - will be a thing of the past along with 14 day quarantines. However, people who haven’t got their second shot, let along their first, will still be required to hibernate up to three days in what some have called airport “jails.” And, even if you’re fully vaccinated, kids under 12 in your family will still have to quarantine 14 days. Okay, that’s - mostly - great. Canadians will be liberated from the onerous Covid travel protocols. But there was absolutely nothing in yesterday’s announcement about easing US restrictions, and that’s what most people had been expecting. Instead, all we got from Health Minister Patty Hajdu were vague generalizations. “As we’ve told Canadians all along, easing measures at the border will happen as we see our communities increasingly become safe.” Since for months we’ve been told that vaccinations are the way out of this mess why has the government not moved to ease restrictions for people who are fully vaccinated? That includes Americans as well as Canadians. In Windsor-Essex this is especially of concern since there is a matrix of interconnections - personal, family and business - between Ontario and Michigan. Hajdu couldn’t even give metrics for when there would be a re-opening, as increasingly testy reporters demanded. (For their part we haven’t heard a peep out of American authorities either; the border works both ways.) It indeed is easier to fly to Europe these days than travel by land to the US (and even other Canadian provinces). It’s way past time for decisive leadership on this issue.

Shame on UWindsor's decision to cancel Canada's first prime minister June 7 2021

Shame on the University of Windsor board of governors for caving to pressure to rename Macdonald Hall as Residence Hall West. This comes after some students – actually alumni - complained that having such a building named after Canada’s first prime minister – essentially the nation’s founding farther - made them feel, shall we say, at least uncomfortable. This in light of Macdonald’s alleged racism with regard to his treatment of native peoples including the notorious residential schools. The university’s decision and timing is interesting. The complaint was brought last June. Yet it took this long to make a decision after a report with 460 submissions was mulled over. sought to obtain that report to find exactly what those submissions said. But the report was “in camera” and cannot be released. Nevertheless, the U made its announcement at the height of last week’s wall-to-wall reporting about the latest in the residential schools’ racism fiasco – the discover of 215 anonymous buried children in Kamloops BC. Did it use this searing revelation in part to cover itself? Moreover, the renaming is almost inconsequential. The building might be demolished anyway. Either way, it smacked of a safe move. Tearing down and vandalizing Macdonald’s statues has been all the rage over the last few years, as university after university and municipality after municipality has caved to protesters. In Montreal, a Macdonald statue was vandalized with police standing idly by. But it needs repeating because we are increasingly becoming an ahistorical nation. Macdonald lived in another era when views about human rights and race were different. Not excusable but different - yes even racist. But virtually no historical figure who otherwise showed greatness is exempt. Efforts to tear down, deface and erase past leaders like Macdonald, Washington and Columbus (and now at UWindsor even possibly George-Etienne Cartier and Wilfred Laurier, Canada’s first French prime minister) have become the cause du jour, no doubt representing a small percentage of the population. Rewriting history is ultimately a totalitarian move and straight out of George Orwell. Ironically, activists might not be doing themselves any favor as per George Santayana’s famous quote, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." With this and other likely name changes those alumni outraged by the decision who otherwise support UWindsor might want to reconsider their aid. And it will be interesting if any people in the wider community speak out against. Sure, there might be a couple of letters to the editor. But will any public officials or elected representatives raise their voices? Don’t hold your breath.

Photo: Wikipedia

Welcome to the real estate tsunami May 28 2021

It’s tremble time for Windsorites as they face a new reality – multi unit apartment buildings. Perish the thought. The city of course has long had large apartment buildings. Just drive along Riverside Drive or Wyandotte St. East. But we haven’t seen major growth like this in decades. Moreover, it’s not happening in just one area of town but several. The latest conflagrations are taking place in Southwood Lakes, an upscale single-family hood whose most recent contretemps involved replacing fancy streetlamps, and in south Walkerville. In Southwood, three six storey buildings are envisioned, leading cries that the area is turning into “Toronto.” In Walkerville, it’s a four-story building plunked on the site of a former church in an older single-family district. Overscale and the thin edge of the wedge to decimate the traditional leafy area, say critics. The multi-units are only the latest problem and yet a signifier that Windsor-Essex is beginning to resemble the GTA. Home prices have been through the roof over the past several years, rising more than 60 per cent the past year alone to a once unheard of average $572,000. Also unheard of are the Toronto-like blind bidding auctions creating a frenzy and price spirals. The reason? Because the once lowly City of Roses has been “discovered.” People fleeing million dollar plus priced homes in Toronto keep moving further afield, as cities closer to Toronto like Cambridge and London price themselves out. The pandemic has accelerated “remote” living so workers can telecommute from anywhere. With skyrocketing single family home prices and now the alarm over multi-residentials – ironically, an effort to counter high home prices – starting to overwhelm Windsor, it’s time for governments to take action. Increasing mortgage stress tests (one’s coming into effect next week) might be an answer. Ending blind auctions another. Changing zoning so different types of housing don’t abut one another and conceivably destroy neighbourhoods, admittedly totally against the city’s “intensification” policy though converting derelict buildings might work. Innovative financing like the federal loan and Community Improvement Plan benefits to developer Peter Valente for his Tecumseh Gateway Tower affordable apartments. Even increasing municipal taxes, as proposed by Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development. That’s anathema to a city like Windsor that prides itself on low property taxes but there you have it.

People who got first AZ shot right to have questions about vaccine process May 16 2021

So, what are the two million Canadians who’ve had their first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine to think? Last week several provincial governments suspended use of the vaccine because of the formation of rare blood clots in an extremely small number (one per 100,000 doses in Ontario, 12 in Canada and three deaths) of users “out of an abundance of caution,” of course, in the words of Ontario’s chief medical officer David Williams. Up to that point government has been telling the public to “take the first vaccine that you're offered." Dutifully many did. Now the government has reversed itself. But no problem. “They made the right choice by getting the first vaccine available to them,” Dr. Wajid Ahmed, the area’s Medical Officer of Health, said. That was the general tenor of the public health and political communities after the announcement. Say what? What is the average person who took the shot supposed to think? So, it’s okay if you’ve received one shot but what about the second shot? Isn’t this supposed to be a two-shot process? Even Williams said UK data shows there is much reduced – one in a million – blood clot risk from the second dose. What if governments don’t resume AstraZeneca vaccinations which, Premier Doug Ford, of course, said he would take “in a second.” Canada is now considering mixing vaccines as an alternative to the second AZ shot, particularly since the lion’s share of increased future shipments of vaccines will be the Pfizer-BioNTech jab. But will that be safe? How can a person who has received the first AZ shot, after being told repeatedly it was safe and to take the “first vaccine that you're offered” now believe the government? And if vaccines are mixed can the public really trust there will be no side effects, given what we now know about the (rare) risk of blood clots and the fact this entire vaccine rollout is in a way experimental? Just when Canada’s dismal vaccine rollout was starting to gain critical mass provinces pulled the plug. And will this action itself dampen the enthusiasm for vaccines going forward risking herd immunity? The health and government communities may want to placate the public but average people who got AZ would be right to have profound questions of the inoculation process going forward.

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Getting it straight on lingering Covid issues

Issues at Essex County Council and the Greater Essex County District School Board show there are lingering Covid issues still affecting public policy. County Council is torn by continuing to hold some public meetings electronically. Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain was uncomfortable and understandably so. He suggested in person meetings are important for, well, democracy, with public delegations meeting councillors and a better exchange of issues in person. Meanwhile at the school board some trustees are upset the province hasn’t responded to several letters requesting re-imposition of mandates. That’s perhaps rude but the province has now rescinded the mandates and even interfered when the Ottawa board tried to reimpose them. With the worst part of the pandemic over despite a “sixth wave” of the much milder Omicron variant, trustees should realize protocols are finally over. But it’s worth repeating no one’s preventing any child – or anyone - from wearing masks. That’s an individual decision.– 4/2/22

A near EV future? Good luck automakers

Good luck with converting Stellantis, which own’s Chrysler, customers to totally electric vehicles. Stellantis unveiled ambitious plans yesterday to see the carmaker go totally green by 2038. By 2030 it wants to sell 70-100 per cent EV vehicles in Europe and almost half in US. For those who’ve been keeping track that’s eight years away. It’s hard to see how that will happen. Only nine per cent vehicle sales worldwide in 2021 were EVs. Second, look around you. How many EVs do you see on the road, not just in Windsor-Essex – ironically where gas guzzling pick-ups are well represented among an automotive-based workforce – but North America? Gas stations are as busy as ever. And automakers still haven’t figured out how to convince a skeptical public that EVs are as convenient to fill-up (recharge) and reliable (range anxiety) as good old internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. - 1/3/22

A special place in Hell

There must be a special place in hell for the likes Aubrey Cottle (photo), the self-admitted "cyber-terrorist" hacker who revealed the names of thousands of people who donated to the recent trucker protest convoy. Cottle, in a crazed Tik Tok rant, bragged that "I hacked GiveSendGo baby and I’d do it again! I’d do it a hundred times!” His hacking of the GiveSendGo donation site has now resulted in journalists prying into - and some revealing - the names of people donating to the convoy. In certain cases those who owned businesses have been threatened after their names were released. - 22/2/22

Public board strikes from on high again

Attention Greater Essex County District School Board! Just because a school’s team name is “rebel” doesn’t mean its football and basketball players are racists. But in another top-down move by the public board, just like it did by overruling a naming committee for the new Amherstburg high school to make sure the name there was politically correct, the board has dictated that Riverside Secondary School has to change its name, Rebels. Why? Because the word “rebels” is associated with Confederate racists in the US South. Well, sure, though how many people knew that? But it’s more overwhelmingly associated with the general use of the term – considered indeed very progressive – of people who rebel. Get it - “rebel” (verb), same as rebel (noun) – against authority of all kinds? Is the iconic film starring James Dean, Rebel Without a Cause, also to be banned? Mind you, Riverside’s T-shirt of a Casper-like ghost carrying a conspicuous-looking Confederate flag was bizarre. But you can castigate the flag without banning the name. – 2/2/22

Town tries, and fails, to ban free speech

Port Colborne, Ont. has a lot of nerve, not to mention lacking in any concept of free speech. The municipality tried to get a resident to take down a F-ck Trudeau flag but failed. You may have seen the flags or stickers which are also displayed in Windsor-Essex. Port Colborne said the flag violated property standards where “exterior walls of a dwelling and their components shall be free of unauthorized signs, painted slogans, graffiti and similar defacements.” After a legal challenge the town, located in the Niagara region, backed down. The municipality also thought the message obscene. Huh? A red maple leaf fills out one of the first word's letters. “We hope that (homeowner) Melissa’s situation will serve as an example to other towns and cities, and that citizens across Canada will remain free to express their political views without interference from bureaucrats,” says Christine Van Geyn of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, which brought the challenge. Yes, take note petty tyrants everywhere and those ignorant of the law. – 1/17/22

Health unit needs to disclose more info

Why won’t the local health unit release details on why someone with Covid-19 has died? Such is the case with a 20-something whom the unit this week reported died with Covid. The reason? “Privacy.” How far does privacy go versus releasing vital public information that might be useful in putting this pandemic into perspective? Was the individual vaccinated? Did she (the health unit has already given her gender away) have comorbidities, often the case with young Covid deaths? Keeping the public in the dark will only continue rash generalizations and fuel paranoia over this disease. – 12/15/21

Use supply chain crisis to get back to "real meaning" of Christmas

There are fears aplenty that the current supply chain crisis will mean fewer gifts under the tree this Christmas. “Consumers might see news about port backups, but that won’t hit home until they try to buy the toy of the year and can't get it," Jennifer Bartashus, an analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, said. “That’s when they’ll hit crisis mode.” While one can sympathize with retailers trying to recover from the pandemic, here’s an idea. How about a less materialistic Christmas? Middle class Canadians for decades have had a plethora of the latest toys and gadgets to choose from at Christmastime to the point of material gluttony. How about using this supply chain crisis to get back to the “real meaning” of the Yule? Less materialism and more glad tidings. – 11/9/21

Photo: Creative Commons

Board insults A'burg school naming ctte.

You can joke that nothing should ever be decided by committee, especially a 16-member one. But in this case the committee successfully decided something that was overruled by the very people who appointed it. That would be the Greater Essex County District School Board, which, quite out of the blue and after months of the committee’s hard work, rejected the name of the new Amherstburg high school because, wait for it, it had the name “Amherst” in it. For some reason, Amherst has become a dirty word. That’s because the town, as well as a multitude of communities across Canada and the US – are named after the 18th century Lord Jeffrey, whose forces conquered New France and he became the first British Governor General of what would become Canadian territories. The charge: he wanted to infect Indigenous people’s blankets with smallpox. In recent years that has become his defining narrative although it has been challenged. But now that the board has rejected its own committee’s well-intentioned decision, it, rather than the citizens of Amherstburg, should hang its head in shame. – 10/12/21

Photo: Wikipedia

Hold him to his words

It’s good to see Premier Doug Ford saying yesterday the new provincial vaccine passports will be only “temporary.” Here’s his words: “We need to do everything in our power to avoid future lockdowns and closures. That is why we are bringing in these exceptional measures on a temporary basis and will end them as soon as they can be responsibly removed.” That’s good to hear, especially when so many provinces, including Ontario, have given no indication when such a pass system will have a sunset clause. Customers of “non-essential” businesses, starting today, will have to show vaccine receipts. You’ll also have to show a personal ID card! And then on this date next month the QR phone app will launch. The pass is a huge intrusion on civil liberties, pandemic or no pandemic. And it’s highly questionable how effective it will be with very high provincial vax rates and evidence that even people who are vaccinated can spread Covid-19. So Ford’s nod to personal liberties is welcome but let’s hold him accountable and expect this “papers please” regime will end ASAP. – 9/22/21

Why foot-dragging on school worker vax mandates?

Why weren’t teachers and other school workers not forced to be vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus, as hospital workers are being told to do at risk of losing their jobs? Throughout this pandemic teacher unions have been among the most vociferous in their cries for a “safe” return to classes as huge amounts of the school year were eviscerated last year and this due to Covid fears. Yet the school year began with no mandates. The province just came out with a tepid policy requiring workers to only regularly get tested instead of vaxxed and has given school boards until Sept. 27 to implement their own policies. Toronto’s board has finally required full vaccination by Nov. 1. But why has it taken so long? Why did the province, only after classes resumed, announce the policy? And it comes as scores of children in local Windsor-Essex schools are sent home because of Covid-19 cases. – 9/15/21

"Your papers, please!"

It has come to this. More and more government jurisdictions, from New York to Quebec and now Nova Scotia, are implementing or plan to implement so-called vaccine passports. This means that to use non-essential facilities – to enjoy a pleasant Saturday evening at a restaurant, for example - people will have to show their papers, or in modern parlance a phone app, to prove they’ve been fully vaxxed. The idea is abhorrent because of its grave infringement on civil liberties and is reminiscent of old Soviet and Nazi war films. “Your papers, please!” Thankfully, Ontario’s Doug Ford hasn’t signed on, though don’t be surprised if he finally does, peer pressure from other jurisdictions forcing his hand. As for Covid safety if people are fully vaxxed why a passport? They should be confident knowing they’re overwhelmingly protected. – 8/9/21

"Get the first vaccine available" - yeah right

There have been many examples throughout the pandemic where governments got it wrong. Whether it be originally advising against mask wearing, then closing small retailers where Covid hardly spreads, that Covid can be picked up from tactile surfaces (why are there still hand sanitizers?) to closing schools when a preponderance of evidence shows kids are least suspectable to Covid and hardly spread it. Add to the list the refrain “Get the first vaccine available.” There’s probably a lot of Canadians right now seething with anger having got, say, AstraZeneca’s Covishield (Indian manufactured) version or mixed different vaccines because of Canada’s deplorable early vaccine rollout. Why? Because many countries and cruise lines are now refusing to accept people who got those very jabs.– 7/23/21

Indigenous land acknowledgements no substitute for action

For the federal Liberals it’s all virtue signaling or show with no substance, as per their treatment of Indigenous people. The “land acknowledgement” has now become standard for Liberal MPs such as local Irek Kusmierczyk (photo) before a recent arts announcement. Same at Infrastructure Minster Catherine McKinnon’s resignation this week. Other governments are getting into the act like Essex Town Council. But apologetic rhetoric is no substitute for action. (Notice no one is actually giving back any land.) And the Liberals have abysmally failed to meet their First Nations clean water targets this year, a 2015 pledge. In April there were 52 long-term drinking water advisories on 33 First Nations. Also, former auditor general Michael Ferguson long condemned the “incomprehensible failure” of federal and provincial programs, managed “to accommodate the people running them rather than the people receiving the services.” – 6/30/21

Let's have heritage common sense

Let’s hear it for some common sense when it comes to heritage planning. A perfect example is the tale of the bricked-up window at the former Courtesy Bicycles shop in Sandwich Towne. Kyle Macdonald is fixing up older buildings in some of the city’s more distressed or underpopulated neighbourhoods including Drouillard Rd. and Sandwich (see RESTAURANTS page). Yet the city’s heritage committee went into a tizzy with members complaining that Macdonald wasn’t adhering to heritage guidelines by bricking up a side bathroom window that would have infringed on privacy by facing a next door tavern. The building itself isn’t designated heritage but all of Sandwich is, hence the problem. Lynn Baker called it a “slippery slope” and could be a precedent for other developers and said “rules” are there for a purpose. Get real. There is heritage and there is heritage. Committee members (who voted to uphold the alteration 6-4) should have discretion enough to decide when a developer is evading the rules and not bring the hammer down on someone who has shown he has the best interests of neighbourhoods at heart. - 6/16/21

Ottawa: no can-do

It’s not quite the same as the attitude Washington showed New York City during the 1970s when the New York Daily News blared 'Ford to City: Drop Dead.' But Windsorites might be beyond scratching their heads why the federal government seems so reluctant on helping-out the southwestern Ontario border city. First there was the longstanding effort to create a “national urban park” on the last undeveloped piece of land along the Detroit River. The federally owned Windsor Port Authority balked, wanting a proper land exchange for the site. And now there is the vaccine issue. Mayor Drew Dilkens has been making every effort to get the feds to sign on to a plan to vaccinate local people with excess Michigan vaccines – tens of thousands of doses going to waste – administered at the bridge, tunnel or in Windsor itself. But stonewalling only prevails; every reason is put forward against rather than cutting red tape. Yet NHL players get an exemption on quarantines. Windsorites might keep this in mind come election time. – 6/8/21

Time's up for politicians' "human" excuse

The time limit is up on politicians using the “I’m human” excuse for violating Covid-19 rules. Especially when they’re the ones who made them. Such is the case with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer who recently went to an East Lansing restaurant. There, her all-vaccinated friends and colleagues pushed tables together, in marked contravention of Michigan’s Covid resto distancing rules. “In retrospect, I should have thought about it. I am human. I made a mistake, and I apologize,” the gov said. This is at least the third such questionable Covid violation by Whitmer or her family, a politician who has overseen one of the harshest lockdowns of any state in America. Yes, it’s human to forget. But when regular people go to great pains to obey the rules and as someone who has been lecturing people for more than a year to respect them, Whitmer really has no excuse. – 5/26/21

Back of the vax line for “hero” workers

It’s shameful that one group of people – essential workers – is still waiting for their vaccine shots. Thank you very much – or not -to the province for yesterday finally extending vax eligibility to this cohort. But what took them so long and even now there’s no schedule when vax shots may be available, at least locally, according to the local health unit. This group falls into the “hero” class during the pandemic – those who have no choice but to work among the public such as in grocery stores, restaurants and in critical supply chains. For one thing, their health is in greater jeopardy than other groups who have already received the vaccine like middle class telecommuters working safely from home or even those retired and healthy in their own households. For another, the decision disproportionately affects low-income workers, adding to often difficult everyday issues like paying the rent and using mass transit. It’s beyond imaginable that their eligibility has been delayed this long. – 5/12/21

Photo: UFCW

Wrong decision again on non-essential retail

Leave it to the government to continually screw things up as the epidemic drags on. As an obvious sop to the small business sector Premier Doug Ford earlier this month announced that, from now on, big box stores cannot sell non-essential items. Up to then the stores could sell both grocery and pharmacy and, well, clothes, household goods and electronics. But small business complained incessantly they were closed down for indoor shopping citing a double standard. So, to level the playing field, the gov banned big box non-essential. And have made life even more miserable for a weary public. But that’s not what the small business sector wanted. They wanted to sell non-essential at the same time as big box did. (See story on’s FOOD & RETAIL page) – 4/28/21

Photo: Toronto Sun

Hand over the reports

The decision not to dig deeper into the almost $300,000 in missing Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) funds, of course, is bound to raise suspicions. City Council last week voted 7-4 against handing over reports from three investigations, even if redacted, to councillors. In the words of those who voted against, it would be “overreach” (Fabio Costante) and “perpetuating some suspicion” (Jim Morrison). Well, you’ve already piqued our interest by not providing more info on how the $292,000 was pilfered from ERCA when its computers were hacked last year. Especially when former ERCA general manager Richard Wyma resigned after the scam was detected. ERCA CAO Tim Byrne says three investigations, including by police, found ERCA was simply a victim of international hackers and the matter comes under a “personnel agreement,” generally confidential. Nevertheless, a cloud of, well, suspicion, remains. – 4/6/21

Hey kids, welcome to your debt-laden future

Do you see those children in the playground? Or toddlers led by nanny or daycare staff? Or elementary kids on the school bus? Please have some pity. Because they likely will be shouldering mountains and mountains of Covid-inspired debt. Thank the Canadian government and yes, its provincial counterparts. Over the past year Canada spent more than $380 billion with a total debt (accumulated since Confederation) of $1.08 billion, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. That works out to almost $29,000 per Canadian. Ontario’s debt is almost $400 billion or $27,000 per Ontarian. Somebody has got to pay for it – eventually. And since governments tend to kick the can down the road if only for politics, expect the payback to be delayed and delayed. Until those poor kids start earning income. – 3/18/21

Vindictive and deflective

After refusing to close international borders to air travellers for all of last year and even to take Covid PCR tests or temperature checks upon arrival, Canada has now laid down the law with a vengeance. Not only do travellers now need a PCR test within three days of departure but a second test upon arrival here. Then a three-day quarantine in an airport hotel until the test result is obtained and pay $2000 for the privilege. Adding insult is the pitiful infrastructure – hotel and government reservation lines jammed and inexplicably bad or meagre food. And then travellers must have another test at day 10 of their regular 14-day quarantine. Ironically of 856,666 Covid cases by end of January only 1.8 per cent were from travellers or those who had contact with them. These harsh measures seem only to punish people for the sake of travelling - an easy target - and to take eyes off the Trudeau government’s pathetic vaccine rollout. – 3/5/21

Photo: Reuters

Single-game sports betting - don't hold your breath

It’s amazing how long it takes to pass certain legislation in this country. Just take a look at NDP MP Windsor West Brian Masse’s (photo) quixotic journey to get the feds to support single-game sports betting. Masse introduced a first private member’s bill in 2012, which passed in the House but was blocked in the Senate. He tried again in 2016 but this time most Liberals in the majority government voted against. This time Masse turned the bill over to Conservative MP Kevin Waugh since he had an earlier spot in bill rotation to get the bill passed more quickly. It has now passed 303-15 in the minority parliament. It still needs to go to committee, third reading and the Senate. Masse has long argued the benefits to a city like Windsor and casino employment. But the fact more US states allow it, including next door Michigan, may also have been a factor. But don’t hold your breath. Rumors of a late spring election could derail all legislation on parliament’s order paper. – 2/19/21

Gordie Howe bridge name controversy – give it up already

Lately there has been some public controversy over the naming of the Gordie Howe International Bridge (GHIB). Why now? The decision to name the bridge was made almost six years ago when then Prime Minister Stephen Harper, known as something of a hockey nut, came up with the idea of naming the bridge after the superstar hockey player. Why Gordie Howe? Because he symbolized the Canadian-American nature of the bridge. Howe was born in Saskatchewan and played almost his entire career in Detroit. was never crazy about the name either. A sports figure – really – with limited public appeal? But that arena door, so to speak, is long closed. It's time to move on. – 1/21/21

Photo: Wikipedia