Strike a yawn in summer doldrums July 11 2024

The LCBO strike – surprisingly, the first – is one of those “so what” moments. The union timed it well, smack at the beginning of summer vacation season (at least they spared us the Canada Day weekend, that would have gone too far), just to annoy the public as they head to the cottage or prepare weekend barbecues. And the union had the ironic gall to say its members are on strike “to save summer.” But at least pickets are enjoying the hot weather, better than in December before Christmas - LCBO’s busiest time - being out in the bitter cold. Hell, maybe they’re even barbecuing! But, guys, it really doesn’t matter. Thanks to successive governments, starting under the Liberals' Kathleen Wynne, alcohol sales in traditionally staid Ontario were expanded into grocery stores. So, many fewer people are being inconvenienced. True, LCBO workers aren’t overpaid, contrary to what many think. According to Indeed, a "customer service representative" is paid $18.37/hr, "sales associate" $17.39 and a "warehouse worker" $17.04. Management makes much more and the LCBO is reportedly top heavy. But union leader JP Hornick has made some inane class warfare remarks by saying the Ford government wants more profits to “go into the pockets of (big box grocery stores) corporate CEOs.” And that expanded sales – guffaw – “puts every Ontarian at risk.” At the supposed heart of the strike is the government’s move to continue the expansion of alcohol sales, including lucrative ready-to-drink cocktails and hard spritzers, into grocery and corner stores. But Premier Ford is adamant – “that ship has sailed.” Yes, the union is concerned about wages, benefits and job security. But its rhetoric of social welfare is misleading. It touts the LCBO profits generated - $2.5 billion annually – for government services like “health care and education.” Not so fast. Statistics Canada says the LCBO generates the second lowest per capita return to government of any province. Fully privatized (which the union dreads) Alberta, for example, generates $178 per person compared to $159 in Ontario, or an extra $300 million.

Photo: LCBO

Axing University Players a collective blow to students, the community June 27 2024

The decision to eliminate the performing arts theatre program University Players at the University of Windsor wasn’t just boneheaded but cowardly. University officials said the decision, which will save up to $1 million (that was the program’s yearly loss) was made at the “administrative” level and did not come before the Board of Governors. Those behind the decision must have known the outcry it would provoke, and it has. And they probably realized the Board wouldn’t have approved it or certainly made it difficult for the measure to pass. Yes, money had to be found in a tight university budget and this wasn’t the only program cancelled or rejigged. But the Players (aside from its recent politically correct “trigger warnings” before plays) was a standout and put the university on the Canadian, even international stage. Legions of alumni since the late 1950s have gone on to professional acting careers. Among these are Antoni Cimolino, artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, celebrated actor Stephen Ouimette, Jeanne Holmes, artistic director of the Canada Dance Festival, Paul Constable – the “Canada Tire Guy” of ad fame, Tom McCamus of the Shaw Festival, and Amanda Tapping, star of the TV shows Stargate SG-1 and Sanctuary. “We have been extremely fortunate to benefit from its many well-trained and talented graduates,” Antoni Cimolino said. The program “has been unrivalled in the particular blend of training and education it has provided its students, many of whom have gone on to illustrious careers,” former Stratford director Richard Monette noted. Yes, says the university, dramatic arts will continue and students will still have “meaningful avenues for experiential learning” through, among other things, “strengthening relationships with the broader theatre community.” But, with the decision, not only does the university suffer a blow to its reputation and one of its most signature programs, but the community loses near-professional live theatre that scheduled six productions a year in a purpose-built 300+ seat theatre. It’s a blow to the collective gut and a decision that cannot stand.

Photo: University of Windsor

Urban park - more thinking required; Civic esplanade ice rink - too pricey June 13 2024

It was a good idea until it, uh, maybe it isn’t. Canada’s proposed second national urban park in west end Windsor, with great fanfare, would combine some existing natural areas and incorporate more land down to the Detroit River, in an otherwise partly industrial area. And that’s the rub. There are numerous heavy industries in close proximity. How would these coexist with the park or would they be incorporated into park boundaries? Among these are the Windsor Salt mine and the Essex Terminal Railway, whose tracks would bisect the park and could in effect be part of park land. Those private entities would now be subject to federal regulations in a highly sensitive ecological zone under the National Parks Act, which could be a bureaucratic nightmare especially given the Trudeau government's obsession with the environment. Mayor Drew Dilkens has asked the government to adjust the park boundaries but it’s obvious this plan wasn’t well thought out. Meanwhile, in the city’s own bailiwick, Council this week approved a whopping $15 million for a new ice rink, a space which would also host year-round events. Yes, the city wants to move on its decades old dream to create a civic esplanade from city hall to the river. But this is going overboard, especially when it would have cost only $1 million to upgrade the problem plagued current rink at Charles Clark Square. Even some of the mayor’s staunchest allies like councillors Jo-anne Gignac and Fred Francis voted against. In fact, the mayor broke the tied vote. WON generally has supported the Dilkens administration, including or perhaps despite the controversial streetcar Legacy Beacon – who knows, maybe it will work just like Bright Lights Windsor which had its share of naysayers - and sound fiscal management. But this is too much and smacks of empire building.

Image: City of Windsor

Province must rein-in boards - now May 29 2024

Something has got to be done about our illiberal school boards. Two cases in point ring in on the same day. One, in Windsor, sees a microphone cut off, of two Christian activists raising concerns about questionable sexually explicit material in school libraries, which they called “child pornography.” It’s confusing. Board chair Gail Hatfield (photo) said they were speaking off topic and had to relegate remarks to the Ontario Education Act, whatever that meant. She even called security, a typical move. Is this splitting hairs and another attempt by the school board, following a similar clash with parents last year over flying the Pride flag (Pride Month is just days away) as well as not disclosing a students’ changed gender identity to parents, to be politically correct? Not to mention its overriding local citizen school naming decisions? It really seems like this board doesn’t brook any dissent or dissent it doesn’t like. That’s called authoritarianism if not fascism. One might joke: this isn’t a school playground, it’s real life, grow up! Meanwhile up in Burlington, a Jewish parent withdrew her daughter from the local high school because she said she couldn’t be protected from antisemitic remarks. The parent also complained the school allowed maps of Palestine without Israel. “I live in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, and my child is not in school because she's Jewish. That's insane,” said Anissa Hersh, noting that following last October’s terror attacks on Israel “things have gotten much, much worse.” This is the same board which protected a shop teacher wearing mammoth prosthetic breasts, despite concerns about workplace safety and dress code. Somewhat surprisingly, Education Minister Stephen Lecce, largely MIA on these issues, spoke up. He said he would call on the board to “take action on these unacceptable incidents and apply the same level of concern and enforcement to hate as they would for anyone else.” It’s time Lecce and the full Ontario (Conservative) government called these autocratic school boards to account, on antisemitism, gender identity and, well, just about any issue these oh-so-politically-correct school trustees don’t like.


Pro-Gazan demonstrators' duplicity May 13 2024

You knew it was just a matter of time but what took them so long? The University of Windsor now has its very own “liberation zone” of pro-Palestinians or pro-Hamas demonstrators and a small encampment, which pales by comparison to the larger crowds at other Canadian universities. But, hey, it’s Windsor. The ill-informed protesters say they want the university to boycott investment in Israel, but the university already channels its investments through an ethical portal. And why would investing in Israel not be ethical? It’s the only democracy in the Middle East with a culture dramatically similar to what’s found in Canada or the United States, with a very large ethnically and racially diverse society, contrary to the “apartheid” tripe of these and other protesters. And did you know Muslim Arabs make up one-fifth of the population and that road signs there are in three languages – Hebrew, Arabic and English? And that Arabs are represented in Parliament? And that Israeli hospitals for decades have treated patients from Gaza and the West Bank? And you probably didn't know Gaza has not been "occupied" since 2005. And if these protesters care about human rights and “genocide” then they should look squarely at what they’re supporting. Israel doesn’t want to eliminate Arabs or Gazans. But the Gazan Hamas Charter explicitly calls for the elimination of the Jewish state. Now that’s genocide! Moreover, if these copycat protesters are so concerned about human rights, where is their condemnation of the Oct. 7 pogrom, where some 1200 Israelis were massacred and 250 taken hostage? Silence. And where is your real defense of your own people - as Hamas terrorists embed themselves in civilian neighbourhoods and use fellow Gazans as human shields? So, have a little fun and camp out and try to be as profound as you think you are. But we can see through your duplicity.

The latest downtown booster proposals are likely to draw mixed results April 26 2025

The mayor’s new Strengthen the Core proposal to bolster downtown is good but has weaknesses. Yes, more policing is needed – and around the clock, when crimes actually take place, such as the rash of smashed storefront windows. The $3.2 million budget would see an additional dozen officers deployed to the core. But even with this number cops can’t be everywhere at the same time. No doubt vandalism will continue to occur. WON has argued in the past for physical changes which this plan doesn’t address, such as supporting store owners to install metal blinds over their windows, very common in Europe. That is definitely one way to prevent vandalism. Of the seven-point action plan, most of these proposals unfortunately are pie-in-the sky. The downtown already does uber marketing. Filling vacant storefronts? The city has attempted this with mixed success over 20 years. Lobbying senior governments to help the homeless? Good luck and what if street people don’t want to be helped? Attracting more people downtown through festivals and events is a good measure but this can’t be done on a 365-day basis. Encouraging residents to move downtown? This is happening already largely through the imagination of private developers converting office buildings with help from the city’s very successful CIP or tax increment write-off program. Terms like “place-making”, “stronger together” and “our downtown” have all the earmarks of a gee whiz marketing professional, so it figures that an outside agency, Toronto-based StrategyCorp, which likely knows next to nothing about Windsor, drew it up. Couldn’t the city have hired local consultants? The final aspect could be controversial, the $3.2 million to finance the plan, which would be applied as part of an additional tax hike on all ratepayers. You can almost hear the moaning now.

Getting straight on anti-Israel protests April 12 2024

Cannot we not all agree that certain forms of protest are simply wrong? Such as marching through university libraries shouting slogans and intimidating other students - Jews and non-Jews alike – who are studying, supposedly in a quiet place? That shouting “Death to America” in Dearborn this week is traitorous speech? That wearing masks is against the law and simply cowardly; if you feel so strongly about you opinions then bloody well unmask yourselves? That blocking key roads, such as Avenue Road near the 401 in Toronto purposely because it's near a Jewish community, is a public offence akin to the truckers’ protests? That firebombing, shooting, and demonstrating at Jewish institutions and businesses is beyond vile and subject to the full force of the law (as it has rarely been employed in this country since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel), especially when the objects of those attacks are in no way responsible for the Middle East conflict but just shows your outright racism by targeting a certain people? That the police need to be totally educated on how they respond to demonstrations. Yes, plenty of cops this week surrounding anti-carbon tax protesters and those who demonstrated during Covid against vaccines and masking but wimpish stand downs at anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian/Hamas demonstrations in Canadian cities. And that as a demonstrator when you shout “from the river to the sea” you indeed are calling for genocide, a violation of the United Nations Charter and one of the most egregious criminal and anti-human sentiments? And that when you attack Israel but not your own side for the atrocities of Oct. 7 you are blatantly two-faced and undermine any credibility you claim to have?

Ford government is just Liberal lite March 28 2024

Sometimes it’s hard to believe we have a Progressive Conservative government in Ontario. Exhibit A: Tuesday's budget. Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy has bumped the deficit up to $9.8 billion. That's a record, folks, regardless of the political party in power. That's also more than three times the deficit of the $3 billion the Tories ran just one year ago. This all adds to the government;s overall debt - $439 billion. When the Tories came to power in 2018 they talked up inheriting “the largest subnational (net) debt in the world” that Dalton McGuinty's spendthrift Liberals had piled up, then $343 billion. Ford in his first budget said his government would "balance the budget responsibly” by “restoring trust, transparency and accountability in the province’s finances …” Last year the Tories said they'd build a surplus of $200 million this year. In all their time in power they've only balanced the budget once. (The McGuinty government, for their part, had balanced the budget three out of 16 times.) Yes, the Ford government is justifying (or rationalizing) spending by saying it’s giving breaks to taxpayers such as the gas tax cut and the pause in the alcohol escalator, and providing hundreds of millions more for health and community services. But there's always something, isn't there? The government is also impacted by the recent court ruling that forced it to repeal its legislation capping civil servants’ pay increases to one per cent in each of three years, resulting in as much as $8 billion in more wages over the next several years. The unions, of course, are never helpful, only thinking of themselves not the wider commonweal. And beyond fiscal restraint, Ford's government has done nothing to show it's conservative. It has not confronted school boards and professional associations on growing wokery (such as parental consent on gender identity). Nor has it made any symbolic gestures like unboxing Sir John A.'s statue at Queen's Park. Despite Ford's "Trumpian" appearance and ah sucks "folksy" rhetoric, he's a big-spending liberal and in many ways a political coward.

Kingsville new school naming a symptom of deeper problems March 9 2024

A few years ago there was the controversy over the naming of the new high school in Amherstburg. In an almost exact repeat pattern now there is the naming of the new K-12 school in Kingsville. In both cases a widely engaged community committee came up with names only to have them jettisoned by the school board. Or in Kingsville’s case trustee Julia Burgess because, supposedly, she preferred her own name, Erie Migration Academy. Okay, we get the "migration" part since Kingsville is home to migrating Canada geese (though did it mean wider human migration?). Regardless, this was her overruling a more democratically selected committee. Burgess hasn't really explained herself well and seems to be keeping mum. The town, though, is outraged and students have held repeated demonstrations against the name change. In the case of Amherstburg, North Star was the name chosen over what had been General Amherst, a politically correct name rather than that of an old colonial general the town happens to be named after, this being the star that the slaves followed to freedom in Canada. As for the Kingsville name we can only guess. "King" doesn’t mean Canada's Commonwealth affiliation - or, oh dear, colonial, past - but named after the town’s founder James King though he was a military colonel. Perhaps Burgess doesn’t know this. The board, in its elitist wisdom, backed her 6 - 2. The Greater Essex County District School Board continues to show its autocratic nature and contempt for democracy. It’s like numerous boards across the province these days, which have held parents in contempt in cases involving issues of political correctness. It’s time the weak provincial Ford government showed some spine and reined these boards in, issuing new mandates to democratize them and listen to their constituents.

City rightly sticks to its guns on fourplex housing densification 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 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. 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 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 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? 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Photo: CP

For housing growth, cut immigration 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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Publisher: Ron Stang

Who gets a 137% pay increase? Why, your local county councillor

“They give up time with their families and jobs to take part in these decision-making initiatives,” Essex County Hilda Macdonald (photo) said in justifying a mammoth pay raise for Essex County councilors. Oh please. Every one of those councillors knew exactly the rate of pay they’d get when they ran for office. Following a consultant’s report, council voted 10-4 – surprise surprise – to give themselves the increase. What’s especially galling is the amount of increase – from $13,211 to $31,302. That’s 137 per cent. That’s when the average Canadian wage increase this year is expected to be 3.6 per cent. That of course doesn’t include what councillors make on their own municipal councils. But Macdonald’s pay stays the same at $92,987. Wonderful. – 8/7/24

UW activist is a perfect example of the latest left wing cause

There is wide speculation that the current pro-Palestinian demonstrations and “encampments” across North America is also simply the latest left-wing cause, as Black Lives Matter was in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in 2020. Sure, ethnic Arabs or Muslims are involved. But many of the organizers are the usual leftists hitching on to the latest campaign. No further proof is needed than the leader of the University of Windsor’s encampment Jana Alrifai, who also happens to be “a longtime organizer of an on-campus effort to boot out RBC,” according to the Windsor Star. That's because of the bank’s investment in the oil industry, a longtime leftist crusade. Added the Star, “Alrifai… also co-organizer of the pro-Palestinian encampment…” – 24/6/24

Photo: CBC

How about noise cameras to tag offending motorists?

Windsor has red light cameras. How about noise cameras? Belgium and France are installing them, at least on an experimental basis, to crack down on noisy motorists. They work similar to speed cameras by taking photos of noisy vehicles. The cameras are attached to microphones to gauge decibel level. While Belgian authorities are reacting to numerous complaints about modified cars and mopeds here in Windsor-Essex we can thinking of a couple of general offenders – well, modified cars with aggravating tailpipes and their counterpart two-wheelers. Nothing like a boomer going by at 5 am to wake the local citizenry. Or, for that matter, having to cover their ears when a flock goes through the neighbourhood on an otherwise pleasant Sunday afternoon. – 10/6/24

This is a great man

This is what you call a great man. New Brunswicker Walter Gillespie recently died, only a few months after winning his freedom and being exonerated in a 1973 murder. Gillespie was wrongly imprisoned for 21 years after refusing to implicate his friend Robert Mailman for the same offence. Mailman was also acquitted in January after new evidence came forward. At the time of the murder St. John Police had offered Gellespie a reduced charge – and only three years in prison - if he signed a statement against Mailman. “I said I was not going to do that,” he said. Gellespie had a tough life. He had just a grade six education. Most of his family died in a house fire when he was 20. How many others of us would have held firm with our principles when facing, wrongly, life in prison? – 27/5/24

Photo: CP

Save the tracks!

Since the theme of preserving Sandwich Town is in part heritage what gives with the city and Gordie Howe Intl. Bridge wanting to extract or pave over the only remaining streetcar tracks in Windsor? The tracks are exposed at three intersections. But as part of “community benefits” and a new “gateway” leading off the bridge, the aged tracks would be removed. Few people probably even know they exist. But they are a unique part of city infrastructure, especially considering the new “legacy” streetcar beacon being built up the street. There should at least be a sign indicating the tracks' historic importance. Instead, they would be removed and a “modern finish” partly to meet accessibility, overlaid. Save the tracks! – 13/5/24

Photo: Google Street View

No apology needed

Can we just put a stop to apologies for actions that took place hundreds of years ago that are not the least reflective of our current society? The latest call for an official apology is by local African-Canadian historian Elise Harding-Davis, who now has the support of NDP MP Brian Masse. What good will an apology do? Does she think it will change the way people today feel about race? Overwhelmingly people support racial equality. Most people think of Canada as a nation that welcomed freed American slaves via the Underground Railroad. But apparently Canada also harboured as many as 4700 of its own slaves, pre-Confederation, until the Brits abolished slavery in 1834. But, according to Masse, this seeded future racial discrimination. How about instead of an apology, a celebration of the progress we’ve made? – 25/4/24

Sly move could help guarantee MPs' their lucrative pensions

Oh, those parliamentarians! Federal Democratic Institutions (rather an ironic title) Minister Dominic Leblanc has proposed moving the next fixed election date to Oct. 27, 2025. The reason? Well, a Hindu religious festival, Diwali, and Alberta municipal elections, fall on the current election day, Oct. 20, don’t you know? It’s part of a suite of proposed election changes. Keeping the fixed election date on Oct. 20 would mean that those MPs – there’s 80 of them - elected Oct. 21, 2019, would miss out by one day, having served all but a full six years and therefore not qualifying for the lucrative and controversial “gold plated” pensions, should they lose their seats. Of course, MPs never complain about annual salary increases like the more than $8000 bump-up they again April 1. Nor have we heard any voices raised against this. Three local MPs could receive the payoff: Irek Kusmierczyk, Liberal Windsor–Tecumseh, Chris Lewis, CPC Essex and Dave Epp, CPC, Chatham-Kent-Leamington. – 12/4/24

This April First, the government is making fools of all of us

This April Fool's Day the joke's on us as Ottawa makes fools of Canadian taxpayers. The country is being smacked that day by the federal government on three fronts. First, the carbon tax is increasing, hitting consumers in perhaps the most visible way possible, a 17 cent rise in the price of a litre of gasoline not to mention heating bills where 15 cents will be tacked on to a cubic metre of natural gas. In another sucker punch that's bound to hurt hard-working people who sometimes just want to relax with a glass of beer, wine or spirits, Ottawa is upping the tax on alcohol by 4.7%. On the flip side, and adding insult to injury, MP's are giving themselves a pay raise - $8,100, and the fifth since 2020, during periods of Covid and excessive inflation. It's incredible what the government thinks it can - and does - get away with. - 10/3/24

Upload Huron Ch Road

The City of Windsor is on the hook for $900,000 for policing and other costs during the infamous February 2022 border blockade by anti-vax truckers. That’s because the feds didn’t pay the city the full amount of the bill, which came to almost $7 million. The reason wasn’t given but irked Mayor Drew Dilkens who said he’d “never been more offended” as a city politician. Seeing that the blockade took place on Huron Church Rd. here’s a thought. How about uploading the costs of that roadway – essentially an international border and truck trade route – to senior levels of government, just like the province recently agreed to take over Toronto’s Gardiner Expy. and Don Valley Pkwy. At least the city wouldn’t have to shell out costs for that. – 6/2/24

Photo: YouTube

Holding separate budget meetings - what a concept

There are some things so obvious, and beyond belief why they weren’t done before, that you just have to shake your head. News comes that the City of Windsor effective this year began holding a budget delegations meeting – where public groups can lobby for funding - one week before the actual budget vote. Previously City Council hosted delegations on the same night of the budget vote. “Having this meeting in advance actually lets councillors think through, for a week, some of the comments,” said Mayor Drew Dilkens. … “as opposed to trying to deal with it in real-time at the budget meeting.” No kidding. – 23/1/24

A'burg's TRUE Fest "family-friendly" in eyes of the beholder

Amherstburg’s TRUE Fest, interrupted by Covid, is now in its third year. But it has spawned controversy, especially by having drag queens parade in public. The event elicited “numerous, numerous phone calls and e-mails” according to councillor Diane Pouget, with people “very angry and upset” that this wasn’t a family-friendly event. Not so, said CAO Valerie Critchley, as the event was “vetted” and is indeed “family friendly.” News to Pouget who said “council never once agreed to spend taxpayers’ money on drag queens and advocate it as a family affair.” But council by one vote approved it again for this month. Obviously, in Amherstburg, “family friendly” is in the eyes of the beholder. – 9/1/24

Photo: Town of Amherstburg

Town right to refuse islanders' request

Amherstburg Town Council was right in rejecting the pleas by a group of Boblo Island (now rechristened by the upscale moniker Bois Blanc) residents for the municipality to take over the island ferry service. Town councillors told a delegation flat out this isn’t the town’s responsibility but that of the realtor who developed the island, Amico, because that’s whom the islanders signed the ferry contract with. It’s inexcusable that residents were left without a backup ferry when the main ferry was temporarily out of service earlier this fall. Residents could not take their cars back and forth to the mainland over a two-week period. Amico has ducked during this entire controversy, but the islanders’ dispute is with the developer not the town. – 6/12/23

Heads should roll in hospitals' cyber breach case

Heads should roll in wake of the massive cyber breach of hospital data at five area health institutions through its IT provider Transform Shared Service Organization, a Chatham-based company. (Anyone accessing its website is now blocked.) This unsuccessful attempt by cyber hackers to get the hospitals to pay ransom has resulted in likely much worse fallout than has been reported, from disrupted medical schedules, lost patient records and employee payroll undermined. It’s been almost a month since the attack and the hospitals have been slow to release information to the public. Transform is nowhere to be found. No doubt lawsuits will fly. But there should be immediate accountability – by Transform and/or the hospitals themselves. At minimum, that means those responsible for faulty security should pay with jobs. – 22/11/23

Let's have greater crackdown on noise polluters

Hardly to believe, but Windsor Police have an Anti-Noise campaign. And this year they awarded more than 2700 citations though most were for speeding and stunt driving, which come under the rubric. Only 58 were for noise, which could include revving engines. Car noise (bad mufflers) – and motorcycle noise (deliberate) – musty be the most obnoxious forms of noise pollution and show a sense of self-entitlement by people who do it. Yet next to nothing is done to alleviate the problem. There aren’t even public awareness campaigns. But – who knew? – you can report a noise complaint: 519-258-6111. Meanwhile, governments should bring in laws to prevent manufacturers from creating engines that release ear-splitting sounds, interrupting pleasant days for the rest of us. – 11/7/23

In the 'burg, one step forward and two back

There’s a longstanding joke among people in Amherstburg that when it comes to civic progress it’s “one step forward and two steps back.” The latest example is efforts by a group to stop plans to redevelop the Belle Vue estate, an early 19th century "Georgian" building the town bought several years ago and has been sitting empty and deteriorating. The town requested private proposals for development. And the Amico group and Loop family – both with sterling track records – put forward a proposal for an event centre, hotel and residential complex. It looks ideal. Then who should pop up? Preservationists worried about the property getting into private hands after the group raised $500,000. This follows other civic fiascos like the HMS Detroit project, and the town turning over parkland for a new high school. Hopefully their voices won’t prevail. – 25/10/23

Michigan's Tlaib should backtrack on Israel comments

Detroit area Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has come under fire, and rightly so, for not explicitly condemning the attack by Hamas on Israeli citizens last weekend, leaving hundreds brutally dead and others kidnapped. Tlaib, of Palestinian descent, said while she grieved “the Palestinian and Israeli lives lost,” slammed Israel’s “apartheid regime” for the “violent reality” under which Arabs live. She also condemned Israel’s ”occupation.” Let's set the Representative straight. For one thing, Israel is not an apartheid state as Arabs have the same rights as Israelis within the country. Second, Israel gave up the Gaza Strip in 2005, turning it over to the Palestinians, who elected Hamas as its government. – 11/10/23

It's scandalous school board can't repair its own athletic tracks

It’s outrageous, amounting to scandal, that the Greater Essex County District School Board can’t find the money to repair high school athletic tracks. The board is crying the poverty blues – money simply isn’t allocated for this purpose. Isn’t athletics part of education? What about childhood obesity? The board, citing safety, will grass over three disintegrating tracks and move athletic events to Riverside high school’s intact field. Chair Gail Hatfield said provincial renewal funding goes to other purposes, not outdoor recreation. This school year some 70 per cent of the provincial education budget went for salaries. Perhaps during contract negotiations education bureaucrats and teacher unions can be a little more altrustic and set aside more funding for student needs. What a concept. – 27/9/23

Strange wrinkles in London Muslim terror attack court case

The Nathaniel Veltman terror trial, being held in Windsor under a national spotlight, has some strange wrinkles. The court won’t release why the trial was moved to Windsor from London, which is normally the case and about which the public can only speculate (i.e., is the jury pool in London tainted with sympathizers?) and how the Windsor jury was vetted (are only people with certain political views allowed to serve?). Meanwhile eight weeks have been set aside for testimony in a case where the prosecution seems already to have a slam dunk with Veltman admitting - indeed wanting all the world to know – that he alone committed this hideous crime. – 13/9/23

Photo: Scene of attack; Google Street View

Travel advisory? Let's make it for all people

The federal government, living up (or down) to its oh-so-virtuous self, has now issued a travel advisory for gay people about travelling to certain US states. The government doesn’t ID the states, amounting to a smear that all or any states could supposedly be antipathetic to gays. Some Republican states have issued policies against PRIDE displays including draq queen story hour and gender affirming in lower school grades. More to the point, why doesn’t the government just issue a blanket travel advisory for everyone, given the general amount of mass shootings and gun violence in the US? - 30/8/23

"Weaponized" committee? Mayor - please explain

Mayor Drew Dilkens description of the Windsor bicycling advisory committee being “weaponized against the city” is perplexing. “We want to make sure, moving forward, that we have people who want to be collaborative, but also honest,” he added. The mayor may have good reasons for his comment but without explaining further no one knows what he’s getting at. And he leaves himself open to being accused of smears. The mayor’s comments come as the city reinvents its advisory committees, including a new way to appoint members and terms of reference – even name changes - as it deems the current model ineffective. Dilkens's comment brought a response from Bike Windsor Essex’s director Lori Newton, who couldn’t understand what he was talking about – “nothing radical ever came out of that committee.” The mayor should explain. – 18/8/23

Thx Big Gov't & Media - facebook no longer publishes our links!

It finally happened. A small independent news site like has been caught up in the battle between the Government of Canada, legacy media and Big Tech. In response to Bill C-18, the Online News Act, where the government demanded that social media sites like facebook pay media outlets for content they post, facebook has said it will not publish media links. did not side with the government or legacy media in this battle but got caught up in it anyway. Beginning today,’s posted stories were flagged, “Your content was shared but cannot be viewed in Canada. Learn more.” On a secondary page: “People in Canada can't see your content. In response to Canadian government legislation content from news publications can’t be shared in Canada.” And we’re not the only independent outlet to suffer. Well, thanks a lot federal government and big media! News diversity just took a hit big time. (You can still catch us on Twitter or the rebranded X, at least for now. Otherwise keep tuning in directly to for news updates.) – 1/8/23

Social issues, not infrastructure, may limit kids' mobility

The local Kid Built City event was trying to determine if the way cities are built hampers kids’ mobility. But some panel reps may have inadvertently put their fingers on one major cause: overprotective parents who drive their children everywhere. Other reasons might be kids’ fascination with videos and phones. In fact, things are safer than ever. The Washington Post found drops in child mortality and homicide, reports of missing kids down 40% since 1997 and only 0.1 per cent of kidnappings are stereotypically by strangers. As for the “built” world, there are more “inclusive” playgrounds than ever. And arguably streets were in worse shape decades ago but that didn’t hamper kids playing hide and seek or street hockey. Perhaps it's social issues and not hard infrastructure that really should be addressed. – 20/7/23

Hospital CEO should face up to critics

Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare CEO Bill Marra (right) shouldn’t split hairs when it comes to taking on the critics of the hospital’s move to increase critical emergency mental health services. Marra this week said critics should come forward and “they should have the courage of conviction to speak, publicly, and on the record.” He was probably referring to one media report using anonymous sources. But he ignored a letter signed by numerous members of the health community. So, Bill, your principal critics have been named, now you should deal with them. – 6/7/23

Photo: Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare

Time to dump terms "seniors" and "elderly"

June is Seniors’ Month. Ironically, it's a perfect time to do away with terms like “seniors” and “the elderly,” used as one the last forms of discrimination and condescension. Most of this is couched in benign respect - addressing people as “sir” and “ma’am." Or offers to assist perfectly capable people. But implicit is that those of a certain age simply can’t cope, especially with life’s modern conveniences like cell phones and self-checkouts. Younger people who stereotype also don’t make the distinction that those 55+ are also Baby Boomers, who grew up in the modern age of space exploration and rock and roll, and have been using computers for 40 years now. After all, Mick Jagger turns 80 this year! He's hardly "elderly."– 21/6/23