WHOM DO YOU BELIEVE
Here's my issue... I'd like to believe the Mayor and think that Windsor's problems are cyclical and that when I wake up in the morning everything will be fine. Then I read this story in the Globe and Mail about Windsor's local MPP/Minister of Finance and then get nightmares that problems are structural.
Which one is right? Here's the concern for Windsor. If Eddie is wrong, the City is in serious trouble because the strategy being followed at City Hall fits in with the wrong economic model of economic redevelopment.
Here is part of the Globe story:
- "Ontario's government will offer financial assistance Thursday to companies and workers that have been hurt by the slowing U.S. economy, the high Canadian dollar and soaring oil prices, The Canadian Press reports.
Government sources say Finance Minister Dwight Duncan will announce a $40-million rapid retraining program for workers who have lost their jobs because of the economic challenges when he tables Ontario's fall economic update Thursday afternoon.
The sources say Mr. Duncan will also offer financial assistance to manufacturers and other companies struggling to cope with the economic slowdown in the United States, which combined with the high-flying Canadian dollar and oil prices has dealt a serious blow to Ontario exporters.
Mr. Duncan will also announce a provincial government plan to strengthen the Ontario economy in the short and long term, said one source...
“The statement updates the people of Ontario on where the province is today ... how projections may or may not have changed since the budget with respect to the coming two years,” Mr. Duncan said. “There's no questions that the state of the U.S. economy, the value of the Canadian dollar [and] world oil prices impact Ontario's economy...”
“We're quickly getting to the point of a crisis in terms of job losses in the manufacturing sector, so hopefully they're going to recognize how dire the situation is in the update,” said Opposition Leader Bob Runciman.
“We're looking for relief on the taxation side. We want to see some very strong messages sent out to the business community worldwide that Ontario is coming to grips with the [economic] challenges and this will continue to be a good place to invest and grow your business.”
NDP Leader Howard Hampton accused the Liberals of doing nothing to curb the mounting job losses in manufacturing, forestry and agriculture.
“My fear is we'll see a McGuinty government that says ‘don't worry, be happy,' and continues to ignore the fact that Ontario is losing thousands of good manufacturing jobs virtually every week,” Mr. Hampton said.
HOW TO READ THE STAR
I have told you before how to read the Star. Often, especially on controversial matters, you should start at the bottom one third of the story to get the real important stuff.
Now I thought that was an Editor's trick to report the story so that no one can complain but to put at the beginning the stuff that the Editors wanted its readers to know. But I am wrong.
In fact there appears to be a rogue group of Star reporters who have joined together in a secret society to write negative stories about what is going on in the City but hiding their true feelings until the end of the story. They know after all, and they knew it long before we ever did, that Windsorites are 27th in adult literacy in Canada and probably can't read that many words without falling asleep, especially big words of 5 or more letters.
They knew what happened to some of the reporters/Bloggers at the Star and could not risk it happening to them. Media jobs are not that plentiful here. They knew their secret was safe because very few people could read so much and comprehend in this #27 City. And the few insightful ones that read that far and understood what they were driving at unfortunately were labelled as naysayers and whiners and bashers.
However, the Blogmeister has been doing some undercover, investigative work and can now reveal who the head of the secret Star Posse is. It is none other than Gord Henderson himself.
Yes that Henderson, the Star's #1 columnist. The man is brave, risking being run out of town on a rail, probably one of the rails to trails, to make the truth known to his readers. He may have to pack his bags and go to YQG and make a HQG (his quick getaway). He is in serious trouble now with City Hall. Do not expect him to have any more front page, byline stories. His sources will run dry.
His Thursday column is prime proof of what I am saying. What is the title "Bad times look good." Another anonymous type supposedly singing the praises of the resiliency of the City and attacking the naysayers, whiners and bashers:
- "He was clearly having trouble reconciling Windsor's status as the country's designated basket case with such glaring evidence that the money taps have yet to be turned off. "
The beginning of his column was enough, frankly, to turn my stomach as I read it before breakfast. But I persevered. I read right to the end of it wanting to see how Gord would manufacture this silk purse.
However, something wasn't right. Something didn't make sense. I read this twice, and then a third time:
- "Life is good for everyone except those getting pink slips and our youth, who, seeing no hope in the Windsor region, are forced to head west to Alberta or up the 401.
Life is sweet for now. But the clock is ticking...
These folks have already eaten our lunch when it comes to textiles, electronics and consumer goods. They rule our shopping carts. And now they're coming after the biggest prize of all, the North American vehicle market.
Little wonder we're out spending and having a good time while we still can here in Canada's automotive capital. It's called whistling past the graveyard."
Henderson has been outed. He's one of us now and maybe he always has been.
Welcome Gord, to the ever expanding phone booth!
THE OMBUDSMAN ATTACKS
You have to admit that the Ombudsman's language is very strong
- "You can't control our investigation. I think with some Councillors... they'd rather hire a buddy with taxpayer money."
Is this a similar reason explaining why the Minister of Housing did not have a forensic audit being undertaken by the Auditor General of Ontario but rather a whitewash, Ministry section 9 audit of the Windsor Utilities Commission. Even the City asked for a section 10 audit but it was ignored by the Minister so that all we will see is a very limited financial one that will not deal with all of the issues that citizens wanted answered.
But here is something now that the Mayor and Councillors have to consider given the ferocious attack by the Ombudsman. The City hired Local Authorities Services to undertake investigations into closed-door meetings. The Star reported:
- "LAS has contracts with consultants who have given advice to the City of Windsor"
How then can we have assurance that LAS will act in an impartial manner when it investigates the City for a possible impropriety?
I thought as an example, if my memory is correct, that the Mayor hired, in fact, one of the principals behind LAS as his personal lawyer with respect to the question of his possible conflict of interest in the WUC file. According to the Mayor, he was told that he had no conflict by his lawyer.
I am sorry but I would have great concern if I made a complaint and LAS was asked to act in a matter involving the Mayor.
LAS seems to be in an impossible position in this City at least. Time for Council to reconsider whether they should still retain LAS or consider what they will do if there is a challenge to LAS' use in an investigation.