Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Miracle For Windsor

Full Employment! It has to be an Easter miracle.

There is no other logical explanation for it. Don't ask me how; I have no idea. It just happened. That is all I can say. That is what faith is all about isn't it. My video at the end says it all!

On Monday night at the Cleary, our Mayor effectively told us that our City was on life support. To be blunt, his opening sounded to me like that of a wartime leader giving us the bad news about a big battle that has been lost:

  • "I speak with you tonight at a most important and critical time in our city’s history.

    A time that has tested our resolve, and that has made it hard for many local families, friends and neighbours to remain confident in the face of continued uncertainty.

    While a great future lies ahead for the prosperity of our city, the recent past has hit us hard...

    Global economic shifts have taken their toll on Windsor.

    We see it and hear it in our headlines...

    We live with these headlines every day...

    Headline – headline after headline.

    Account after account, echoing the pain many of our residents are feeling.

    Forces beyond our control have caused many sleepless nights in our city."

I know that Eddie likes quoting JFK. However, that sounded to me more like Churchill on the BBC or an FDR fireside chat during WWII.

And then, less than three days later, the almost dead Windsor economy was resurrected. We received the good news from the CEO of the Economic Development Commission, Matt Fischer! He delivered to us the good word. We now have Full Employment in Windsor:

Yes my friends, something miraculous happened in those few days. From having thousands of people out of work and looking for jobs, we now do not have enough people to staff a new auto plant. Hallelujah, wasn't that marvelous news for us right at the start of the holiday weekend. It could not have come at a better time. It is like receiving a giant, chocolate Easter egg.

I will give credit where credit is due. We must thank our Mayor, Eddie Francis for this great success.

I'm sure that's a surprise for you. Here I am praising the Mayor. If he deserves it, then I give it to him. See, I can "change the conversation" too. I am quick. I only needed to hear that line a dozen times to figure out that I am supposed to fit it into my BLOG somehow and use it, until the sloganeers come up with the next one.

However, some people in this town just have to be naysayers and whiners. They just can't accept the fact that something good can happen. No, they have to be negative.

Why take a look first at Gord Henderson, the Sheriff of the rogue Windsor Star reporters posse. While it seems that he is trying to praise the Mayor, he is really slamming him. If it was not for his column, we would not have known that the $30 million was not available until after 2011, after Eddie was Mayor. He can hardly be classified as an Eddie friend any longer:

  • "The fund envisioned by Francis wouldn't require an annual levy or taking on new debt. Because the city is in relatively good financial shape, courtesy of its debt-reduction plan, it will have an extra $20 million available in 2011-12 and tens of millions more at its disposal in subsequent years."

He came to bury Eddie's PLAN not to praise it!

There was no reason for him to give us this information. Sure, he placed it deep in the middle of his column since most people in Windsor cannot read or comprehend that much given our high illiteracy rate. Still the only reason for doing so is to take make it appear that it was a repackaged University Engineering Complex transaction, one that the University Board dismissed. In other words, a PLAN not to be taken seriously but to solve Eddie's political problem.

Then the Editors of the Star had the nerve on Saturday to say:

  • "By floating the investment fund at a public event, Santos had no choice but to respond to the mayor's proposal under the pressure of media questions.

    That isn't fair either to Santos or to an initiative that has merit...

    Unfortunately, the controversy created so far in Windsor centres around Francis's political ineptitude..."

Inept at politics, our Mayor. Give me a break Windsor Star Editors.

The man has been singularly successful in preventing anything happening on the border for years. His stalls and delays are legendary using the THINK BIG approach. No one else would have dared do that in a City desperate for 15,000 infrastructure and spin-off jobs.

Please, who else but Eddie Francis at the meeting with the County could change the priority for Windsor from jobs to Greenlink in the blink of an eye. Not only that

  • "The debate over GreenLink dominated the first meeting of city and county councils during this term of office.

    The joint meeting was extended an extra two hours to give Francis time to make a full presentation about GreenLink and allow the county to debate a motion of support.

    Discussion about regional transit and Francis's proposed $100-million job creation fund were deferred to a future joint meeting."

Don't you get it, not a word about jobs. Nothing that could damage our Teflon Mayor. Take a look at Gord Henderson's column on Saturday... try and find the word "job" in it. No, he talked about Easter miracles on only two issues since the jobs issue was "old" news by then after there was full employment:

  • "it was an Easter miracle that city and county politicians could spend close to five hours together, shoulder to shoulder, without coming to blows.

    The greater miracle is that a majority found common ground on two hot-button issues -- county support for the city's GreenLink border proposal and the simmering feud over funding for a regional tourism strategy."

No inept politician could have kept the most important issue facing his City off of the agenda and deferred it until the indefinite future. It was a masterful performance.

As for Matt Fischer, who got to him? He is in big trouble. How could he possibly say what he said in the Star only a few days after his CKLW remarks.

It is obvious why he backtracked. If we have Full Employment here, then we do not need a Development Commission and he might be out of work. After all, if we don't have any auto workers on layoff anymore who can work in an auto plant, then what is he going to do to fill his work week?

He had this to say but as far as I'm concerned, he further put his foot in his mouth. He is merely protecting himself by claiming that we still have

  • "an estimated 5,000 employees of Detroit's Big Three on layoff."

Sure, try and spread bad news about people not working. I won't believe numbers from a guy who cannot figure out for a year that we needed brochures to hand out to prospective investors.

Very clever. By saying what he did, Fischer thinks he can keep his job. Effectively, he told Sandra Pupatello, Eddie Francis and his boss, Remo Mancini, not to take a trip overseas to Asia or to Europe to try and get an auto plant for Windsor. It's never going to happen. You see

  • "Windsor is not likely to attract another large assembly operation to the city...

    "It's not that Windsor isn't capable of tackling a new plant. But we already have a saturation level, as far as the companies are concerned, with three of the OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers, as automakers are known) already here."

    OEMs searching for a new site would not likely want to locate in a city that already had plants owned by three other major automakers."

What a pile of hooey. With the Big Three being in such financial difficulty, they may not be around for much longer. Then one of the imports can build here and have the pick of the crop of workers. There cannot be competition for workers when the Big Three are shedding them. And they will be nonunion workers too by the way since by that time the CAW will have no members either!

And just you wait. I wonder which BLOGGER in town will take a shot at the Mayor for saying:

  • "Eddie Francis, the mayor of Windsor, Ont., is touting a plan to help residents of his city commute to jobs in Western Canada. Francis wants mayors from Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Calgary to put their heads together to develop a program to eliminate or reduce the cost of travel between the cities.

    "If we're able to do that, effectively what we're doing is creating a shuttle where employees can go work .. then come back home on the weekend," said Francis."

And then saying something totally different:

  • "Normally, workers spend about three weeks on the job and then have one off, making a long-distance commute possible, Francis said.

    "We're not talking about people who would be travelling back and forth every week because that obviously would be cost-prohibitive and too time-consuming," said Francis. "This would be for people who are spending lengthy periods on the job followed by a week's break."

I expect the BLOGGER to claim that the Mayor is just making this up as he goes along. He needs a diversion. He needs to get people to stop thinking about his failed idea of a $100M fund that has no chance of ever getting started since neither the City nor County have the money today to put into the fund and the Province has already given Windsor $1.5B and will give more with a new border road.

If I know our Mayor, he has a defence already worked out to counter-attack those BlOGGERS. He will say he was misquoted. He will blame it on Talk Radio such as NEWS TALK 980 who misunderstood the concept:

  • "Reaction is mixed to Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis’ plan to fly workers to Saskatoon, and then fly them back home for the weekends."

and the newspaper such as the Calgary Herald

  • "Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis must be thinking the same thing, for he has proposed a program through which jobless autoworkers would commute to labour-hungry prairie cities, Calgary among them, to work five days then fly home for two."

and the Leader-Post

  • "In his state of the city address on Monday night, Francis suggested that workers from his city - which has the highest unemployment rate in Canada - could travel to Saskatchewan and Alberta to work for five days each week and return home on weekends. "

and of course CBC:

  • "Francis, who talked about the plan at his state of the city address on Monday, told CBC News he first pitched the idea at a meeting of big city mayors. The proposal was embraced by a number of civic leaders, including Saskatoon mayor Don Atchison, he said.

    "One of the ideas that we began tossing around is, 'Is there a way for us to shuttle people back and forth, so that people and family members that are working out west don't need to go through the expense, don't need to go through the turbulent transition, of taking their entire family with them?'" he said.

    The workers would stay in the Western cities five days a week and head home for the weekends...

    There are federal programs that may subsidize this type of proposal as well, he said."

Well I want NO MORE of this negativity. Time to accentuate the positive. So I prepared this short video to express my feelings! Strap on your "W"and watch this: