It Is A Priority
We think we know what a word means in our language. It does not necessarily mean the same in theirs.
Perhaps that is why there is so much confusion and why we get so mad at them. They should not be blamed because we do not understand them.
We need to translate what they are saying in their dialect into ours. I hope this BLOG will help out in a small way to clarify one word, "priority!"
I owe some politicians an apology. You see, I did not know that there was a “political” dictionary.
If I have a problem with the definition of the word, I look up in my Funk & Wagnalls or my Merriam-Webster or go online. How was I supposed to know that politicians have their own vocabulary and their own reference works. Is it my fault if the Windsor Library System cannot afford to stock the political dictionary on its shelves because of Council cutbacks?
Let me try and explain. For how long have politicians at all levels on both sides of the river been telling us that the Windsor/Detroit border is a priority for them. How long have they been saying that it is essential that the border be fixed up for the prosperity of the economies of United States and Canada? How long has nothing been done?
You and I believe that priority means
- “Precedence, especially established by order of importance or urgency. Something afforded or deserving prior attention”
However, when a politician talks about priority it does not necessarily mean the same thing we do nor in the same timeframe.
Let’s take the new Windsor jail as an example. The Star stated:
- “MPP Sandra Pupatello who has been working for 10 years to land Windsor a new building to replace the overcrowded old jail in the west end”
That is some time period for a priority matter isn’t it. If you think I am taking some liberties, well here is what the politicians said back in October, 2004:
- “New city jail pledged: Aging lockup 'has to be replaced,' Kwinter says;
Windsor Star 10-07-2004
Building a new Windsor Jail is a "top priority," Ontario Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Monte Kwinter said Wednesday.
"We acknowledge that that jail has to be replaced," Kwinter said in an interview. "It's virtually at the top of our priority list. We have every indication, every anticipation, that we will build a new jail."
The ministry has already looked at several potential sites in Windsor for a new jail, the minister said. But it will be at least two years before construction can begin, he said.
Kwinter spoke following a tour of the jail on the city's west side with Windsor West MPP Sandra Pupatello.
"This city needs a new jail, and we have got to get serious and get down to the details of how we are going to come up with a new facility," Pupatello told reporters after the tour.
Windsor Jail, built in 1925, is in the worst condition of any jail in the province, she said.
Pupatello, who promised she will "become more and more persistent on this issue,"
Note that the Minister did not say that construction would start in two years back then and also note that we are told now:
- “The site still must clear an environmental assessment, including public consultation which begins in November, before it gets final approval for construction, which would start in mid-2010.”
I wonder which we will get first… a jail or a new border crossing. Which item is the biggest "priority?"
And in case you are wondering where our new museum is going, back in 2004 Eddie said:
- "Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis has told ministry officials he wants to retain part of the old jail as a museum to commemorate the Underground Railway, Kwinter said."
HELP NOT WANTED
Unofficially, it seems that the delay in Eddie completing his commuter survey may have cost numerous Windsor workers their employment opportunities out West.
It appears that Eddie must have been using the political dictionary and its interpretation of the words “important” and “priority” in developing a strategy to help people get a job out West and then come home for the weekends. Here is what is happening, thanks to a reader, and it seems to have bypassed Windsor:
- Prairie call to Ontario jobless: Go West
Officials at job fair pitch allure of Saskatchewan
As thousands of Ontario's laid-off manufacturing workers face the reality of fewer job opportunities, politicians from Saskatchewan are visiting Toronto this week in hopes of luring skilled labourers to the Prairie province.
Premier Brad Wall will be at Toronto's National Job Fair to sing the praises of the employment opportunities in his province.
"We have a labour shortage, we have a people shortage in Saskatchewan," Wall said in an interview from his province last week.
Wall and Rob Norris, Saskatchewan's minister of advanced education, employment and labour will accompany 50 of the province's employers who are looking to fill a variety of skilled positions.
"(Saskatchewan) is a great place to make a living right now, but it's also a great place to make a life," said Wall.
"Saskatchewan has had a reputation of being great to be from, as we have exported a lot of people over the decades. Well, now we're a great place to be."
There about 10,000 unfilled jobs in the province, said Norris, in the interview from Saskatchewan.
"We're aware of the downturn in some of the (employment) sectors that Ontario has and what we want people to be aware of is there are some other options," said Norris.
Saskatchewan has an abundance of natural resources including oil, potash and uranium, along with a strong knowledge-based economy in the high-tech sector, said Wall.
If you are surprised about the strike at the University, did you know that the contract with the firefighters and the City of Windsor has not been negotiated yet.
I was told that it expired at the end of 2005 and, I believe, is the only one with City employees that hasn't been settled as yet.
Here is the latest from a reader. I'm sure that it is a "priority" for the City too:
- "It is going to an arbitration hearing February 26, 2009. The one thing the City did was that back in July an advance for retro pay was paid out to people who have retired since the end of 2005. I think that the current employees got the same thing but I don't know if they are being paid at a new rate or if this was just an interim payment."
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE GAZELLES
Perhaps they are dead from starvation!
About a month ago, we read in Gord Henderson's column the following:
- "Drowning in red tape
Windsor Star 08-28-2008
A task force led by retired business professor Alfie Morgan is calling for a major shake-up of a regulation-obsessed city bureaucracy which it charges is drowning Windsor's small businesses in punitive red tape."
Why would Alfie Morgan, formerly Eddie's interim CAO, have to go running to Gord to get some publicity about small business. Could it be because the Agenda Item Report that was scheduled for the last Council meeting was dated April 30, five months ago? If Alfie can't get something on the Agenda, then how can a mere mortal?
The Task Force Response to this Report was dated at the end of August, a month ago. Now finally it made it to Council. I wonder if someone was afraid to have it go in front of Council.
The Recommendation of Administration in their report was enlightening. Political priority in Windsor:
That is bureaucratic response to do nothing rather than an action oriented call to action.
Read this. If you think my criticism of City Hall is harsh, then what do you say about this that was written by the Task Force at the end of August, almost a month ago:
There is no point in me getting outraged about this. It is typical about how this Mayor carries on the City's business. Why deal with problems when you can ignore them by studying matters to death and then do nothing to solve them.
Don't save money by entering into a partnership with a private operator with respect to an Arena...rather move it out of the core to some place in the East End and pay an extra $50 million of taxpayer money or more to help out some wealthy hockey team owners and put taxpayers at risk for the operations of the Facility.
Stall, stall, stall on a Border solution with 15,000 high-paying jobs at risk for reasons unknown.
Fly off to Europe to talk to a startup onion importer or to an air race energy drink supplier or figure out ways to fly our best and brightest out of town on some absurd commuter scheme.
Or the ultimate, turn Windsor into Venice by spending who knows how much money on unneeded infrastructure rather than trying to figure out how to involve developers in a true urban village redevelopment of the downtown.
You can read the entire Small Business Task Force Response here
Regretfully, this call to action by the Task Force is doomed to failure right from the start. You see it attacks Eddie's fundamental weak point: his fear of failure and to be blamed:
So much for priorities!