(WINDSOR, ON) – Again, the big ruse of an excuse is alive and well in Windsor. Don’t believe the politicians, who try to pacify the unemployed and eliminate hope by pretending the days of attracting new good jobs creating companies for the region are over.
This means, don’t believe Ward 7 councillor Irek Kusmierczyk, who explained to CTV News, on November 10, that, from his perspective, the days of winning new investors and factories loaded with jobs, “… are slowly, you know, getting behind us.”
The claim, you know, seems to be simply code for local politicians who don’t want to do any work, preferring their personal comfort of sitting idle while collecting their pay, or creating phoney 20-year plans written by outsiders, while the city shrinks and its unemployment tops the nation.
There is a solution to such distasteful inaction. It is one that would dramatically and quickly change this aberrant situation.
It is to align councillors pay with their results. No results, no pay.
It is called performance-based compensation. It works in business, so why not in politics?
In other communities, led by professional economic development organizations, and not the abecedarians Windsor has to put up with, things are happening. Countless municipalities are not only adding new jobs but, also, diversifying their economies, which does nothing but prove economic development can be done.
There, Shopify, what the Waterloo Chronicle calls, “… one of the hottest technology start-ups in North America. After going public in May, it is currently valued at about $2.7 billion. Its e-commerce platform is used by more than 175,000 online stores that collectively have sold more than $10 billion in goods.”
It is currently outfitting a former Seagram’s Museum in Waterloo to house 300 workers; all highly paid.
The expanding, Ottawa-based company will sign on employees with expertise in, “… sales, engineering, design, account management, training, operations, human resources and culture.”
When it came time for Germany’s Gizeh Packaging to find a North American beachhead, it selected, and is currently building a new factory in, Brantford, helping to diversify the telephone city’s economy.
In Cambridge, Heroux-Devtek is building a new, high tech factory to make landing gear for Boeing aircraft; a twin to a plant it operates in Kitchener.
Other communities work hard to fill empty or closing plants. Windsor seems to prefer them sitting as hulking reminders of its once proud past.
Hamilton, for example, was able to attract NCI Building Systems, of Houston, to take over a former Vicwest factory. The plant manufactures insulated metal panels. Another example is the steel city’s former Siemens turbine plant. It has been subdivided and is now a hive of new manufacturing activity.
And while the automotive industry has taken its share of bruising, the industry is alive elsewhere.
An expansion at a Guelph Linamar factory will need 1,200 new manufacturers to produce more environmentally friendly transmissions.
In Kitchener, Boehmer Box is expanding and hiring 150 workers after being taken over by a US-based concern. Daily, the company produces millions of cartons for a variety of customers.
Windsor’s Francis Council has no time to roll up its collective sleeves to do anything about economic development, except pretend the days of finding factories are over.
It is shameful.
Granted, it can be argued it is way too busy searching for world glory, including a misguided pursuit causing it to spend $21 million to host a second tier FINA swimming competition next year. Unbelievably, its event is scheduled for the same days as the Speedo Winter Junior Nationals in the US.
Why the city would invest so much money when so many top swimmers will be busy at the Speedo event is nothing if not unfathomable. But that is life in Windsor, a city which operates as if it has more money than it knows what to do with.
Robert Tuomi can be heard at 8:30 pm every Monday evening and noon every Wednesday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor is broadcast every Monday and Wednesday to the Windsor and Detroit listening area and streamed online at CJAM.