It seems local politicians just don’t get it. They blame the Ontario NDP whenever the city suffers the indignity of not getting more than its perceived fair share of money from the province. This is precisely what they did when Queen’s Park identified Ontario communities who won funding for border roads, under the government’s Connecting Links program.
Windsor and its tiny neighbour LaSalle got nothing.
The Windsor Star put on its conspiracy hat and, on April 14, was proud to remind its readers the city is without, “… any Liberal MPPs who sit in government.”
It has a roster of NDP members and, during the last election, west side Windsor voters went as far as removing a sitting cabinet minister, replacing her with a distant cousin of hockey great Wayne Gretzky.
To augment its fine whine about the city not getting $2 million to fix up Huron Church Road, the paper dusted off LaSalle mayor Ken Antaya. He was paraded out brandishing an additional whine about the Liberal government’s actions, “… not dispelling any of the rumours that Ontario ends at London.”
This seems to have prompted Steven Del Duca, the province’s transportation minister, to weigh in on the matter.
In a letter to the local paper, published April 27, he argues that his government, “… has demonstrated its commitment to the region time and time again across the full range of programs and services.”
Antaya says the region is left out. Del Duca says it ain’t so. But, is all of this just a clear case of what goes around comes around?
Many in the once rosy city can still remember the shock of the Francis Council telling homeless schoolboys, in a rather disparaging tone, the city has no magic wand to wave to make dollars appear. The youngsters were looking for a short term loan to fill in for some later arriving government funds, so they could have a roof over their heads.
Here’s the rub.
If Windsor wants to go cap-in-hand to beg for money from the province, so it can happily host out-of-town swimmers at an event organized by an outfit with links to despotic sheiks, maybe it should expect to miss out when the government is ready to pay for things of probably greater value to the city; like road repair.
Did the local politicians even listen the day Michael Coteau, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, arrived to hand hapless mayor Drew Dilkens a big cheque representing a $2.5 million donation to the city from his government.
It will cover some of the costs of the excessively expensive FINA debacle, which is costing more than $21 million. But only some.
On June 15, 2015, the local paper quoted Coteau saying the province has, “… ‘a certain amount of money’ and that it was a matter of finding ‘that right balance.’”
At least he didn’t go on about magic wands.
If Windsor’s political elite are so desperate for attention, that they have to support swimming organizations as a consequence, they should accept that when they take money for frivolities it will mean they won’t be in line for cash the community could use for worthwhile projects.
Robert Tuomi can be heard at noon every Thursday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. It is also streamed online at CJAM.