Over the period of the continuing rule of Windsor by the Francis Council, the community has lost far more jobs than have been created. During Windsor Council’s heyday, former mayor Eddie Francis made a number of economic development announcements, but many were little more than pretense.
The companies either didn’t arrive or did but didn’t produce the jobs. Most eventually went out of business.
In all, about 3,567 jobs were announced, including the October 2, 2013, announcement covered by CTV of a cargo hub at the airport with, “… the potential to create thousands of jobs down the road.”
The jobs never arrived, so the city enticed FedEx to relocate its ground transfer station to airport property. Moving jobs from a tax paying landlord did nothing for the local economy.
Musical chairs might give politicians fuel for fake news announcements. But, at the end of the day the city is no better off after 14 years of civic management by the Francis Council; at least on the jobs front.
The tally starts with 1,400 layoffs at GM’s transmission plant. The Francis Council waved good-bye as it moved to St Catharines where property taxes are lower. Then there was, as the Globe and Mail reported September 13, 2005, Ford casting plant’s closure, “… which will wipe out 530 jobs. Another 600 jobs will disappear at the nearby Essex engine plant, which is fed by the Windsor casting operation.”
Parts plants, Windsor’s bread and butter, have closed as well, with no replacements. The losses are staggering. Martinrea Fabco, Lear Seating, Kendan, Champion Spark Plug, EcoTemp, Kelsey-Hayes, ELS Plastics, Siemens, and on and on, are gone.
The numbers add up to tens of thousands of mostly good paying jobs.
Other sectors suffered shrinkage. In particular retail. This included units of Sobey’s, Food Basics, and Rona. Even Brian’s Work Shoes, which was really the canary in the coal mine. Windsor Council didn’t even pretended there was a crisis.
The regional economic development office was allowed operate without supervision. This produced tragic results.
Inept is one way to describe its Modus Operandi. Its newest leader has found five jobs so far, but he has been busy.
On January 12 this year, CBC reported Stephen MacKenzie was occupying himself by keeping up with US President Donald Trump. Reported the broadcaster, “… the WEEDC file on Trump is the thickest in his office.”
Before MacKenzie, Raskesh Naidu was often in charge. After publicly claiming to have no experience or training, he proved his value when Cross Canada Trailers moved to Blenheim and all he could say was, “They didn’t call me.”
Naidu led the campaign to win a General Electric engine plant which was quickly dismissed by the industrial giant.
While Francis was able to bring some jobs to the city, they were unable to make a dent in the job loss column. There a handful of consultants from KM&T, Premier Aviation brought, possibly, 50, at considerable cost to the city, and assorted low wage call centres.