Items of note from last week’s news:
- LaSalle to construct bike lockers at select bus stops – Windsor Star, September 7, 2020
- Privacy, community trust, equity a concern after Windsor police access COVID-19 database, CBC Windsor, September 8, 2020
- “A Crown witness in a lengthy gun trafficking trial repeated earlier assertions of “dirty cops” on the Windsor police force and further disclosed that he had secretly recorded his conversations with OPP handlers.” from Chief witness at gun trial testifies to secretly recording police, Doug Schmidt, Windsor Star, Sep 11, 2020
Speaking of media, Doug Schmidt calls the final Windsor Star column of Gord Henderson as lovely but I found it a tiresome and vitriolic rant against millennials — who I may remind you all, are real people who are now in their thirties. OK Boomer, it’s time for you to spend a moment to wonder why the kids don’t care about newspapers. Or yell at clouds. Whatever.
And while I am sighing heavily with disapproval at the media, let me throw a stink-eye to the Dan McDonald show for giving their audience to a Ward 7 candidate to apologize for acting like garbage towards women. Adding fuel to a garbage fire because it’s a spectacle is to be expected from media outlets that prize eyeballs over equity. Thanks for rewarding terrible behaviour, Dan.
I’ve been following the coverage of the Ward 7 candidates and frankly, I’m disappointed that rather than increase coverage to deal with the large number of candidates for the competitive race, many of the columnists I’ve read and the podcasters I’ve listened to opted instead to concentrate on those people they think have the greatest likelihood of winning. While I understand that this line of thinking is pragmatic, this approach lends itself to great harm. It suggests that events like debates are entirely unnecessary since the only decision point that matters is if you are seen to bring a known constituency with you.
But who are the constituencies that count? Owning a small business counts. Being part of a labour union counts. An affiliation with a politic party definitely counts; ethnic affiliation sometimes counts. What doesn’t count? Being a millennial doesn’t count. Working in retail or the service industry doesn’t count. Having a strong educational background doesn’t count (I have never heard the previous Ward 7 councillor being called Dr.). And curiously, being part of non-profit work and having experience doing constituency work doesn’t seem to count, despite it aligning closely with the actual work that is required of a city councillor.
People who resemble people who have won in the past, count.
There are alternatives to this entrenchment of the status quo. One path is to provide more equal coverage to everyone running. Kudos to the podcast Windsor Inside Pulse who did this important work and conducted 20 minute interviews with all the candidates who accepted their offer. I found these profiles as very useful to learn more about the candidates. Why other media outlets have not provided a similar civic service to city residents is beyond me — especially those outlets that are using city council to campaign for government subsidy while cranking out stories about cars.
The other alternative is for the City of Windsor to adopt Ranked Ballots — like London, Ontario has done, like Cambridge and Kingston will do, and what Burlington is currently considering to respond to alarming voter disengagement. As the lead of Ranked Ballots Windsor, I believe that preferential ballots are a smart, simple change that would make Windsor’s elections more fair, diverse and friendly. In my role of lead of Ranked Ballots Windsor, I have emailed all of the Ward 7 candidates to ask them about their position about adopting the measure and I have been pleased to hear back from many of them with a message of their support. I am also happy to note that of those who did not respond with support, most were open to further discussion and conversation about the matter.
In short, Ranked Ballots makes more votes count and in doing so, makes every candidate more valuable and more worthy of attention.
Before I close out this matter, I wanted to duly note that we have not heard from the Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce in regards to the Ward 7 race, which is too bad because there are excellent candidates who are women and people who identify as BIPOC running in a very competitive by-election.
“Every election, after the election, we talk about our disappointment or hope for greater representation of women greater representation of diversity on council,” said Hachem-Fawaz. “Yet four years passes by and no targeted initiative is trying to engage those demographics.”This grassroots group wants to help Windsor-Essex be more inclusive, CBC News, August 21st
I don’t mean to be sound facetious but I don’t know what that last sentence means. I don’t believe that a group that takes on government funding can endorse a particular candidate, so what action is the Taskforce planning to take on this matter? Is the Taskforce going to help bring out the vote from women and other demographics? Is it going to create a candidate scorecard to pressure candidates to publicly commit to particular issues? Is it going to encourage more women or people who identify as BIPOC to run in municipal elections?
I really hope it is not the last item from the list above because what the Ward 7 By-election so clearly demonstrates to me is that simply adding more diverse candidates to the race will only split votes and do little to change outcomes.
What I am trying to say, is that I would love the community leaders of the Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce endorse the adoption Ranked Ballots in the City of Windsor.