Weeknote 2, 2021

§1: Words vs. Deeds

On January 7th, Drew Dilkens and an unnamed source that I like to call ‘The Mayor’s Chief of Staff’, threw Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health at the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, under the bus in an article in The Windsor Star. Rather than provide the health unit any additional resources, it appears there was some sort of attempt to take the authority to administer the vaccines away from Dr. Ahmed.

Dilkens said he is concerned about the ability of the health unit, already stretched as it deals with a tsunami of cases, to take on mass vaccination.

“Dr. Ahmed and the health unit can not do this alone, not successfully,” he said. “It just makes sense to bring in more horsepower. It’s about making sure we have all the resources that are needed.

“We have a shared goal,” he said. “We all have to take ownership here. It’s going to take many hands to get us across the finish line.”

But there is also concern that the health unit doesn’t appear to have a plan yet for mass vaccination.

Dilkens called Premier Doug Ford last week after the health unit received its first shipment of Moderna vaccine for long-term care and retirement homes and expressed concern that there didn’t seem to be a plan for administering vaccine.

Local vaccination task force warned to ‘ramp this up‘, Anne Jarvis • Windsor Star, Jan 07, 2021.

On January 11th, it was announced that Windsor-Essex was the first in the province to vaccinate all long-term care homes.

Also, since we are talking about vaccine distribution…

The fact that several area hospitals broke the distribution protocols by administering vaccines to non-front line healthcare staff before our 70+ population has been made moot as on January 12th as the province quietly changed the designated Stage 1 recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine.

§2 This is also Canada

Nick Kouvalis, a veteran conservative operative and principal at Campaign Research Inc. and Campaign Support Ltd., tweeted and subsequently retracted a false claim last week that anti-fascists and Black Lives Matter activists ⁠— not supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump ⁠— were responsible for the Capitol riots.

“These BLM/Antifa dudes get around like they’re Forest Gump (sic),” Kouvalis said in a since-deleted tweet from Jan. 6 that was accompanied by a photo of the Washington, D.C. rioters.

Top Tory adviser under fire for tweeting U.S. election misinformation, Emma McIntosh, National Post, January 13th 2021

Speaking of shitposters, I’d like to bring your attention to the January 12th Routine Proceedings dispatch from Dale Smith about The Rebel’s exclusive “interview” with Erin O’Toole.

What this stance O’Toole is making demonstrates is what I talked about in my weekend column – that his party is still happy to turn a blind eye to racists and white supremacists when they think they can use them to score goals against Trudeau. It also brings to mind Andrew Scheer’s farewell speech as leader, when he told party followers to trust outlets like True North and the Post Millennial for their news rather than mainstream sources, which is alarming because of the fact that much of their “reporting” is not actually that, and has been a driver of misinformation. Also of note is that the Post Millennial is in part controlled by the professional shitposters on O’Toole’s payroll – so that gives you an idea about what they are actually looking to promote and gain accreditation for. That O’Toole says they won’t respond to Rebel inquiries in the future is not comforting, because this demonstrates that they still considered this an audience worth engaging with until they got caught.

Roundup: O’Toole’s Rebel problem, Dale Smith, January 12, 2021

§3 We deserve digital

Why does our federal government continue to outsource essential work to consulting firms and diminish the capacity of our civic service?

OTTAWA – The federal government has awarded international accounting firm Deloitte a $16-million contract to build a national computer system to manage the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

The contract was recently posted to the federal procurement department’s website after Ottawa called on a select number of companies to submit proposals for developing the system in December.

The new vaccine management system “will help manage vaccine rollout, administration and reporting on a go-forward basis, as the volume of deliveries increases,” according to Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Ottawa gives accounting firm Deloitte $16M contract to track COVID-19 vaccinations, Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press, Jan. 11, 202

When the federal government needed a COVID-19 tracking app that protected privacy, they had one quickly designed and delivered by their Canadian Digital Service.

The Canadian Public Service can be digital and it can be exceptionally so. But that potential will not be met if those in power keep outsourcing government work.

§4: Over 1000 pages

There is a city council meeting tomorrow. Its agenda is over 735 pages long, the appendix is 406 pages long, and the additional information package is 388 pages long.

Did I read all these pages? No, I did not. Sorry, readers but this week you are on your own.

But I will share with you a little hack that I’ve picked up. One of the means by which a city councillor can try to make change is to ask administration to prepare a feasibility report or response to a directed question. In the supplemental documents, you can find the list of outstanding council questions under the heading 18.1.

All of these questions are labeled CQ and so you can always check the current agenda to see if one of these questions is going to be answered by searching for ‘CQ’.

For example, at tomorrow’s meeting, Council will be receiving a report based on this question from the Mayor from January of last year:

CQ1-2020:Asks Administration to prepare a report on policy and/or bylaw changes that require new construction projects in the City of Windsor to prepare for electric vehicle infrastructure including, at a minimum, the rough-in necessary to facilitate future transition to electric vehicles. In addition, report back on best practices or policies that would benefit existing buildings to convert as needed. SW/13715 18.1(January 20, 2020)

The answer brought me to this information and map of current public charging stations:

Presently, the City of Windsor only has one City-owned EV charging station. It is located at the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre and is free for the public to use. However, through funding made available through the Government of Canada’s Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP), the City has been able to expand the number of charging stations available for public use by twenty-two (22) additional electric vehicle spaces. The City will be installing eleven (11) Level 2 dual connector electric vehicle charging stations for public use at nine (9) different locations throughout the City. In addition, a charging station will be installed in Assumption Park North as part of the Celestial Beacon project which will house the newly-renovated Streetcar No. 351.The location and number of additional proposed (ZEVIP funded) charging stations are listed below. These sites will also be free to use at first, with the option to charge for use later.

Compared to the rest of the council documentation, councillor questions are the most straight-forward and also the most interesting.

I particularly can’t wait for CQ17-2020 to be answered:

It is important that we recognize and acknowledge the historic and systemic nature of racism and discrimination in our country and our City. We understand that to move forward and promote equity and eliminate anti-racism requires reaching out to and hearing from the voices of those in our community and Corporation most impacted by discrimination and racism. In this pursuit, it is also essential that we work towards having a Corporation that is representative of the people it serves and that everyone is treated with respect. As such, I am seeking the input and recommendations of Administration and our Diversity Advisory Committee on the viability of:

1. Including community-led consultations on systemic racism, under Phase 2 of the City of Windsor Diversity and Inclusion Initiative.

2. Seeking the input of those in our Corporation and related entities and our community most affected by racism and discrimination, regarding barriers to hiring and advancement in our Corporation and related entities as part of the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative.

3. Including recommendations and input regarding providing historical information and educational materials for City owned statues, buildings and streets named with racist histories as part of the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, and further developing a plan for inclusive street and property naming practices in the future. APM2020 (July 13, 2020)