Weeknote 4, 2021

§1 The Safety Insights Dance

Earlier this week, I took a closer look at the recent deal between The City of Windsor and Ford Mobility Canada in a post called Safety Insights, Data Privacy, and Spatial Justice.

§2 Trying to save their reputation, instead of lives

We have long passed the point in which we can expect the Provincial Government to take any action in regards to restoring sick pay or shoring up long term care staffing and facilities lest those action improve outcomes. To save lives through improving working conditions at this point would be a terrible thing for Ford Nation because doing so would suggest that if they had only interjected sooner, they could have prevented many of the 3500 deaths of LTC residents that have been attributed to COVID-19.

Wow. That was a dark thing to write.

As for the safety of teachers and students who may or may not be returning to school shortly, this week the Ontario government showed it was taking every precaution by trying to silence at least two doctors who have been critical of their gross negligence.

A comms agency associated with FordNation apparently coordinated with the Toronto Sun to make a dubious personal attack on Dr. David Fisman.

Also this week, Dr. Brooks Fallis alleges that his contract as medical director at William Osler Health System was terminated because the hospital was under pressure from the provincial government who were unhappy with the outtspokeness of Dr. Fallis and his hospital was worried they would lose funding. Dr. Fallis’ peers are outraged.

I fact-checked the above tweet by the way and it’s true. Bill Davis is the honorary chair of Ryerson’s Institute on Aging and is chair emeritus and board member of the for-profit LTC chain Revera Inc. Mike Harris is Chairman of the Board at Chartwell Retirement Residences, the biggest private chain of LTC homes in Canada and Ernie Eaves sat on the board of Central Park Lodges.

None dare call it… what it appears to be.

§3 Doing things by halves

Years ago I read a “day in the life” profile of Bill Gates the philanthropist. Gates was in a small audience listening to a funding pitch from a health-care organization the journalist recounted how Gates made careful note of all the numbers presented and then afterwards asked difficult and pointed questions on how efficient or inefficient their operation was based on his calculated inferences.

I mention this story because it is frankly inexcusable that this happened:

Evidently you can cut the number of vaccinations in half and that is not considered actionable by Ontario Vaccination Task Force.

Remember when the vaccine was being first rolled out in December and two of the ten members of the Ontario Vaccine Distribution Task Force were so essential to the roll-out that during that time, they left the country to travel someplace warm?

Sooo the fact that our mayor was selected to be a member of another Provincial Task Force — this one dedicated to transportation — doesn’t particularly impress me.

§4 Special Delivery Unit

Next week, on Monday February 8th, there will be a special meeting of council to hear a presentation of Windsor Works – An Economic Development Strategy for the City’s Future Growth by Rachel Wolf and Blair Gibbs of Public First.

Public First is a London UK based organziation that… well, they say that “We help organisations understand and influence public opinion through research and targeted communications campaigns.” I’m not entirely sure why they were hired to develop an economic development strategy. It’s also curious that the City went out of country for this help. Will they understand our context?

Let’s read their report and find out! ⬅ a copy the report with my annotations

I will pull one particular passage out from the report which, as a employee of the University of Windsor, I found quite… let’s say… extraordinary.

The above recommendation can be found in more detail on page 98.

Listen the report is long and if you don’t to read it all, I completely understand. But I have to say it is an audacious report that has a couple good ideas in it along with some big and bad suggestions such as starting up a venture capital fund specifically for American start-ups. The report re-frames current projects such as the City Hall Plaza and Civic Esplanade which is still undergoing public consultations as necessary economic development which really highlights that this is a public relations firm re-writing the desired agenda of the City Administration.

From what I can tell, this is the biggest takeaway from the document:

This plan suggests that Windsor needs to actively pursue automotive and other high-tech start ups with Detroit. But instead of WEEDC taking the lead and doing the work that is in its mandate, this report suggests that the Mayor leads this work using a ‘special delivery unit’ from within City Hall.

Should City Council endorse the L.I.F.T. Strategy to be developed and overseen by a new delivery unit to be setup within City Hall led by the Mayor with no established procedures first? Absolutely not. Will it happen? I really don’t know.

§5 Digital Public Service

Instead of letting the Mayor take the tax money of Windsor residents and give it to start-up bros (what I would give for a kitchen/food incubator in this city!), I would much rather see the City invest in its people so they can develop strong digital services in pursuit of good and equitable governance.

Until that happens, I will just point the civic-minded and civic-employed to The Syllabus from Teaching Public Service in the Digital Age:

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