Hon. Howard Pawley Windsor West – Recipe for Success
Windsor West is truly a unique corner of Canada. I came here after serving nearly twenty years in Manitoba politics including being its premier from 1981-1988.I thought I would be here only one year; it was not to be!
Windsor itself is the southern most city of Canada separated by the Detroit River; Windsor is located south of Detroit, Michigan. It is known as the city of Roses. Windsor survived the 1812 war. This was the site of the battle of Windsor during the Upper Canada rebellion in 1838.
Windsor West has a humid continental climate with four distinct seasons Windsor has the highest number of days per year with lightening, haze and daily maximum temperatures over 30 centigrade. Unfortunately, Windsor West suffers from pollution and this is associated with respiratory diseases.
However, Windsor West enjoys many advantages including a riverfront to the Ambassador Bridge. Part of this is the Odette Sculpture Park displaying various modern and post-modern sculptures from local artists. Families of elephants, penguins, horses and many other sculptures are found in the park. Many other parks including Jackson Park are also located in Windsor West.
Windsor West’s economy is based on manufacturing, Tourism, education and government services. Both the University of Windsor and St.Clair College are significant local employers and have enjoyed considerable growth in the past few years including a full –program satellite medical school that opened in 2008. The university is currently constructing a $112 million facility for the engineering faculty.
A well-based tourism flourishes in Windsor West with Caesars Windsor one of the largest casinos in Canada. Its restaurants such as those on Erie Street [“Via Italia”] have enhanced tourism in Windsor West.
A major initiative taking place now in Windsor West is it becoming the transportation hub with the linkage of Detroit and Windsor with a new bridge. More products are transported through this connection then anywhere else in Canada. People in Windsor West are also awaiting high-speed rail.
Windsor West benefits from a diversified economy, pharmaceuticals, alternative energy and the great Lake’s regional office of the International Joint Commission. Windsor is one of Canada’s major automobile manufacturing centers. However, plant closures and significant job losses in recent years have negatively impacted Windsor’s automobile manufacturing industry. The constituency attracts many immigrants from around the world. Despite a recent decrease in population because of its current bad economy, the constituency continues to attract many immigrants from around the world, 20% of the population is foreign born.
Windsor West, indeed Windsor itself, enjoys one of the lowest crime and murder rates in Canada. There were no homicides in the entire city for a 27-month period ending in November 2011.
There have been a number of reasons for NDP wins in Windsor West including its MP Brian Masse and there has also been increasing public anger over federal Liberal and Conservative arrogance and the CAW and union support for the NDP are both important factors in the Party’s growth. There can be no question that both Liberals and Conservatives have seen their candidates weakened causing many to either switch their votes or to simply stay home and not vote.
Nonetheless, the reasons for the NDP wins In Windsor West Federal constituency accompanied by good showings provincially go deeper and include a number of other factors. An increasing number of voters are worried about what is currently happening both in Ontario and in Canada. Crucial factors in explaining the gain in support include the fact that the NDP is choosing the right issues———– those where it both enjoyed credibility and were also of critical concern to the electorate that would be inclined to support the NDP if given the opportunity.
The declining state of the health care system with the lack of long-term beds, home care and few hospitals all play a key part. Mounting environmental concern over air and water pollution and the impact these are having on the high rate of cancer, respiratory and other serious diseases taking an exceptionally high toll on people in this corner of Canada was on most minds. A new green economy [energy efficiencies] is urgently essential. The looming threat to employment because of an absence of a Canadian auto industry strategy and this issue was central on the doorsteps and all-party candidate debates. Growing inequality and poverty in these difficult financial times, has been very substantial in Windsor West.
The NDP has had Leaders and candidates who refused to be sidetracked from these issues despite more vicious attacks by the opposition party’s news media then I have ever seen.
Visits by Andrea Horwath and Thomas Muclair and a sizable number of their elected members have been most helpful. Andrea is by far the most popular of the provincial leaders visiting Windsor West. The NDP M.Ps demonstrated to the public that the NDP considered itself a strong contender for the constituency. Joe Comartin’s federal representation in the neighboring riding of Windsor -Tecumseh and Taras Natychak in the provincial riding of Essex assists the NDP appeal to its natural constituency. An opportunity now exists for the party to regain momentum leading up to the next provincial election.
Federally and provincially, the NDP has succeeded in sharpening its focus and placed itself in a better position to strengthen itself as a clear left alternative. The NDP seems to be finding a more effective role for itself both inside and outside of parliament. Success in Windsor West, victory will finally be achieved when the party succeeds in building a powerful organization of men and women, young and old to do active campaigning. To do so, the issues must be those that appeal to the N.D.Ps natural constituency.
To deal with the strategic voting issue, the NDP must show itself as an alternative with a credible program. It must distinguish its policies from those of the other parties. New initiatives involve speaking directly to the concerns of constituents on issues that previously had not been properly addressed ——-Public health care, disease prevention through improving the environment, cross boarder commerce and traffic congestion and finally the loss of auto jobs. The other parties lack a credible agenda for dealing with these issues.
It must illustrate how little difference exists between the liberals and Conservatives. New initiatives involves speaking directly to the concerns of constituents on issues that previously have not been properly addressed ——-Public health care, disease prevention through improving the environment, cross boarder commerce and traffic congestion and finally the loss of auto jobs. The other parties lack any credible agenda for dealing with these issues.
Tommy Douglas demonstrated what the Party stood for with his implementation of universal and comprehensive Health Care and Public Automobile Insurance [later to be implemented in B.C, Manitoba and Quebec]. Although opposition parties powerfully opposed these policies they would clearly make the N.D.P the alternative choice. Such an approach will play a major role in Windsor West.
By: Hon. Howard Pawley