ourWindsor: Detroit files for bankruptcy: how will it affect Windsor?

Detroit (Jon Liedtke)

Jonathon Liedtke – ourWindsor.ca – July 21 2013


[Update/Developing:  The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Judge Rosemarie Aquilina of the Ingham County Circuit ordered Governor Snyder and emergency manager Kevyn Orr to withdraw their filing of Chapter 9 bankruptcy for Detroit due to the bankruptcy violatomg the state’s constitutional protection for pensions.  It is also being reported by Deadline Detroit that Aquilina has sent her decision to President Obama in an effort to secure a federal bailout.]

When word hit the street that the City of Detroit filed for bankruptcy, many expressed surprise, others trepidation and even fear. In Detroit and Windsor however, news of the filing didn’t come as a surprise, but rather, indicated that perhaps something beneficial may come from the decision.

The finances and state of the city has long been suffering. Most recently. Governor Snyder appointed Kevyn Orr as Emergency Manager who has the authority and responsibility to get the city’s finances in order, by virtually any means necessary: selling off assets, breaking contracts, etc.

In Windsor, MP Brian Masse issued a statement regarding the bankruptcy filing and what the impact could mean for the region.

“The recent news of the City of Detroit filing for bankruptcy marks a sad milestone in history of the global financial meltdown,” said Masse. “It is no secret that as a whole in this area. we have been hard hit by the global economic recession, but I believe there is reason for hope and optimism.”

Masse knows that the region of Windsor and Detroit has “much to offer” and is strategically located in “the North-American heartland.  We are a transportation and logistics hub, a centre for innovation and an incredible destination for visitors whose interests can range from sports, music, gaming, eco and culinary-tourism and much more.”

The City of Windsor could greatly benefit from Detroit’s filing as Mayor Francis expressed interest to Orr that he was interested in purchasing the U.S. side of the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel on AM800 earlier today.

The tunnel is currently leased through to 2020.

Detroit based journalist Charlie LeDuff asked via his Facebook account: “Real question on Detroit bankruptcy: who gets ruined. Secured bond holders or old people retirees. Pay attention Out there. You’re next.”

Tom Lucier is one of the owners of Phog Lounge in downtown Windsor and while he expressed that he believes the decision is bound to help Detroit because it can mean a “clean slate” for the city, he questioned what impact the decision would have on Windsorites and even residents of Detroit.

“Everybody knows that the city has been broken and taken advantage of for so long … I don’t even know what the actual impact is,” said Lucier. “It doesn’t change what most Detroiters have to do; they just go to work and do their thing…”

Lucier also questioned the amount of business that The City of Windsor and Windsorites as a whole do with The City of Detroit formally.

One user of Reddit posed to the Canada section of Reddit “Canada Should Buy Detroit”, which garnered 1,934 upvotes and only 548 downvotes.

While many comments were jokes along the lines of “if canada bought detroit, our street rep would be off the charts” and “Do you really WANT Detroit?”, some others addressed what the website’s users considered to be valid concerns.

“Windsorite here,” commented Reddit user ‘mattchew1993’. “Having lived only a few kilometers away from Detroit I feel like I have the right to say: [expletive] off, we’re the ones who will get killed from the riots that would ensue.”

On social media, Windsorites took to expressing hope for Detroit and love for the city as a whole. One Windsorite commented “Put your hands up for detroit”, while another simply expressed the unofficial Detroit slogan “Say good things about Detroit”.

Detroit’s filing for bankruptcy marks a new chapter in the once great city’s journey.

Detroit saw the birth of The American Dream, the continuance of it, the death of it, and now, if residents and politicians play their cards right, could very well help mold the next incarnation of what it means to dream big in America.


Jon Liedtke

Detroit files for bankruptcy: how will it affect Windsor?


Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.