The Urbanite – Jon Liedtke – Aug. 12, 2014
On a regular basis I hear people remarking: “Windsor isn’t the kind of town to work together,” “That’ll never happen in Windsor,” and my favourite, “That’s the kind of thinking for Toronto or Vancouver.”
How about all of you negative naysayers shut the hell up and let those of us who want to champion and grow the city do so.
Windsor is capable of great things, monumental things, and a brief look at our past and present serves as a constant reminder this is true: we capitalized on prohibition and liquor empires that helped build our city; the automotive industry was born here and developed into the powerhouse that it is today; we had the first electric streetcars in North America; the Rand Formula and with it the strengthening of the Canadian labour movement was a result of the 1945 Ford Strike. The list goes on and on.
It seems that for a long while the mentality in Windsor was more attuned towards achieving goals, whereas now we have arguments about whether Windsor even should be thinking about bold plans.
Perhaps it’s just a result of an embedded mindset that is fearful of change or perhaps it’s a result of decades of self imposed negative thinking about our city. Regardless of the cause, the time has come for a collective shift of consciousness.
Our city is still capable of greatness, but it will never be achieved if residents, politicians and stakeholders can’t see just how incredible Windsor is.
What is positive is the conversations I hear amongst young adults: “Why doesn’t Windsor have this?” “How about we start up this kind of a business?” “Windsor is such a great city with lots of opportunities, it’s why I moved here.”
I was raised by the maxim of “Don’t ask for permission, beg for forgiveness.” While we need to ensure that laws are followed and punishments are levied when they’re broken, this maxim has served me incredibly well in terms of pushing the limits of convention.
Windsor needs to embody this maxim: urban chickens, citywide food trucks, separated bike lanes … it takes challenging convention to create change.
The reason why Windsor doesn’t have many of the amenities that other cities do is simple: there hasn’t been a demand.
With an upcoming election and a large group of candidates vying for every position, regardless of the outcome, currently, Windsorites are the winners because the potential leadership is listening.
Whenever you see a council candidate, tell them what you want and ask them what their priorities are. If their priorities aren’t yours, move along and find the next candidate.
Have a great idea you think would help Windsor? Act now, or forever hold your peace.
Windsor’s municipal election takes place Oct. 27. To view the list of current candidates and to find out how to run, visit citywindsor.ca.
Jonathon Liedtke is the managing editor of The Urbanite, Windsor’s alternative newspaper. 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.