Rose City Politics
Sept. 23, 2022
On Monday Drew Dilkens’ campaign Twitter account tweeted and a commenter defended Mr. Dilkens’ electoral record, suggesting that if he were reelected, Windsor would see continued “economic growth and stability”, justified by the “battery plant currently under construction that will employ thousands”, referencing the recently approved and government funded joint venture between Stellantis and LG Energy Solution, NextStar Energy’s EV battery plant.
My Rose City Politics co-host, Doug Sartori, decided to respond and asked, “What makes you think Stellantis or LG care who the Mayor is?”
It was then that Drew Dilkens’ campaign manager, Abe Taqtaq, responded, “Maybe we should ask them?”
Never one to miss an opportunity, I decided to heed Mr. Taqtaq’s advice and I immediately reached out to both Stellantis and LG Energy Solution.
Obviously Mr. Taqtaq was levying a political response when he suggested someone ask Stellantis or LG Energy Solution their preference as to the mayor of Windsor, but I thought it raised valid questions which I posed to the communication officers for both corporations.
- Is there a risk of Windsor Ontario losing the NextStar Energy EV Battery Plant if Drew Dilkens is not reelected?
- Does Stellantis have a preference as to who the next mayor of Windsor is as alluded by Drew Dilkens’ campaign manager?
- How does Stellantis navigate changing municipal landscapes when electoral politics is at play?
I was pleased when hours later I received an email from Stellantis:
“NextStar Energy looks forward to building and maintaining a productive working relationship with the City of Windsor and the surrounding community.”LouAnn Gosselin, Stellantis’ Head of Communications (Canada) and Head of Internal Communications (North America)
I was also pleased when a day later I received a response from LG Energy Solution direct from Seoul South Korea:
“There is currently no change to LG Energy Solution’s investment plan regarding NextStar Energy. LGES will continue to communicate with key stakeholders to secure a stable battery supply chain.”Jee-in Chun, Global PR Director for LG Energy Solution
Both of these responses are about as PR speak as it gets, so let me translate them into plain English:
We’ll work with whoever is elected in Windsor Essex because we’ve already gotten money from all levels of government, the project is in motion, and it doesn’t matter who is in power anymore.Translation from PR Speak
One has to assume this is…not exactly the response that Mr. Taqtaq and the Dilkens campaign were looking for.
BUT of the three responses that could’ve been provided (1. Stellantis supports Dilkens; 2. Stellantis doesn’t support Dilkens; or 3. Stellantis doesn’t care who wins), the Dilkens campaign was fortunate the statement was ambivalent and not negative.
Such raises the advice I offer to campaign managers: don’t ask questions you might not want answers to.
Of course multibillion dollar corporations don’t care who the Mayor of the City of Windsor is. They care about tax incentives and government support for their projects, and that’s already been achieved.
Always remember, multi-billion-dollar corporations typically outlive governments, of all stripes, at all levels, and especially those with lineages of a combined age of almost 200 years.