Collier | Diversity committee needed in Windsor

Windsor is one of Canada's most diverse cities, and council reflects that, but more needs to be done, says political science professor Cheryl Collier.

Cheryl Collier says city council reflects the city's diversity, but more needs to be done

According to Cheryl Collier, the diversity committee got $3,870 in the 2011 budget, none last year, and is scheduled to receive $3,870 this year.

Windsor is one of Canada's most diverse cities. Last week's census confirmed that.

Political science professor and CBC Windsor's municipal affairs expert Cheryl Collier said council reflects the city's diversity.

"We're doing quite well," she said.

Four of 11 council members are visible minorities.

"That is very important. But that’s only one way we can measure representation," Collier said.

Collier called it "mirror representation."

More importantly, she said, is substantive representation. That's when elected officials advocate on behalf of certain minority groups.

"We’re not doing as much as we could," Collier said.

The city has 17 advisory committees. One of them is a diversity committee.

Part of the committee's mandate is "to develop and recommend to the mayor and members of city council policies and programs which will create an atmosphere conducive to harmonious community relations within the city of Windsor."

However, the city's website says, "the Members for the 2011-2014 Diversity Committee have not yet been appointed by the Striking Committee of Council."

According to Collier, the committee got $3,870 in the 2011 budget, none last year, and is scheduled to receive $3,870 this year.

Collier says, Arabs, Blacks, South Asians and Chinese are Windsor's four biggest diverse communities.

"All those communities and people have concerns with the delivery of services and how they interact with the government," Collier said. "The diversity committee is a nice idea, but it has to be active to be able to have that dialogue."

Cheryl Collier is a professor of political science at the University of Windsor. She can be be heard on the Early Shift with Tony Doucette at 8:14 a.m. on Mondays. Tune in to 97.5 FM or listen live online at www.cbc.ca/windsor.

To hear Monday's piece, click on the audio box above.