Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis has proclaimed Friday Gary Parent Day, less than two weeks after the retiring labour leader told the mayor to "go to hell" in a public speech.
Parent, 63, is retiring from the Windsor and District Labour Council, where he served 25 years as president, and from the Canadian Auto Workers' Local 444, where for 22 years he was the financial secretary.
He proved Wednesday he was not retiring his strong opinions about Windsor city council, saying he had "absolutely not" had regrets about his controversial speech.
"I say it because there has to be an accountability of people that say on one side of their mouth they support labour, and their actions show something different," he said.
A major voice on Windsor's union scene, Parent loudly condemned the mayor at a Labour Day rally for his handling of a 15-week city workers' strike that ended July 24.
"We're going to make this city thrive again and be the best and continue to be the best labour city in the province of Ontario," Parent told supporters.
"I'm telling you there's not a better labour city than Windsor in Ontario," he said, to great applause.
"This is our community, and Mayor Francis, go to hell!"
More than 1,000 expected at retirement party
Parent's outspokenness has not gone unnoticed by the mayor.
In his proclamation, Francis said Parent "has always spoken with passion about the causes he supports" and "what he believes in."
"He wears his heart on his sleeve for this region, and the men and women who work and raise families here."
More than 1,000 are expected to attend a special retirement party for Parent at Windsor's Caboto Club on Friday night.
The mayor is not expected to attend.
Parent started working at Daimler Chrysler in 1965. In 2007, he won the CAW's Bud Jimmerfield Award for work on behalf of injured workers.