CBC Windsor

Windsor Votes: Promises, Promises

Karen Brady, CBC News

There were many winners in this municipal election. Some of the candidates were certainly successful. But more importantly, what a victory for the electorate. Voter turnout increased 21 percent, from 38.2 percent in the last election to 46.3 percent of eligible electors this time around. The issues from this year's election clearly mobilized voters to head to the polls. Everybody wins, according to our Citizen's Agenda panelists.

"It tells you that more people are getting engaged in this process in this community which I think bodes well for the community as a whole. So it's exciting and I'm happy to see it," says former city councillor Tom Porter.

Rose Anguiano Hurst was thrilled. "I think all over Windsor and Essex County with Rick Limoges coming in as a challenger it really invoked some excitement in the community."

"We had everybody talking and you could ask for nothing more than that," touted Limoges during his speech at the Caboto Club.

Hurst and Porter are two of five locals who shared their views with CBC on how to make Windsor better. We called it the Citizen's Agenda. Our agenda setters joined me at the Caboto to watch the results roll in. They weren't surprised to see Mayor Francis re-elected.

"No matter who it would have been, again, I'm holding you to your promises," said Sousan Khaled. "This one was such a tight race because so many people in my family are directly affected by this choice." Khaled will be watching what Eddie Francis is doing to bring jobs to Windsor, and to help small businesses succeed.

W.E.S.T. Director Rose Anguiano Hurst agrees employment is key. She advocates for immigrant women seeking work. She wants to see "jobs that will benefit those most in need as well as jobs for highly skilled people. I think what he's doing at the airport sounds exciting."

Tom Porter hopes Francis has taken the note about playing nice with others. "There are a lot of people in the community who are looking for perhaps some changes in style, changes in direction from some of the things he's been doing."

In fact, twice during his acceptance speech Francis commented on being open to ideas, but with a caveat. "I welcome your ideas, I welcome your contributions and your partnership. In me you will find a willing and active partner in pursuit of a common interest, the taxpayer first, Windsor first."

Both Sousan Khaled and Mark Boscariol live in Ward 9. The lack of an incumbent made the race a bit more of a challenge to predict. Neither panelist voted for the former city administrator and councillor-elect Hilary Payne.

"He's really going to be holding people accountable," said Boscariol. "He really ran on a platform of asking questions and standing up so I'm not disappointed to have him as a representative. I think that we need to see that. I just hope that with the other stuff in the city he doesn't have to exclude himself on too many issues and he doesn't have to sit on the sidelines when it comes to boarded up houses."

But according to Payne, that's exactly what he will be doing. "That is a conflict of interest. When the boarded up houses matter comes before council either in closed meetings or open meetings I just simply declare a conflict of interest, have it recorded, and leave the room."

Tom Porter resides in Ward 3. He believes elected incumbent Fulvio Valentinis's experience will be needed to revitalize downtown. He'll be holding the mayor and council accountable on delivering a more vibrant core.

"I think there is an answer in having more housing downtown. And I think they're on the right track in terms of getting some of the educational institutions downtown like St. Clair College and the University of Windsor, which creates more of a people place downtown."

Mark Boscariol is excited about the prospect of Francis' plan to bring the Science Centre downtown. And for Sousan Khaled, it's all about liveable communities. "The arts, reviving all of that stuff is going to bring a lot more spirit into this community."

With such a high turnout at the polls, this city council has a strong mandate. Can Eddie Francis unite Windsor and council to deliver on their big promises? The citizens of Windsor will be watching.