With Mayor Francis and Councillor Bill Marra’s refusal to enforce city bylaws, word has it things could get interesting in the wild, wild west of Windsor. On the other hand, it is also sheer genius on the part of the Mayor.
Across Canada courts have been siding with municipal officials attempting to enforce their bylaws – many prohibiting the placing of tents or remaining in parks after dark. From Vancouver to Calgary; London to Ottawa and Quebec City to Halifax, tents have been folding and largely without incident.
But Mayor Francis doesn’t want to “stir the pot” and give protestors the “opportunity to paint Windsor in a negative light” by enforcing the parks bylaw. In fact, supporting Mayor Francis in overlooking these bylaw infractions, Windsor’s Chief of Police, Gary Smith said, ‘It’s a parks bylaw and we’re not talking about criminal code offences” (CBC News, November 23, 2011).
Word has it residents are rightfully asking why they should follow city bylaws – especially since “we’re not talking about criminal code offences.” The Mayor has provided the perfect defence for any bylaw infraction. Sure we pass bylaws but we really do not mean it. And it looks as if some are planning on taking advantage of this if a website is any indication.
In fact, the Mayor going around and asking Councillors what he should do seems strange when he is a Mayor/lawyer/Head of the Police Services Board. His failure to enforce the bylaws and the Chief’s comment assuming that everything remains peaceful, may mean he can never evict anyone from any city facility or park.
Poof! There goes a home or two or a hundred on Indian Road. There go the kids dancing and listening to music at the Junction in Brian Masse’s neighbourhood.
Heck, perhaps disgruntled citizens will occupy city hall or flash mob council chambers. Why bother with the council procedural bylaw – remember it’s only a bylaw. Maybe there will be a Cogeco spinoff – So You Think Council Can Dance?
Nonetheless, it would be better to stay warm in the City hall lobby with clean running water and a fully stocked cafeteria one floor below, I suppose. A vast improvement over placing bales of hay near space heaters and propane tanks – especially since the city has apparently cut power to outdoor electrical outlets the occupiers were using. Unless one is into martyrdom, it’s a much better alternative.
Elsewhere, struggling families could raise some urban hens, refuse to cut the grass on city boulevards, or secure vacant homes – the possibilities are endless since violating municipal bylaws is not “a criminal code” offence and do not require enforcement.
But the Mayor always has a plan, so he constantly reminds us.
What’s an occupier to do with no place to go in the rest of Canada? Everywhere they turn they are having their tents and personal belongings removed after being slapped with orders from both courts and municipal officials. The solution is obvious – come to Windsor!
It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if occupiers from across North America flood Canada customs or clog our highways to descend upon Windsor. The local donors or labour movement could sponsor busloads, trainloads and even plane-loads from across the country in solidarity.
You couldn’t buy this type of international attention. Absolute sheer brilliance! We are again world-class! And best of all, Windsor International Airport could become profitable as thousands descend upon the protest hub of North America.
It would definitely put Windsor on the map – the first city in Canada as I said whereby the Mayor takes a poll of councillors to determine if a bylaw should be enforced or not. And probably the first city in Canada that couldn’t enforce their bylaws, even if they wanted to.
Silly Drew Dilkens. Doesn’t he know any better?
Aside from claiming he has received complaints from residents but failed to do something as simple as forward them on to city officials – he should really follow the Mayor’s “plan that is a detailed plan.”
Talk about a lack of drew diligence on his part – troubling considering he has been charged with overseeing the development of the Aquatics Centre.
And with special thanks to the elected legal beagles, beagles-in-training and council nice guys, things could get very interesting in the wild, wild west of Windsor, Ontario.
Now where are those $650 per hour out-of-town lawyers the Mayor will have to retain to get him out of this mess!