Post Number: 764
|Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 9:52 am: || |
I still think the better solution involves Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent, and Sarnia-Lambton forming a province of their own, but....
From today's Windsor Star:
Civil service jobs wanted
Councillor: Ron Jones urges lobbying effort for decentralized ministry offices after Tory leader pledges plan
Grace Macaluso, Windsor Star
Published: Friday, March 23, 2007
The City of Windsor should push the Ontario government for its fair share of civil service jobs as part of its quest to boost the ailing economy, Ward 2 Coun. Ron Jones, said Wednesday.
"We've been talking about diversification for decades; now we have to go out and pursue these things," said Jones, adding he planned to raise the issue at Monday night's council meeting. "All we need is the political will and a way to sell Windsor."
The issue of decentralizing Ontario's civil service was raised recently when Opposition Leader John Tory pledged that a Conservative government would develop a plan to move about 10 per cent of Ontario's civil service jobs out of Toronto and into smaller communities. While Tory's proposal focused on moving jobs to rural and northern communities, Jones said, "I can't think of a city that's more worthy of government jobs than Windsor. We have a lot to offer; a lower cost of living, proximity to Michigan and the ability to drive from one end of the city to the other within minutes."
The city, which tied with Saguenay, Que., last month to post the country's highest unemployment rate at 9.8 per cent, is in the midst of a manufacturing downturn as the Big Three auto makers close plants and shed tens of thousands of jobs.
Charged with steering the economy out of choppy waters, Matthew Fischer, chief executive officer of the Windsor-Essex County Economic Development Commission, cited 2004 statistics showing that Windsor CMA's concentration of public sector jobs -- both at the federal and provincial levels -- fell below the provincial average.
"We have about 70 per cent of what would be normally expected if we had the same location ratio as the entire province," said Fischer.
"It might give us some ammunition to go talk to Queen's Park and Ottawa about the establishment of other government offices."
But Fischer said relocating existing jobs would be a tough sell to affected employees.
"I think it was the early 1990s when the provincial government moved the ministries of tourism and transportation out of Toronto. I know that MTO relocated personnel to downtown St. Catherines. Obviously, we in Windsor and the development commission would welcome the jobs and the job creation potential, but I do remember that it caused a great deal of pain to many of the families because of dual household incomes being the norm and the fact that one partner is being reassigned to another community causes a lot of distress to the household."
David Cox, spokesman for Ontario Public Sector Employees Union, said the union does not have a position on where government jobs should be located. He did say however, that "decentralization currently exists," with government offices located in such communities as Oshawa, Peterborough and Sault Ste. Marie. He also cited statistics showing that while 30,000 of its members are located in the Toronto-Mississauga area, 20,000 are located in the region stretching from London to Windsor.
Cox said a bigger issue is government downsizing, which has cut the number of full-time permanent jobs in the public sector.
"Some ministries, like the Ministry of Natural Resources, have been cut to the bone. We think the government should fill those positions that are needed."
© The Windsor Star 2007