ROSE CITY POLITICS – Partisan Tensions And Influence Weaving

Provincial and federal politics is woven with influence peddling, but at the municipal level, we don’t allow parties to stomp down on that to a large extent. For this edition, the Rose City Politics panel opines on
partisan tensions and influence weaving into municipal politics.

FRAZIER FATHERS
With a federal election in October 2025 (at the latest) and a provincial election scheduled for June of 2026, partisan campaigning and announcements will be the name of the game for local politics for the
next two years!

With both the Trudeau and Ford governments practically in campaign mode — and their opposition parties crisscrossing their respective jurisdictions — Windsor is going to be a key battleground, likely getting many visits, campaign style stops, and announcements.

Fortunately for us, Windsor has been a hub for investment, and many of these investments are going to come to fruition before the next respective elections — a battery plant opening; an urban national park;
an international bridge; a new lane on Highway 3; an overpass on the E.C. Row Expressway etc. This doesn’t count the dozens of other smaller ribbon cuttings, funding announcements and visits from
ministers that are likely in the pipeline.

All this external investment is great for Windsor! However, we must remember that in many cases there is a partisan element to this activity.

Given the campaign climate, depending on who is announcing what, partisan support or critiques fly fast and furious with barbs being thrown between these upper levels, as their various agendas and priorities
(housing, affordability, etc.) overlap.

For our portion of our community, if any local official attends a photo-op or announcement, they are government lackies or they “don’t support Windsor.” The result is muddying the impact and confusing the issues at the municipal level. This is the fundamental dynamic that is going to dominate the next several years of municipal politics.

As the slogans of “axe the tax” ring out at a federal level and provincially housing remains issue number one, these partisan tensions are going to weave into our local affairs. Unfortunately, the simplistic partisan framing often struggles in the reality of the municipal realm, where parties don’t exist and councillors more often move on a issue by issue basis.

Windsorites are going to need to be vigilant over the next few years as the upper-level elections approach, as there is incentive for politicians of all stripes to take credit for issues that aren’t theirs and pass the buck when they should be held accountable.

Frazier Fathers is a Lead Consultant with Community Policy Solutions. You can read his blog at: GingerPolitics.com and on Rose City Politics as a panelist.

Kristen Siapas - Rose City Politics - Biz X magazine

KRISTEN SIAPAS
The topic for this edition highlights an issue that is important to avid political watchers, but it’s worth all local residents, and voters especially, taking note.

With provincial and federal elections both taking place before our next municipal elections — and unprecedented investment taking place across the area — our region is sure to feel the pressure as politicians at all levels jockey for attention.

We’ve been lucky enough to take advantage of the benefits that come our way when we elect local representatives whose parties hold majority power.

Certainly that’s been quite visible with infrastructure investments like the Highway 3 expansion, Banwell interchange, and of course, the long-awaited and much celebrated battery plant investment.

However, voters would be wise to keep an eye on the influence those investments have, and the way they affect behaviour and decision making at the municipal level as well.

Historically, we’ve seen strong division at the municipal level between progressives and conservatives generally, but when municipal politicians have a particular affiliation with a provincial or federal party, the
division runs somewhat deeper.

When it comes to larger issues that can’t be solved without provincial and federal investment — housing and homelessness, for example, economic development, and road infrastructure that connects us across the region — there’s a certain amount of strategy involved.

Voters ought to ask themselves, what kind of a city do they really want to see? And what provincial and federal parties are going to be the ones that help us get there?

As we move into a period of even more political posturing leading up to the 2026 municipal election, which local political leaders are going to bring forward the necessary initiatives and make those connections regardless of party lines?

To quote an old cliché: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Windsor is in a position of power with respect to the investments we’ve received, but it’s up to us to use those investments responsibly. It’s all been a terrific blessing for our location, but the question now is how do we take these investments from upper levels of government and use them to build a thriving city that supports its residents well?

Creating a record number of jobs with a battery plant is undeniably great, but which housing strategy will put roofs over the heads of those workers? Which transit plan will get these workers to their jobs on time? Where will they spend their evenings and weekends, if not in a downtown plagued by false narratives about broken windows?

We need politicians that champion our region, working in cooperation with upper levels of government, regardless of political affiliation.

Questions worth considering, as campaigning has already begun.

Kristen Siapas is an avid theatre practitioner, engaged parent, community activist, and regular panelist on Rose City Politics. You can find her at the School of Dramatic Art’s University Players at the University of Windsor.