Premier Addresses Caboto And Auto Industry At Windsor Meeting

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne answers questions during a townhall meeting at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts in Windsor, February 15, 2018. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Ontario’s premier got an earful from Windsor-Essex residents during a townhall meeting.

Premier Kathleen Wynne answered questions on a variety of subjects during the meeting, which was the latest in a series taking place across the province.

Hundreds listened Thursday night at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts, which was the alternative venue for this meeting. The townhall was initially slated to take place at the Caboto Club in Windsor but an outcry over the club’s all-male membership prompted Wynne and her staff to change venues.

Wynne briefly addressed the controversy, saying while the private club had a right to set its rules, it was all about making everyone feel welcome.

“This was a meeting that was open to everybody,” said Wynne. “It needed to be a meeting where everybody who wanted to come felt comfortable. We changed the location because there were some people who said they weren’t comfortable about having it at a club with an all-male board. That’s their prerogative.”

There were other issues relating to Windsor-Essex discussed at the meeting, as well. One man questioned the premier about how the recent labour law changes in the province did not include the local auto industry, asking her if it was politically motivated for a county completed represented by the NDP. Wynne said the labour changes were geared toward hard-working Ontarians who are having trouble getting ahead.

“It was really about people who were being treated the way they should not be treated and not have fair workplaces,” said Wynne. “That’s not the case for the vast majority of autoworkers who are under contract and who have a different kind of workplace.”

Wynne also addressed a question about environmental concerns still lingering over the site of the new Windsor-Essex mega-hospital. She pointed out despite the hospital’s contention that the site is set except for zoning, it should not deter people to express their worries at the local level.

“Those decisions need to be made locally and I implore all the local representatives to make sure they include people with concerns in the consultation,” said Wynne.

Others in attendance had questions ranging from resources for vulnerable sectors of the population, to mental health assistance to amalgamation.

Among the elected officials in attendance were Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky, Essex County Warden Tom Bain and Windsor Councillor Rino Bortolin.