Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Shades of grey

Of the various numbers and statistics mentioned in the Mayor's Inaugural Address last night, one got my attention:
Our University is such an important asset – one that many communities would love to have. And the time has come for the University of Windsor to achieve more, and to do more, when it comes to achieving excellence.

While Windsor stood 9th in private sector R&D investment, we ranked 20th in public sector research and development.

The University of Windsor has so much opportunity and potential. The time has come for it to join the ranks of the truly great universities in this province and in this country.

This, too, is largely beyond our City Council’s control.
I always wonder when I hear statistics thrown around without any citation or reference. I decided to go looking for the source.

The statistics mentioned in the Mayor's address come from Research Infosource's 2006 report.
icon Top 20 Research Communities List 2006.pdf (92 KB) Supplementary reports and statistics can be found on the Report Page of InfoSources

A couple things to place the report in context:
1. The data being reported is based on the 2001 Census;

2. When the report mentions Windsor - it's actually referring to the Census Metropolitan Area of Windsor which includes Windsor, Amherstburg, Lakeshore, LaSalle, and Tecumseh; and

3. If you look at Statistics Canada's website, (scroll down for list of CMA's) you can see that they track 27 total CMA's in Canada. This helps put the 9th and 20th place rankings in further context.
Take a look at the CMA who ranks number 17 in the report - Saguenay. Ring a bell? That's the region that has been fighting a back and forth battle with Windsor for the highest unemployment rates in the country for the last year.

Hands up everyone who thinks a Regional Economic Development Commission (that's still looking for a CEO and is probably a year away from actually doing anything) and a big-bucks marketing plan are going to be the answer to diversification in the Windsor area economy?

While I'm generally not in favour of growing government subsidies we can and must be more innovative in our approaches. In November I threw out an idea - The voices are out there.
For the Windsor area to get ahead - we need to do the things other municipalities are NOT doing. These are the types of discussions that all residents need to be having.

Unfortunately, we just missed our biggest opportunity to have one such discussion - the Municipal Election. For such a grand plan laid out by the Mayor, he was strangely silent during the election.

With continuing references to the upcoming council strategic planning sessions and all the surprise issues (400 City Hall Square, Corporate Communications, Windsor Police restructuring, Windsdor Airport...), I certainly don't want to see a series of " fait accomplis" presented to the people of Windsor as the concensus of council, not unless they're going to hold the strategic planning sessions in public.