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WINDSOR — Political opponents of Windsor’s outgoing mayor believe French should play a bigger role in the city’s economic and cultural development. Drew Dilkens, who is seeking a third term, does not name a project on his platform for official languages and French services.
“I’ll be better than Drew Dilkens,” says Matthew Giancola, one of the six candidates running for mayor, without hesitation. On a cultural level, he is driving the project to organize a French-speaking winter carnival festival with music, food and ice sculptures and sees the French language as a cultural and economic asset.
He also believes that City Hall could make communication efforts in both official languages, while its municipal council meetings are only accessible in English. “A French translation should be available for all City Hall and city communications,” he said.
A point of view that joins Louis Vaupotic, who is also taking part in the election campaign. “If there is a request, we should consider the possibility of a translator,” he says. “There are more ways to customize the city’s standard communications by simply pressing a button or perhaps printing out a form in French for an applicant to fill out. »
For more communication in French
A third candidate for mayor, Aaron Day, immediately advocates at least “putting in French subtitles to accommodate our French-speaking participants and at least recognize that language,” but explains that before any action, the community is doing it must be questioned.
“My plan to improve services in French would be to address the issues that the French community faces in terms of services, the same as the English community, and give them equal opportunities for services,” added Mr .Day added.
The three candidates recognize the importance of French, its history blended with that of the city, its status as an official language and the potential it could represent for the development of the socio-economic fabric.
“There are only two official languages in Canada” – Louis Vaupotic
“The contact with a bilingual education is extremely important to promote the intellectual development of the students,” explains Mr. Vaupotic. “Student exchange programs should be encouraged because without immersion it is difficult to master the language and to see the true value of the language. There should be a boost in cross-language communication skills specific to post-secondary jobs so that people feel comfortable enough to work in the other language at work. »
And to deplore Drew Dilkens’ restrictive multicultural vision: “He appreciates the French language because he sent his children to a French school. However, it does address the needs of local people by wanting all languages to be equally represented, however there are only two official languages in Canada. »
Economic development, a big challenge
During the election campaign, the place of French during the debate was not the subject of an exchange between the candidates. The economy remained central.
Mr. Giancola envisions a “more self-sufficient city with more emphasis on tourism and small business success.” This must be matched by “an increase in social services for people struggling with addiction, poverty, disability and homelessness to create a welcoming and safe city,” he argues.
“It also includes the removal of the proposed $32 million Festival Plaza canopy and $8 million Legacy Beacon light rail project, which are not only a waste but will also be a tourism failure. »
We must first “solve old challenges: unemployment, homelessness, mental health…” – Aaron Day
For his part, Aaron Day believes that we cannot develop the economy “without solving the old challenges: unemployment, homelessness, mental health, long-term care facilities, addictions, overburdened health care systems and aging infrastructure. These are certainly not new problems, but they have gotten worse over time. »
According to Vaupotic, Windsor’s prosperity has always been a result of Detroit’s proximity to the Big Three automakers across the border. “The more Windsor can help the Big Three adapt to the future, the better Windsor will be. It’s a great place to showcase Canadian innovation and talent and help keep the Big Three at the cutting edge of technology.
“The backbone of this integration could be a 24-hour international multimodal transport hub,” envisions this candidate.
Outgoing mayor and candidate for his own successor, Drew Dilkens, declined our media inquiries. Contestants Chris Holt, Benjamin Danyluk and Ernie Lamont did not respond to our interview requests.
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