FEBRUARY 28, 2008


OTTAWA – During Question Period in the House of Commons today, the NDP’s Critic for Transport and Auto Policy condemned the Conservative government’s budget cuts to automotive spending programs which puts at risk the competitive position of the industry and will lead to further job losses.

“It is an outrage that the Conservative government is pretending to assist the industry with an inadequate vague program when in reality they are shutting down a failed subsidy plan and cutting funding for the whole sector. This is a cynical bait-and-switch game that threatens thousands of autoworkers jobs and the most important manufacturing sector in the country,” declared Brian Masse, Member of Parliament (Windsor West), who revealed that the recent Conservative budget is cutting spending on auto manufacturing by almost 14 per cent.

The Conservative government ended the much criticized ecoAuto rebate program that the CEO of General Motors recently called "a disaster from a company and consumer perspective." The program was replaced with the Automotive Innovation Fund which will allocate only $ 50 million a year for five years. This results in a $ 40 million reduction in automotive spending by the federal government.

“By not investing in the manufacturing sector, by having no national auto strategy, this budget signals that the government is abandoning not only the industry but also the hardworking families and the communities that depend on it,” said Masse.

The NDP will vote against the budget as there is nothing for manufacturers who are no longer profitable, such as a forward-looking reinvestment or a national policy to keep the industry competitive. The Canadian auto sector has fallen from fourth in the world in vehicle assembly to tenth in just eight years. The country’s automotive trade balance is in a deficit for the first time in eighteen years.

“Canada’s auto sector has called for the necessary investments to keep the industry competitive with other jurisdictions. The conservative government has chosen to ignore these needs while subsidizing the most profitable oil companies and banks with further tax cuts,” Masse stated