MASSE DEMANDS FEDERAL FUNDING FOR WINDSOR’S FORD ESSEX ENGINE PLANT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2008

MASSE DEMANDS FEDERAL FUNDING FOR WINDSOR’S FORD ESSEX ENGINE PLANT

OTTAWA, ON – As the House of Commons resumed this week, NDP Automotive Critic Brian Masse MP (Windsor West) wasted no time in demanding answers from the federal Industry Minister, Jim Prentice, about the Harper government’s failure to provide Ford’s Essex Engine Plant with funding.

Masse declared, “Hypocrisy is this government’s true ideology. There is money for aerospace companies in Quebec. There are billion dollar subsidies to oil companies in Alberta but nothing for the most important industrial sector of our economy in Ontario. Buying votes in Quebec and paying off campaign debts in Alberta is this government’s national strategy.”

The offer by the Ford Motor Company is to re-open the Essex Engine Plant in Windsor, Ontario to produce a new product if the federal and provincial governments provide $ 60 million in assistance. The government of Ontario has agreed to match $ 30 million of the necessary commitment if the federal government does as well.

“At a time when global auto executives are questioning the competitiveness of Canada as location for new investment since it lacks the programs and incentives all other jurisdictions already have, the Industry Minister declares that auto investment is not on the ‘front burner’ of priorities and the finance minister extends the hypocrisy that individual companies don’t obtain support while at the very same time the defence and public works minister is doling it out in Quebec. This is an outrage and an insult to all working Canadians in the auto industry,” Masse exclaimed

During the period between 2002 to 2006 approximately 140, 000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Ontario alone. In places such as Windsor, Ontario, the automotive centre of Canada, 35 percent of all manufacturing jobs have been lost. For the first time in 18 years Canada has become a net importer of automotive products down from a record surplus of $ 15 billion in 1999. At the same time Canada has fallen from being the fourth largest auto assembler in the world to the tenth.

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For more information: Brian Masse 613-996-1541

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39th Parliament 2nd Session Unofficial Version - Number 39 Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ms. Peggy Nash (Parkdale—High Park, NDP): Mr. Speaker, new Stats Canada data released today confirms another hit for working families in the middle class. Fully one-third of the manufacturing sector is planning to reduce production while one in five employers will kill jobs. This is on top of the 200 jobs lost each day in the manufacturing sector, but the government is forcing communities to wait.

If the government cared half as much for hard-working families as it does for the banks and the oil companies, why would it not bring forward the community development trust today and let Parliament get relief into communities now?


Hon. Jim Flaherty (Minister of Finance, CPC): Mr. Speaker, after and thanks to almost two years of a Conservative government led by the Prime Minister, Canada has very strong economic fundamentals. These fundamentals are vitally important in terms of job creation in Canada. We have had solid job creation in every region of Canada over the course of the past two years.

Yes, there is an economic slowdown in the United States. We anticipated that slowdown. We were ahead of the curve last year with the accelerated capital cost allowance in March 2007, and over the course of the next two years 100% writeoff for new machinery and equipment.


Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Ford Motors is warning that the opportunity in Windsor is fleeting unless action is taken now. To get the Essex engine plant up and operating, it needs a partnership with the federal government. The Minister of Finance says no, but the Minister of Industry says the money is in the blackmail billion.
Let us get this straight. They are willing to fund the project after it is lost. I am sure when the plant is developed in China, they will probably get an invitation to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

It is important to note that the Conservative tax cuts have not worked. What has happened is that industry leaders and unions have called for action right now. When will the government take action to prevent these job losses and have investment in our country as opposed—to losses.


The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Industry.


Hon. Jim Prentice (Minister of Industry, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the NDP of course is all strategy and no action.

The government has been taking action. The government has been working together with the auto industry with respect to the assembly industry and the parts industry, very serious work with respect to infrastructure, the Windsor-Detroit bridge crossing, work on regulatory harmonization, work as well on fuel consumption standards and smart fiscal policy.
These are the kinds of initiatives that are going to make this industry competitive so that Canadians are going to continue to do what they have always done, which is to be exceptional at assembly of automobiles.