MASSE QUESTIONS THE GOVERNMENT ON AUTO ISSUES - NEED AN AUTO POLICY NOW

HANSARD – Auto Industry
March 5, 2009

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, yesterday Chrysler announced the elimination of a production shift at the minivan plant in Windsor, effectively slashing 1,200 jobs and costing more supply jobs later on, and 15% of its Canadian workforce in total has gone.
The headlines say it all, “Auto Crisis Deepens”; “More Jobs Slashed”; “Belligerent Manufacturing Sector”. Yet our minister is on TV from Washington saying he is “Trying to find a way to be helpful”.
Let me help him out. The answer is a national auto strategy, something promised but never delivered.
When will the government wake up and protect the interests of Canadian auto-workers?

Mr. Mike Lake (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, CPC): Mr. Speaker, obviously when Canadians lose their jobs, Canadian families are affected, and our thoughts are with them.
I do want to just point out that yesterday the hon. member and I sat on a committee and listened to various witnesses talk about the crucial importance, the most critical thing is to pass the budget to get the secured credit facility in place, the $12 billion to get the receivables insurance. We heard the parts manufacturers talk about the receivables insurance. It is so important.
I would remind the hon. member that he actually voted against that budget. Not only did he vote against the budget, but his party delayed it at every opportunity.

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the parliamentary secretary's revisionist theory. It was the Minister of Industry who said that the money for the auto sector was available in December. The contradiction is there. It is clear and present. They do not want to act and that is the problem.
That answer is not good enough for the thousands of families in Windsor and Essex County that are relying on an auto strategy. The crisis is deepening. It is not good enough for those in Oshawa who, like GM's own auditors, are worried about the future of viability. These communities will never be the same. The government is overseeing the death of the auto sector in Canada and it is killing the communities that rely upon it.
When will the government stop playing the role of pallbearer and act to protect the interests of auto workers across this country?

Mr. Mike Lake (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, CPC): Mr. Speaker, again, we heard several things that were important during the committee yesterday. One of the quotes that came out of that committee was from the Canadian Auto Dealers Association, who said:
We've been impressed with the fact that finance is absolutely seized with trying to get this program rolling as fast as possible. They seem seized in a very real way, more than I have ever seen before from finance officials about trying to get this secure credit facility out in the marketplace.