NDP demands auto policy in wake of Ford closures

Layton, Masse and Comartin pressure government to keep commitments to Canadian auto workers

THUNDER BAY – Today, after Ford Motor Company of Canada made further announcements about job cuts in Canada, NDP Leader Jack Layton once again called upon Prime Minister Stephen Harper to bring forward a Canadian auto policy.

“This government must immediately bring in a comprehensive automotive industry strategy. Canada must become world leaders in producing fuel-efficient green cars. To protect Canadian jobs we must get serious about a plan for this sector,” said Layton.

Brian Masse, NDP Industry critic, also demanded an auto strategy.

"After another round of cuts in auto jobs, it is unacceptable for this country to simply have a ‘wait and see’ attitude. The Harper Administration owes Canadians a national auto policy," said Masse. Mr. Masse also noted that Cabinet Minister David Emerson promised the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology a national auto strategy on a number of occasions during the last session of parliament.

"I don't care if Emerson is a Liberal or Conservative. When Prime Minister Harper brought him to his caucus he said it was because of his Ministerial work. We know Emerson has continued to sell out Canada on softwood lumber, so why has he not tabled a completed auto policy that we know was under development and in it’s final stages?” stated Mr. Masse.

Today, Ford Motor Company announced it will close a major assembly operation in St. Thomas and the Essex Engine Plant in Windsor – eliminating over a thousand more auto jobs in Canada. These closures also do not account for the parts spin off plant jobs that supply these major operations. Since 2002, Ford of Canada has closed five plants here and with the Casting Plant in Windsor slated to close next year, it will be six.

Joe Comartin, Member of Parliament (Windsor Tecumseh) further stated, "These cuts will tear at the entire socio-economic fabric of the Windsor-Essex community and have a devastating impact on our workers and their families.”

Mr. Masse further expressed concerns about the auto industry and job losses in manufacturing in Canada. He stated, "Adding insult to injury, Minister Emerson is continuing negotiations with a free trade deal with Korea, despite the Industry department admitting it was being offered up as the enticement. The manufacturing industry is not a sacrificial lamb. These are real jobs, real families, and real communities that are affected."