QUEEN’S PARK – As workers and families continue to reel from the news that General Motors will close its Oshawa plant next year, NDP MPPs Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) and Lisa Gretzky (Windsor West) said the province’s refusal to create an auto and manufacturing strategy is a big failure that has their communities worried.
“Auto manufacturing has been the cornerstone of the Niagara region’s economy for over half a century,” Burch said during question period Thursday. “The news that the GM plant in Oshawa could be closed by the end of next year is causing anxiety for all those who rely on the auto sector for their livelihood. Before and after the last election, we wanted to see an auto and manufacturing sector strategy in place. Ontario has been a world leader in the auto industry, and we can do it again — but it won’t happen by accident.”
Not only does the closure in Oshawa raise concern about the future of auto manufacturing in Niagara and Windsor, but Gretzky said that it will impact hundreds of businesses that make parts and supplies for the plant.
“There are over 300 companies in Windsor-Essex that are part of the Oshawa supply chain — mould makers, tool and die, part makers and more,” said Gretzky. “We will be feeling the economic impacts of the Oshawa closure in Windsor.”
Andrea Horwath’s 2018 platform committed to an auto and manufacturing strategy, and now the MPPs say Ford needs one to protect the industry and jobs. So far, instead of joining the fight for auto jobs, Ford’s Conservatives are taking things from bad to worse by giving up without trying.
“On July 18, I asked the Conservatives if they would commit to creating an auto strategy,” said Gretzky. “They refused. How many jobs will Ontario lose before he agrees that something needs to be done?”
“The events of this week illustrate that, now more than ever, Ontario needs a comprehensive auto strategy,” added Burch. “Will this government do the necessary work to develop an auto manufacturing strategy for Ontario to support our most valuable exporting industry?”