VIDEO: Wilson Questions Premier on GM Job Losses
(March 24, 2015) Today in the Ontario Legislature, Simcoe-Grey MPP and Interim Leader of the Official Opposition Jim Wilson questioned the Premier over what the government is doing to prevent the loss of 3,700 jobs at the General Motors Oshawa facility. The automaker is already scheduled to close one of two assembly plants by next year and the President of GM has publically said that they are not deciding on any new investments until 2016. You can view the text of his comments from Ontario Hansard below,
Ontario Hansard - March 24th, 2015
Mr. Jim Wilson: My question is for the Premier. Premier, as you know, as of last week, General Motors confirmed that the Camaro will no longer be built in Oshawa. Ontario lost out to Lansing, Michigan, just across the border. In response, all we've ...
... will no longer be built in Oshawa. Ontario lost out to Lansing, Michigan just across the border. In response, all we've heard from your Minister of Economic Development are talking points about optimism. Premier, optimism alone doesn't secure jobs.
Can you tell us what your plan is to keep GM in Oshawa?
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I know the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure is going to want to speak to this, but I would say, first of all, we're not going to apologize for being optimistic about the economy in Ontario. We are optimistic. We know that the fact that our government has invested over $850,000 in the auto sector has leveraged $11 billion in private sector investment. That's a very, very good thing. Since the summer, Ontario has seen nearly $4 billion in new auto investments.
What's happening is that the decisions we made in terms of the auto sector—decisions that the party opposite did not support—have actually born fruit. The auto sector is recovering and we are very much a part of that recovery.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?
Mr. Jim Wilson: Back to the Premier. Premier, I am a little baffled by that response. Maybe you haven't got it straight.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Deputy House leader, come to order.
Mr. Jim Wilson: Some 3,700 jobs hang in the balance.
Your economy is doing so well you lost the Camaro. You didn't win a new contract with GM; it went right across the border to Lansing, Michigan. I wouldn't be bragging about the economy, and I wouldn't be babbling on about the past either. Some 3,700 people—workers at GM—are looking for an answer about their futures and their future job prospects. I will give you an opportunity again.
What concrete steps are you taking, other than being optimistic—what concrete steps are you taking to secure those jobs in Oshawa?
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: As the member opposite full knows, this is not a new decision. Obviously, we're concerned when there is job loss. Every time there is a job loss in Ontario we're concerned about that. But we're also pleased and optimistic when there are job gains.
March this year, partnership with Toyota Boshoku Canada to expand the Elmira manufacturing plant which will create and sustain over 450 jobs; February 2015—just last month—Ford Oakville: 400 new jobs for the Edge facility; and last month as well, GM—the same company that the member opposite is talking about—$560 million for the Ingersoll facility which will sustain 3,000 jobs.
I think we do have to look at the overall auto sector story in Ontario, and it is a good one.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary?
Mr. Jim Wilson: Back to the Premier. As you know, the GM commitments that were made during the bailout are set to expire in the next few months, right as production at the Oshawa plant comes to an end. GM hasn't committed to staying in Oshawa and, by your answers today, you're not committing to stay in Oshawa, but I will give you a chance to do so.
Have you given up on Oshawa, or can you promise that they will be there for many years to come?
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Premier?
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minster of Economic Development.
Hon. Brad Duguid: Unlike the member opposite and his party, this government has been there to support the auto sector every step of the way. We're talking about a party that during the depths of the recession wanted to completely kiss-off the auto sector. The quote from them is, "Let those plants close." They would have cost us 500,000 jobs across this province.
We're working hard with GM. We're working hard with our partners in labour. We're going to do everything we can to land a future mandate in Oshawa. We're optimistic and we won't apologize for that. After $4 billion of investment in this province since November, our auto sector is going in the right direction because we supported them during the recession. Thank God we didn't take your advice, which would have cost us 500,000 jobs directly—
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Stop the clock, please. Be seated, please.