Federal Liberals blast Ontario Tories over looming Bombardier layoffs

Marco Green
July 13, 2019

Looming layoffs at Bombardier's railway auto plant in Thunder Bay are creating a political row between Queens Park and Parliament Hill.

As hundreds of employees at Bombardier's railway manufacturing plant in Thunder Bay, Ont. face the reality of losing their jobs, a war of words has erupted between the provincial and federal governments over exactly who should bear the blame.

"I haven't seen hide nor hair from the federal government", Ford told reporters in Saskatoon. "Where is their money?"

Hajdu, also in a Tweet, laid the blame at the feet of Ontario Premier Doug Ford, saying he told the union "there would be another contract coming".

And she said that while the federal government "has made historic investments in public transit".

"Minister Hajdu would rather play politics, than push her cabinet colleagues to approve a plan that Bombardier can bid on, build cars for, and keep good paying jobs in Thunder Bay", Fedeli said in a statement. According to the company, it's been speaking with both levels of government to warn them about the looming layoffs and the need for more contracts.

Bombardier's layoffs come as two major Ontario contracts, including for TTC streetcars and Metrolinx GO Transit rail cars, are scheduled to conclude by the end of the year.

Last month, Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford said Metrolinx had extended an offer to buy 36 rail cars from Bombardier.

"When you compare that to the American content, it's not enough", said Dominic Pasqualino, president of the union local which represents workers at the Bombardier plant. "And each vehicle represents a family", he said by phone.

Fedeli said the federal government, under Justin Trudeau, has yet to commit to funding the "full federal share" of Ford's $28.5 billion transit expansion project announced in April.

"It should never have come to this", she said in the statement.

Federal insiders said they expected some friction, but a source at one of the first closed-door meetings between the two governments said the Ontario side made it clear they would not be able provide extra help to more quickly move federal infrastructure money.

"I don't want to argue with federal government", Ford said, as he called on Ottawa to "sign the deal and let's get things moving".

On Wednesday, federal Infrastructure Minister François-Philippe Champagne wrote a letter his provincial counterpart Laurie Scott, noting that the province hasn't submitted all of the necessary information to process the request. "Therefore, we can not fully leverage our Canadian manufacturing footprint and expertise", Bombardier said in a statement.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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