THUNDER BAY – It is news not entirely shocking. The announced layoffs at the Bombardier manufacturing facility in Thunder Bay were coming as the contracts with the Toronto Transit Commission were ending. However the social and economic impact on Thunder Bay is going to be harsh.
The New Democrats are demanding that the Ontario government step in or step up.
As workers and families reel from the news that Bombardier plans to issue hundreds of lay-off notices at its Thunder Bay plant, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and MPP Judith Monteith-Farrell (Thunder Bay-Atikokan) are urging the province to get in gear and take action, rather than just letting the jobs go.
“Our hearts are with the workers and families who are hearing about job losses, and are now left to worry about whether they’ll be able to make ends meet in the months ahead,” said Horwath. “This time, the province needs to fight for these jobs tooth and nail.
“It should never have come to this. The alarm has been sounding for a while on the need to tender contracts for the rolling stock Ontario needs.”
“This Bombardier plant is the cornerstone of Thunder Bay’s economy. The news that hundreds of workers will lose their jobs is causing anxiety across the region,” said Monteith-Farrell. “If you want good jobs, you have to go to bat for them. So far, this government has dropped the ball.”
As calls for Buy Ontario policies grow louder, Monteith-Farrell said that unless the Ford government takes decisive action right away, the province is in danger of losing its capacity to build transit vehicles.
Due to legislation mandating American content, at rates of up to 70 per cent, the Bombardier plant in Thunder Bay is precluded from bidding on or working on many contracts for American rail car orders.
“How many jobs will Ontario lose before Doug Ford agrees that something needs to be done?” Monteith-Farrell asked, pointing out that parts and supplier businesses across the province will be impacted, too.
Since the Ford government took office, Windsor and Oshawa have also been hit by mass layoffs. The NDP has been fighting for a manufacturing strategy, as well as an auto strategy as part of a plan to stop losses in manufacturing and auto.