Activism Theme At Auto Tariff Open House

"What can we do?"

That was the question many were asking at an open house to discuss to potential impact U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs could have on the local auto industry.

After meeting with area stakeholders Thursday, MPs Tracey Ramsey, Brian Masse and Cheryl Hardcastle hosted the session with residents to talk about the trade war simmering between Canada and the U.S.

Hardcastle says activism was the underlying theme of the meeting.

"Whatever is needed by the public in general in order to advocate for businesses and for workers and for fairness and all that stuff, they want to know what they can do to help. They just wanted to be here to be in the loop. They want to be informed and they want to know, how do we help?"

She says Windsor-Essex is not a region that sits back and does nothing.

"They're asking us, "What can we do?". Typical coming through for each other right? They want to know the kinds of initiatives that they should be taking on. A lot of people have gone through the 2008 economic crisis that we experienced in this area and they want to know that we have some resiliency."

Former auto worker Ian McMahon was at the meeting and says it's time to stand up and fight.

"Don't sit at home and think that this is going to go away because Trump is in charge over there. It's your family, it's your friends, your uncles, your aunts that are involved in this community and are potentially going to be devastated. So it's not time to sit on your butts at home. It's time to speak up."

He says effects are already being felt and are going to get worse.

"My fear is that the auto tariff issue will force the companies in Canada to get their branch plants and just go to the States. The personality clash between Trudeau and Trump, that is not helping things. We have the most complex trade relationship in the world. I just want cooler heads."

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Windsor-West MP Brian Masse, Windsor-Tecumseh MP Cheryl Hardcastle, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey, Ciociaro Club, July 12, 2018 (by AM800's Peter Langille)

Hardcastle adds it's all about getting the word out.

"This is a start. You have to have events like this to get people civically engaged and to make sure that we're all enlightened by the background stories. Make the MPs aware, that's what empowers us to be those effective voices too."

The local MPs still want to hear from businesses, companies and workers being hurt by the Canada-U.S. trade dispute.

Feedback can be submitted at www.traceyramsey.ndp.ca.