Local Labour Leader Concerned At Lack Of Auto News In Budget

The President of the Windsor and District Labour Council feels the latest federal budget takes some steps forward, but is worried by what it's missing.

Brian Hogan applauds the Liberal government's creation of an advisory panel that will look into a national pharmacare program as a step in the right direction. Hogan also likes the budget's aims of increasing participation of women in the workforce through a number of measures including pay equity legislation and up to five weeks of leave for new fathers.

Despite those moves Hogan likes, the labour leader is scratching his head looking for money supporting the auto and manufacturing sector.

Hogan feels there isn't nearly enough support for the sector in the budget.

"No news on manufacturing or auto, specifically auto, and you add the fact that this TPP doesn't look good for auto that's certainly very troubling," says Hogan.

The Liberals were able to form government on a message targeting the middle class, but Hogan says without proper support for auto and manufacturing jobs they're falling short.

"Doesn't matter what class you are, in the Windsor-Essex area if we don't have that manufacturing — in all across Ontario — then we're all going in the wrong direction."

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Windsor and District Labour Council President Brian Hogan (Photo by AM800's Peter Langille)

Hogan sees two sides to the budget.

"On the two topics — the pharmacare, a great sign that they're moving in the right direction, and certainly for pay equity, well over due; that's definitely an 'A'," says Hogan. "Very concerned about income equality and very concerned about this region about auto manufacturing jobs so that certainly would be on the failing grade."

As part of the effort to get more women in the workforce, $3-million over five years has been earmarked to help close the wage gap among federal and federally regulated workers along with $1.2-billion over five years to allow new fathers to have up to five weeks off from work.

The federal budget projects an $18.1-billion deficit with no timeline for getting back to a balanced budget.