Local MP renews call for national auto strategy

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A local MP is renewing his call for a national auto strategy after Stellantis announced a move that will eliminate thousands of jobs in Windsor-Essex.

Windsor-West MP Brian Masse says Ottawa needs to create a plan to ensure the supply chain never fails again.

"We haven't had a Greenfield plant in decades, and on top of that, we've been fighting for product in recent years," he says. "The workforce has never been the problem; the workforce has always been the solution."

On Friday, the company announced it's dropping Windsor Assembly Plant to one shift in April of 2022. 

That means 1,800 people will be laid off at the plant, but that total could hit up to 4,000 with lost jobs at feeder plants, according to Unifor.

Stellantis says the ongoing semiconductor shortage and lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the move.

The New Democrat says Windsor-Essex is somehow in crisis with a skilled workforce and a well-established product.

"The reality is, without a national auto strategy Canada will become second fiddle or even third fiddle to Mexico, the United States, in our North American Trade agreement and also in the world where we have not put forth the support for the auto industry that's necessary," he added.

Masse says Ottawa needs to go on the offense rather than reacting to a crisis that's already underway.

"That's the reality. That's what Detroit did," he says. "Detroit went on the offense on auto and rehabilitated their industry over there, over here, things are quite different. I don't understand how many more jobs we have to lose just because we're not willing to do the work."

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens issued a statement Saturday, saying he will be "ramping up" his fight for Windsor's automotive sector.

He says he "met with federal government officials about the need to invest in the future of the automotive sector in our region, including supporting the transition to electric vehicle manufacturing" last week.

Dilkens says he was "pleased with the level of engagement and their understanding of the importance of our Windsor Works economic diversification strategy."