Windsor West candidates tout plans for auto industry

Windsor West candidates in the federal election went head-to-head again Friday, this time over their respective party’s plans for the auto industry.

New Democrat candidate Brian Masse was surrounded by Unifor members out front of Windsor’s Nemak Plant, which was idled in 2020 after the company moved its product to Mexico.

“This was an example of government money, your taxpayer money that went to produce innovation that eventually left this plant and created jobs elsewhere,” Masse said.

In 2017, the federal government gave Nemak $3 million of funding to retain jobs in lightweight manufacturing. But when profits dipped, the company pulled out.

Masse promises that won’t happen with NDP representation.

“We’re going to tie any type of work that we’re going to support with regards to large corporations, with job numbers and also surrender documents, and patents for innovation,” he said.

Masse also touted his party’s plans to give $15,000 per family for buying made-in-Canada electric vehicles.

Masse says jobs must also be protected as employment insurance for idled workers begins to run dry.

“It shouldn’t have to be on bended knee to try to fit itself to the current situation,” said Masse. “We have to adapt Employment Insurance to work for Canadians.”

Meantime, Liberal candidate Sandra Pupatello was out front of Windsor Assembly Plant, indicating she’s ready to go to battle for local jobs.

“In the next term of the government, this plants going to need new product,” Pupatello warned. “Who’s going to be there to fight?”

The longtime former MPP stressed her background in politics fighting for industry bail-outs, which she says Conservatives refer to as “corporate welfare.”

She also plugged her party’s $8 billion ‘net-zero accelerator fund’ to attract investment in zero emission vehicles and battery plants.

“It means all of the pieces that will be put in the car. And battery is going to be critical,” she said.

Pupatello also promises rebates up to $5,000 for buying an electric vehicle and a commitment to build 50,000 more EV charging stations across the nation.

“We’re looking for our economy to have that reboot that it needs. And here in Windsor our auto industry matters,” Pupatello said.

“I’m asking the people of Windsor West to choose the candidate with experience. Experience in government and experience delivering new product for this area.”

Anthony Orlando is running for the Conservative Party of Canada in Windsor West.

The federal election is slated for Sept. 20, 2021.