Global Financial Chaos Underpins Need to Protect Ontario Jobs, CAW President Says

September 23, 2011, 12:00 PM EST

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Dramatic deterioration in financial markets and slowing global growth make it all the more essential that Ontario's next government be pro-active in attracting and protecting new jobs for the province, says CAW National President Ken Lewenza.

"With the onset of another episode of financial chaos, it is all the more important for government to be in the trenches, fighting to create and protect Ontario jobs - rather than just sitting back and expecting tax cuts to do the trick," Lewenza said.

Lewenza welcomed today's Liberal platform commitment to create a new economic development fund for southwestern Ontario, to support investment and job-creation in the hard-hit region.  "Every new investment we can win in this region is critical for working families and our communities. This fund will help to cement new projects and jobs."

He also pointed to other positive job-creating initiatives being debated in the campaign, such as the domestic content provisions of the Green Energy Act, and the NDP's proposal for made-in-Ontario processing of mineral resources (which would support jobs in provincial mills and smelters).  "Recent events have shown that this economic crisis cannot be resolved, without a larger and more pro-active economic role for government.  We need active leadership and participation from the public sector to stabilize our economy and our jobs."

"In contrast, the Conservative platform seems to believe that cutting taxes and eliminating 'red tape' will capture all the new investment we need," Lewenza added.  "That's misguided at the best of times, but downright dangerous during a downturn."  Tax cuts have little stimulative power during a recession, because companies and households save their extra disposable income rather than re-spending it.

Lewenza also highlighted a little-noticed plank in the Conservative election platform, which promises to end all government subsidies for private business investment.  "Mr. Hudak's position would take government out of the game altogether, in terms of cementing the investment deals we must win."

"Mr. Hudak's approach puts ideology before economics," Lewenza warned.  "If this policy were actually implemented, Ontario would never win another major capital investment by a major automaker.  That would be a disaster for every auto-dependent community in the province."  Aerospace, biotech, and green energy are other key sectors where government participation in major investments is routine.

"The international reality is that governments have to be at the table, or else these investments don't happen," Lewenza concluded.

The CAW represents about 125,000 members in Ontario.  Additional CAW Ontario election-related materials and statements can be accessed at:

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