Union Protesters Slam Harper (Gallery)

Protesters gather outside the Waterfront Hotel in downtown Windsor during Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to the city, May 13, 2015. (Photo by Jason Viau)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a very quiet and brief appearance before the media Wednesday, followed by a closed-door meeting about local auto manufacturing.

“Obviously a very important industry not just for this region, but for this country. As you know, we’ve been doing much over the past few years to try and work and develop the industry,” says Harper. “Obviously the biggest single action is the things we had to do during the great global crash to save a big chunk of the industry in this country.”

Outside of the meeting, it was a very different story as dozens of protesters gathered from various unions. Unifor Local 200 chairperson DJ Lacey says he’s frustrated with the Harper government. “We just gave $500-million to a company, Volkswagen, to produce vehicles and put investment into its plants when the government just turned down $800-million to bring 1,000 jobs to Windsor,” Lacey says.

Even though Stephen Harper is here to discuss auto manufacturing, Lacey says that’s not enough. “Obviously it’s an election ploy. Where has he been for the last six years? He hasn’t been down here to announce anything like that,” he says.

But Harper says his government has been doing a lot for the auto manufacturing sector since the recession. “Some of the trade deals, including the one with Europe, which we are already seeing having some positive advantages for the industry,” he says. “And of course the most recent budget announced a new automotive supplier innovation program.”

Harper is expected to make an announcement about the new bridge Thursday morning just after 9:30am. BlackburnNews.com will be live tweeting from the event.