General Motors in Detroit. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle.)

Liberals urged not to purchase GM vehicles

Several NDP MPs joined Unifor Local presidents and General Motors retirees in Windsor on Monday to stand in solidarity with the GM workers in Oshawa.

Cheryl Hardcastle, Brian Masse and Tracey Ramsey were all in attendance and urged members of the Liberal government not to buy GM vehicles made in Mexico for government vehicular fleet procurement.

“The Liberal government must step in and commit to doing what it takes to keep these jobs in Canada. A first step can be to ensure that the $320 million worth in GM cars purchased by the federal government, be only those made in Canada,” said Hardcastle.

In November 2018, General Motors announced their plan to close the Oshawa plant as part of a global restructuring leaving around 2,500 employees out of work.

The MPs called the decision a complete betrayal, referencing the $11 billion in tax dollars that were loaned to GM when they were close to bankruptcy a decade ago. Ramsey took a swipe at the Liberal government’s actions since the announcement.

“From the first announcement of the GM Oshawa closure, the Liberal government has provided no leadership, no plan and no help for the workers or for the 23,000 people affected in Oshawa. It is unacceptable. Today, the NDP is putting forward concrete, actionable steps and is taking a stand,” said Ramsey. “I know from personal experience how hard this situation is for people, and it’s shameful to see the Trudeau Liberal government give up without even trying.”

Masse also criticised  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying he was siding with corporate greed rather than siding with Canadians.

“Canadians deserve a government that is willing to stand up and fight for their jobs and their interests,” he said. “They need someone who has their back.”

The meeting between the three MPs and Unifor is one of several steps the union has taken to fight back against GM’s decision. Earlier in the month, GM issued legal action after Unifor aired a commercial during the Superbowl which blasted the vehicle manufacturer for increasing production in Mexico.