Windsor-Tecumseh MP Cheryl Hardcastle speaks as from left, Windsor West MP Brian Masse, Unifor Local 444's Mark Bartlett, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey and Unifor Local 444 president Dave Cassidy listen during a rally outside the Chrysler Windsor Assembly Plant, March 22, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

MPs, workers rally for electric vehicle incentives

The three Windsor-Essex members of Parliament want the majority Liberals to include a Windsor-made vehicle on their list of vehicles eligible for an incentive.

After a marathon session this week in Ottawa debating the 2019 federal budget, Windsor West MP Brian Masse, Windsor-Tecumseh’s Cheryl Hardcastle and Essex’s Tracey Ramsey worked their way back to Windsor to participate in a rally Friday by Chrysler auto workers, asking the government to put the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid model on the list of vehicles eligible for a $5,000 rebate.

Under the current federal budget, a new vehicle purchase incentive for an electric battery or a hydrogen fuel cell would apply to any vehicle with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of below $45,000.

The only Canadian-built vehicle that could be considered, the Pacifica Hybrid, has a starting MRSP of less than $52,000, according to the Chrysler Canada website.

Standing on the bed of a pickup truck outside the Windsor Assembly Plant, Unifor Local 444 President Dave Cassidy said it was not necessary for the Liberals to look outside of Canada for vehicles that fall under this rebate.

“When they were starting to put this incentive together, they should have started where the world-class manufacturing vehicle is,” said Cassidy, referring to the Pacifica.

Hardcastle told the crowd that she was happy with the turnout by union members, and their participation was just the beginning.

“We need a strategy, and this is just the height of the example of where we need to go,” said Hardcastle. “We need all of our voices heard.”

The three MPs encouraged the workers to contact Minister of Finance Bill Morneau and to sign an online petition.