Whose fault is it anyway? - Macleans.ca

Whose fault is it anyway?

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The McGuinty and Harper governments blame each other for the situation at Electro-Motive in London.

Ottawa could have prevented the loss of hundreds of jobs at an Ontario locomotive plant if it had acted to modernize Canada’s “outdated” foreign investment laws, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Monday … However, the federal government said a month ago that the takeover was never looked at by Investment Canada because it fell under the $300-million threshold. A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister’s Office said the government sympathizes with the workers, but there was nothing Ottawa could do. “This issue fell entirely within the powers of the McGuinty government, there was no ability for the federal government to intervene,” spokeswoman Sara MacIntyre wrote in an email. That’s not true, McGuinty said. What happened at Electro-Motive wasn’t a labour relations issue, “and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise.”

Whatever the Harper government’s lack of jurisdiction, Conservative MP Ed Holder says he arranged calls between Labour Minister Lisa Raitt and the parties involved.

I helped arrange discussions with the federal Labour Minister between the Company, the Union and the Mayor. These were in an effort to get everyone back to the bargaining table … The calls took place in mid-January.

Ms. Raitt released a statement about the dispute on January 5.

Meanwhile, Mike Moffatt busts the myth that Electro-Motive received a direct subsidy from the Harper government. And the House is spending the day debating the following NDP motion.

That this House condemn the decision of Caterpillar Inc. to close its Electro-Motive Diesel plant in London, Ontario, with a loss of 450 jobs, and that of Papiers White Birch to close its Quebec City plant, with a loss of 600 jobs, and call on the government to table, within 90 days, draft amendments to the Investment Canada Act to ensure that foreign buyers are held to public and enforceable commitments on the ‘net benefit’ to Canada and on the protection of Canadian jobs.