PORT ELGIN, ON, June 12, 2012 /CNW/ - CAW President Ken Lewenza sent the
following letter June 12 to Prime Minister Stephen Harper regarding his
government's short-sighted decision to award a $1.25 billion Department
of National Defence contract to a U.S. firm.
Here is the full text of Lewenza's letter to Harper:
"I am writing to voice my frustration and disbelief at your government's
recent decision to award a $1.25 billion Department of National Defence
contract to a U.S. firm. This decision can only be described as
short-sighted and damaging for the city of London and the national
The contract for at least 500 tactical armoured patrol vehicles could
last for 25 years, securing work and jobs well into the future. As you
may know, London Machinery Inc. also made a bid for the contract -
along with a supporting bid by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada,
which builds armoured military vehicles in London. If London Machinery
Inc, combined with General Dynamics would have been awarded the
contract, it would have secured work for decades.
Instead though, the work went to the Canadian division of the U.S.
Company Textron Systems, where the work will largely be done in
Louisiana. While the contract does require Textron to invest in Canada
through the use of domestic goods and services, the economic spin-off
will be far less than if the contract was awarded to a firm who would
build the vehicles in Canada.
London North Centre MP Susan Truppe was quoted in the London Free Press
as saying the government "had to do what is right for Canadian
taxpayers and the military - we have to keep them safe." I fail to
understand how sending $1.25 billion dollars of public funds to the
United States in defence contracts can be classified as "doing what is
right for Canadian taxpayers."
Ms. Truppe went on to say that, "It was a fair and open competition and
I am disappointed it did not go to a London company because it would
have employed more."
Prime Minister, your government has again demonstrated its disregard for
Canadian workers and local communities. Repeatedly, your government
triumphs a commitment to 'taxpayers,' which incredibly, precludes
Canadian workers. I do wonder who exactly does your government
classify as a taxpayer?
The community of London has been ravaged by closure after closure - Ford
St. Thomas Assembly Plant, Sterling Truck, Electro-Motive Diesel, -
putting thousands of people into unemployment. The unemployment rate
is now 8.3 and shows little sign of improving.
The federal government must prioritize domestic economic development and
cease awarding lucrative public contracts to firms which will send jobs
out of the country. As the Government of Canada, that in fact is your
In addition, Lewenza also sent letters to Ontario Premier Dalton
McGuinty and London Mayor Joe Fontana, with copies to Ontario Minister
of Economic Development and Innovation Brad Duguid; London North Centre
MP Susan Truppe and London City Councillors.
SOURCE Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)
For further information:
CAW Communications, Shannon Devine, cell, 416-302-1699 or John McClyment, cell, 416-315-3202.