Canadian Government Should Buy Military Trucks Built in Canada, CAW Insists



    TORONTO, Jan. 14 /CNW/ - The Canadian government must revisit plans to
buy 1,300 military trucks from Navistar International in the United States,
CAW President Ken Lewenza says.
    Lewenza, in a letter to Defence Minister Peter MacKay, said numerous
truck manufacturers in Canada, including Navistar in Chatham, Paccar in Quebec
and Freightliner in St. Thomas are under threat of closure.
    "If we are going to try and stimulate the economy in Canada and
specifically, where manufacturing is at an all time low and job loss is
unprecedented, your government must recognize how critical it is to ensure
that Canadian tax dollars are spent to put Canadians to work," Lewenza said.
    "It seems the federal government has lost sight that in 2003 they
invested in the Chatham facility, by agreeing to provide over $30 million of
assistance to Navistar to maintain these important jobs in the community and
Ontario," Lewenza said.
    "The workers in these facilities absolutely deserve the support of their
government as we go through these very difficult and challenging times in our
country."
    The Canadian government has awarded a $254 million contract to Navistar
to build the medium duty trucks for the Canadian Forces at its plant in Texas.
    The CAW and other unions have launched a Buy Canadian campaign calling on
governments to buy goods and services from Canadian suppliers wherever
possible. In Quebec, the government recently established a 60 per cent
Canadian content policy for purchases of public transit vehicles.

    The CAW represents workers at Navistar in Chatham, Paccar in Quebec and
Freightliner in St. Thomas, Ontario.

    
    Addendum to release


                                                         January 13, 2009

    The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay,
    Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway
    National Defence Headquarters
    Major-General George R. Pearkes Building
    Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0K2

    Dear Minister,
    

    It is with great disappointment that we see your release of January 9,
concerning the Canadian government purchasing 1300 military trucks from
Navistar International. Canadians would agree that our military should have
the best equipment to deal with their requirements but it is clearly
unacceptable to use Canadian tax dollars to have these vehicles built in the
United States. There are numerous truck manufacturers in Canada today
including Navistar in Chatham, Paccar in Quebec and Freightliner in St.
Thomas, who are under threat of closure. Both the Navistar and Paccar plants
have been severely impacted by the economic downturn and have hundreds of
Canadians on layoff.
    If we are going to try and stimulate the economy in Canada and
specifically, where manufacturing is at an all time low and job loss is
unprecedented, your government must recognize how critical it is to ensure
that Canadian tax dollars are spent to put Canadians to work. It seems the
Federal government has lost sight that in 2003 they invested in the Chatham
facility, by agreeing to provide over $30 million of assistance to Navistar to
maintain these important jobs in the community and Ontario. The same holds
true in Quebec, where the provincial government has been working closely to
ensure that the Paccar facility remains viable.
    On behalf of the Canadian Auto Workers Union, representing over 250,000
members, I urge your government to revisit this decision and provide the
necessary leadership to invest in Canada, by having these vehicles built in
Canada.
    The workers in these facilities absolutely deserve the support of their
government as we go through these very difficult and challenging times in our
country. I would request a meeting at your earliest convenience. I look
forward to an early and positive response.

    
    Yours truly,


    (signed)
    Ken Lewenza
    National President
    Toronto, ON  M2H 3H9

    cc: Michael Ignatieff, Leader of Official Opposition (fax 613-947-0310)
        Hon. Jack Layton, Leader, NDP (fax 613-995-4565)
        Mr. Gilles Duceppe, Leader, Bloc Quebecois (fax 613-954-2121)
        Hon. Josee Verner, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
        (fax 613-945-2269)
        CAW Front Office
        Jean-Pierre Fortin, Director of TCA Quebec
        Dave Elliott, President CAW Local 1001
        Tom Hennigan, Director, Employee Relations, Navistar International
        Dave Beebe, Director of Manufacturing Operations, Navistar
         International
    





For further information:

For further information: Bob Chernecki, assistant to the CAW President,
cell, (416) 543-7084 or John McClyment, CAW Communications, (416) 495-3766

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