TORONTO, March 21, 2013 /CNW/ - Billions in new federal supports for
Canadian industry is a partial, but important, step forward in
assisting the country's embattled manufacturing sector, said CAW
President Ken Lewenza, in response to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's
budget released today.
In his budget, Minister Flaherty outlined the federal government's
allocation of over $3 billion, to fund strategic developments in
Canada's aerospace and forestry sectors, as well as keeping up with
incentives to encourage re-investment in machinery (through capital
cost write-downs) and advanced manufacturing.
"The future of Canadian prosperity is tied to a vibrant manufacturing
sector," Lewenza said. "These funding announcements are crucial, but
they also have to be tied to a full-fledged national manufacturing
strategy to be effective. We have to get our factories retooled and our
hard-hit communities back to work."
Lewenza said a comprehensive, national manufacturing strategy would
consider the re-investment of public funds back into Canadian industry,
through a targeted public procurement strategy that would include
everything from transportation vehicles and equipment to new
technologies. A sector strategy would also include increasing
manufacturing content in Canadian resource development projects, as
well as steps to address Canada's growing trade imbalance in
manufactured goods, by tackling the over-valued dollar and lopsided
"Over half a million manufacturing jobs have been wiped out over the
past six years, and that coincides with our skyrocketing trade deficit
that topped $100 billion in 2012," Lewenza said. "The federal
government has to unite with other stakeholders, including the
provinces, business and labour to address these deep-seated, structural
challenges, or this critical sector simply can't survive."
Lewenza also criticized the government for its refusal to undo the
damaging reforms levied on Canada's unemployment insurance program, as
well as Old Age Security. Lewenza also said the recycled job grant
funding, much of which will likely be siphoned off to fly-by-night,
private training consultants, is not an adequate national skills
"We need a more thorough, and measured approach to start tackling
unemployment in this country and the steady growth of insecure jobs -
especially for young people."
The CAW is Canada's largest industrial union, representing 193,000
workers in Canada - approximately 80,000 in the manufacturing sector.
SOURCE: Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)
For further information:
CAW Communications: Angelo DiCaro (416) 606-6311 or Shannon Devine (416) 302-1699