Ontario Premier Doug Ford says years of Liberal policies are to blame for General Motors’ decision to close its plant in Oshawa, Ont.
“GM didn’t make this decision overnight,” Ford told reporters at Queen’s Park on Wednesday. “They didn’t make it six months ago. It is the result of years of governments that just don’t care about job creators, or how hard it is to run a business or create a job.”
The premier singled out Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — just two days after saying he wouldn’t point the finger at the federal government.
“You can’t campaign for a job-killing carbon tax on Monday, and sit around and wonder why manufacturing and automotive jobs are leaving on Tuesday,” Ford said, referencing Trudeau’s trademark environmental policy.
“You can be for manufacturing jobs, or you can be for the carbon tax. But you can’t be for both.”
Watch Premier Ford’s initial comments on the closure:
Almost 3,000 people are expected to lose their jobs and an estimated $300 million will be sucked out of Ontario’s economy when the plant shuts down a year from now.
“There is no one in this entire country, including [union leader] Jerry Dias, including the prime minister, including the NDP leader, that has talked to more GM workers than I have,” Ford said. “I’m the only one that’s fighting for them as all the others talk, talk, talk.”
On Monday, Trudeau told the House of Commons that he will be collaborating with Ford to support workers in Oshawa and the surrounding region.
“We will be working together on this one in a way that is not political because we know that being there to support the workers in the region is what people expect of all of their orders of government,” the prime minister said.
GM shifts to electric
The plant closure is part of a broad restructuring, GM said in a statement on Monday. The company will shift its focus to building cars that are electric or self-driving.
During question period on Wednesday, Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner asked the government to create a strategy to attract electric-vehicle producers to the province.
“We should be leading the [electric vehicle] revolution, not losing jobs to it,” Schreiner said in a statement. “The world is changing and Ontario needs to plan for it.”
Sales of electric cars were soaring in Ontario when Ford’s government cancelled a rebate program for buyers in July.
The incentive programs were funded by the former Liberal government’s cap-and-trade pollution price. Companies had a cap on the amount of pollution they could emit, and had to buy credits in order to exceed that cap. The money was used to fund environmental programs like the electric vehicle rebate.
More from HuffPost Canada:
Scrapping cap-and-trade was one of Ford’s key campaign promises. His Progressive Conservative government moved to repeal the scheme just days after taking office. Ford says that companies were passing the extra costs onto consumers, making life unaffordable for Ontarians.
Now that Ontario doesn’t have its own price on pollution, Trudeau’s federal government will impose one on the province on Jan. 1, 2019.
Cap-and-trade would have been much cheaper for consumers than the federal carbon tax in the long-run, an analysis by Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office found.
Ford has promised a plan to fight climate change that does not include a price on pollution. Environment Minister Rod Phillips is scheduled to unveil it on Thursday.