Ontario Helps General Motors Restructure
I want to begin by thanking the Prime Minister for a strong, personal commitment to the future of the auto sector in Ontario.
We live in what Shakespeare might have called "a scrambling and unquiet time".
This is a time of great challenge for Canadians -- a time that demands great co-operation between our two governments. I want to express my appreciation to the federal government for the co-operation and collaboration that has characterized our work together to help families who earn their living in the auto sector.
I would also like to thank Ken Lewenza and our CAW workers. Working together, you've reached an unprecedented agreement in keeping with our unprecedented times. It wasn't easy and you, too, delivered.
In recent months, there has been a lot of anxiety around the kitchen tables of families working in the auto sector -- whether those moms and dads work in assembly plants, parts manufacturing, dealerships, or in any of the over 400,000 jobs dependent upon the making of cars and trucks in Ontario.
We are here today to put GM on a sound footing, to build a base for growth and prosperity in Canada and to give all those families reason to be hopeful.
As a committed partner in a North American plan to restructure the business, Ontario is investing $3.5 billion in the future of GM. This will secure for us 16 per cent of North American production.
It will support the continuing operation of our assembly plants in Oshawa, St. Catharines and Ingersoll and the production of five new models in Ontario, including at least one new hybrid model.
I am confident that the dramatic and painful changes GM is making will result in a much leaner, much healthier and much more competitive business in Ontario. These changes give us good reason to be optimistic for the thousands and thousands of families working in our auto sector.
The investment we are making today, on behalf of Ontario taxpayers, is extraordinary -- both in terms of the circumstances that call for it and the amount required. While we anticipated significant support for the auto sector in our Budget, today's announcement exceeds that.
I have spoken with Finance Minister Duncan who will, later today, update Ontarians on the implications to our budget. We are moving today to strengthen GM after carefully considering the alternative.
That alternative would be for the Obama administration to move to restore GM and secure GM jobs in the U.S. Had we taken that path, there is no doubt in my mind that America would not have, for long, tolerated Canadian production of GM vehicles and parts for sale in the U.S.
Without the support we are extending today from the Canadian and Ontario governments, GM's Canadian production would quickly move to the U.S.
Without Canadian money in the game, we would be out of the game. And it's not only GM assembly line workers who would be out of work. GM purchases over $8 billion worth of parts every year from more than 200 Ontario parts suppliers, which employ close to 45,000 Ontarians.
Almost all of GM's suppliers also supply our four other car and truck manufacturers: Toyota, Honda, Ford and Chrysler.
All of these suppliers would be weakened by the loss of GM. Many would fail, which in turn, would threaten the four other auto manufacturers.
This is truly a fully integrated industry. In 2008, GM contributed $2.7 billion to the Ontario GDP. GM is the single largest employer in St. Catharines, Oshawa, and Ingersoll. The parts suppliers GM buys from are located across southern Ontario in communities from Peterborough to Belleville to Windsor. And, of course, GM dealerships are located throughout Ontario and Canada.
In short, the alternative to the announcement we are making today, would be a devastating blow to Ontario families and communities. The choice our government is making today is not an easy one -- but it is the right one.
We are choosing to save thousands of jobs, to save entire communities from financial failure, and to lend shape to a much leaner and much more competitive General Motors.
We have chosen a brighter future for our families.