Windsor-Tecumseh Conservative candidate Robert de Verteuil says part of the solution to Windsor's jobless rate lies in Detroit.

"There are thousands of automotive skilled trades jobs in Detroit right now," de Verteuil said Thursday on CBC Windsor's Early Shift. "When you live in Windsor and work in Detroit you bring all the money back here. We can bring hundreds of millions a year back here while training our workers.

"I hate when other parties think that Windsor ends at the Detroit River. This region encompasses Detroit and it could be the centre of automotive [research and development] if we let it."

Earlier this week, de Verteuil released an automotive strategy for the Windsor region. He claims it will create up to 10,000 new jobs.

The plan is to be executed in four stages:

  1. Education, with an emphasis on skilled trades and the kind of engineers and scientists that industry demands.
  2. Detroit, where Ontario graduates can live in Windsor and work in Detroit under existing NAFTA rules and bring $500 million to $1 billion per year in wages to Windsor.
  3. Set the stage in Windsor, where he claims his party will lower business taxes and cut red tape to allow our companies to thrive and compete.
  4. Build the next generation of auto companies in Windsor-Tecumseh, where there are flexible, innovative, high-tech, and skilled labour and an integrated supply chain.

"The future of automotive is skilled labour. The future of automotive is engineers and technologists. We need to build on what’s going on in Detroit," de Verteuil said. "Once we establish that environment we can compete globally."

He and PC Leader Tim Hudak were at Valiant Global Manufacturing on Thursday, campaigning.

Political science professor Cheryl Collier called the plan "curious."

"It makes you wonder if they’re trying to focus on the area with any real investment in the area," she said of the PCs and auto sector. "If you’re actually asking Windsorites to look for a job in Detroit and learn research and development over there, maybe he’s hoping they will start a new business on this side of the border."

Ontario Liberal Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi was also in Windsor on Thursday, campaigning with Jeewen Gill after meeting with labour leaders behind closed doors.

Naqvi said his Liberals need to "work closely with the auto sector" but offered no clear plan or platform.

"The automotive sector, we should recognize, is a huge part of Windsor’s economy. We need to work hard to protect those jobs," Naqvi said on CBC Windsor's Early Shift. "It’s important that we have a stable and strong working relationship with unions in Windsor. I want to make sure that type of relationship continues."

Hudak, meanwhile, refused to isolate the union vote. Instead, he said there are only votes — period.

"Windsor’s a hard working town whether union or non-union. I really distinguish between the union bosses and frontline workers, those that pay the union bosses' salaries," he said. "We’re at Valiant today to match up people who are out of work with jobs."

Naqvi was also in town to tout the Liberals' youth employment policy.

"We’re investing $295 million in a youth jobs strategy. It’s a big issue we need to discuss," he said.

Naqvi admitted, "the economy is changing."

"Building a knowledge-based economy is a very important part," he said.