Windsor Ford workers push for auto strategy in Ottawa

Two auto workers from Windsor were in Ottawa Monday to present a petition pushing for a national auto strategy.
Windsor Ford workers, Heather MacDonald-Ellis and Jessica John, collected 9000 signatures to for a petition calling for a national auto strategy. (Aadel Haleem/CBC)

Two auto workers from Windsor were in Ottawa Monday to present a petition pushing for an national auto strategy a day before the release of the 2015 federal budget.

Jessica John and Heather MacDonald-Ellis gave the petition, with more than 9,000 signatures, to NDP MP Brian Masse, who presented it to the House of Commons. 

The long-time Ford workers started collecting signatures last fall after they said Windsor lost a potential investment. 

"Mexico's automotive manufacturing has more than doubled in the past decade and in the past two years alone, eight automakers have announced either expansion or new creations of jobs and plants there and we're losing our footing," said MacDonald-Ellis. "We only have 15 per cent and we're going to lose that if we don't get a strategy in place."

They also said half of the $100 million investment in the 2015 budget to support Canadian automotive parts suppliers over the next five years is not new money. 

John said $50 million comes from an already existing Automotive Innovation Fund.

"It's a headline and placation," said John. "It's $50 million…which is good for parts suppliers, but if the people at the top are doing good, parts suppliers will do good. If the parts suppliers are doing good and the companies at the top that they supply to aren't doing good, their parts aren't going to go anywhere."

Last Friday, Ford announced it will spend $2.5 billion to build a new engine facility in Mexico creating 3,800 jobs.

Windsor's Ford workers said they have not given up hope, and have a campaign urging fellow auto workers to get out to vote in the upcoming federal election.