New Conservative ad includes shot of doomed Camaro assembly line
Canadian production of iconic GM car set to move to Michigan in November
Nestled amid the opening montage of the Conservative Party's latest salvo in the pre-campaign ad wars is a shot of what appears to be the Chevrolet Camaro assembly line at General Motors' Oshawa plant.
It's an unusual choice of visuals, given the recent news about that particular production line, which is slated to move to Michigan later this year. The announcement came amid news the federal government had sold its remaining shares in the automaker acquired as part of a 2009 government bailout.
Last month, the company confirmed the move would result in the loss of 1,000 jobs at the Oshawa plant.
- GM to cut 1,000 jobs at Ontario plant
- CAW decries GM's shift of Camaro production from Ontario to Michigan
- GM holding back until 2016 on decision over Ontario plant
The Conservative ad, titled Proven Leadership, is one of several ads rolling out Monday, including another Conservative ad that takes aim at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, and an NDP television ad depicting leader Tom Mulcair talking about middle class values. The Liberals also have new ads, including an ad touting its "plan for fairness" and an online ad attacking the Conservative government.
As the Conservatives would no doubt be quick to point out, hundreds of thousands of Camaros have rolled through the Oshawa assembly line over the last six years. Even so, it seems a less than optimum moment to remind potential Tory voters in the heartland of Ontario's manufacturing sector that not every decision made by a Proven Leader pans out.
The Conservative Party did not respond immediately to a query from CBC News.
GM exec defends government support
But GM vice-president David Paterson reached out to CBC News to point out that, although the Camaro is headed south of the border, the plant will still be producing five other models.
"We're still doing an awful lot here in Canada, and I'm awfully proud of it," he said, noting the engine for the Camaro will also be produced in Canada.
"The plant wouldn't be there were it not for the leadership of the Conservative government in 2009," Paterson said. "They basically saved General Motors, and I think they deserve a bit of credit for that."
Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, the union that represents Canada's unionized autoworkers, sees it a bit differently, however.
"It shows how completely out of touch this government is," he told CBC Power & Politics host Evan Solomon.
"[A thousand] direct jobs lost and over 10,000 total. For them to feature the Camaro is truly symbolic of their economic record," Dias said.
The archival auto sector footage appears in conjunction with Bloomberg headline from Jan. 28, 2009: "Canada's Harper pins future on $40-billion stimulus package."
That was, of course, the same day that then-Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff formally announced his party would support the government's proposed spending plan, thus bringing an official end to the ill-fated coalition that had seen the Liberals, the New Democrats and the Bloc Québécois united briefly in a bid to remove the Conservatives from power.
with files from Stu Mills