Trudeau Liberals did not guarantee Canadian jobs in contracts with auto manufacturers

The Department of Industry has refused for months to publicly disclose more than $50 billion in contracts for new battery plants in Canada, including a $13.2 billion Volkswagen factory and $10 billion for Stellantis.

Trudeau Liberals did not guarantee Canadian jobs in contracts with auto manufacturers
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
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The Trudeau Liberals failed to guarantee Canadian jobs in their subsidy contracts with electric auto battery manufacturers, according to Conservative Industry critic Rick Perkins.

On December 14, MP Perkins told the Commons government operations committee that he read a confidential Volkswagen agreement and did not see a "clause that protects Canadian jobs."

"The government’s intransigence at trying to keep poorly negotiated contracts secret, that’s the real reason they are trying to keep them secret," he said. "They didn’t negotiate a good contract and they are being caught in those failures."

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the Department of Industry has refused for months to publicly disclose more than $50 billion in contracts for new battery plants in B.C., Ontario and Québec. Among the corporate bailouts include $13.2 billion to build a Volkswagen battery factory in St. Thomas, Ontario.

On May 17, the Trudeau Liberals and members of the Commons industry committee secretly read the Volkswagen contract behind closed doors. They could not have on their person any "personal mobile, electronic or recording devices of any kind permitted in the room."

Perkins, the first MP to discuss the terms publicly, clarified there is "virtually nothing […] commercially sensitive" in the contract. "There is no clause that prohibits its release," he said.

Concerning the $10 billion federal subsidy for the Stellantis battery factory, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeatedly promised "thousands of new jobs."

However, the Windsor Police Service on November 16 confirmed its meeting with South Korea’s Ambassador in advance of South Korean workers coming to Canada for work on the factory next year. "We expect approximately 1,600 South Koreans traveling to work and live in our community," it said.

"If you are proud of these contracts, release them," Perkins told Liberal MPs specifically. "But obviously you’re not proud of the contracts. You’re just proud of the rhetoric."

"The best thing they can do to prove us wrong is release them and won’t we look foolish," he added. "Won’t we look foolish if these contracts actually do contain a job guarantee for Canadians. Prove us wrong. Release them."

Perkins told MPs he suspected all other contracts with electric auto battery manufacturers to have similar terms, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) in a November 17 report Costing Support For EV Battery Manufacturing put expenses including debt service charges at a minimum of $50.2 billion. 

Other subsidized factories include those in Bécancour, Québec (Ford), Sainte-Basile-le-Grande, Québec (Northvolt), and E-One Moli of Maple Ridge, B.C.

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