31st Parliament, 4th Session

L018 - Thu 10 Apr 1980 / Jeu 10 avr 1980

The House resumed at 8 p.m.


Mr. Speaker: In accordance with the order passed earlier today, the ordinary business of the House has been set aside to discuss a matter of urgent public importance, as set out in the motion moved by Mr. Cassidy and seconded by Mr. Cooke.

The motion is as follows: That the ordinary business of the House be set aside to discuss a matter of urgent public importance, namely, the unemployment crisis in the Windsor-Essex area, as evidenced in the unemployed and the 2,600 layoffs at Ford, 5,100 jobs lost at Chrysler, 2,000 in auto parts and the imminent closure of the Ford casting plant, in spite of the fact of the $68-million grant from the government of Canada and the government of Ontario.

I remind all members they may speak for no longer than 10 minutes.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, we called for this emergency debate because of the critical situation with unemployment in Windsor, which has been caused by a combination of factors. It has been caused, on the one hand -- and we recognize it -- by the slump in the United States market for cars, which has dropped sharply and drifted towards imports and, therefore, has had consequences in demand for North American vehicles, many of which are made here in Canada.

It has been caused as well because of the continuing shortfall in production, in investment and in research in Canada under the Canada-US auto agreement. We are now feeling the combined impact of that. When I was with my colleagues in Windsor yesterday, we could see and feel how that community in particular is being affected, and so gravely affected, by the slump in the automobile industry and the failure of this government and of the federal government adequately to protect the interests of the working people of the community of Windsor and the industrial interests of Ontario.

This afternoon when I asked for this debate I gave some of the figures about the situation. Approximately 20 per cent of the workforce, 22,000 people, is unemployed in Windsor today. It is the worst-hit of any automobile-producing community but it is symptomatic, however, of problems in automobile towns across this province.

This week there has been an additional layoff of 4,500 workers at the Chrysler Canada Limited plant in Windsor. They will be off for four weeks. There is a rumour they will have to go to a single shift, with the loss of about 1,500 additional jobs in June. The engine plant at Chrysler, which was to shut down in October, has now had the shutdown date advanced to June, and that is a permanent shutdown from then.

One of the things that came through to us was just how systematically Chrysler Canada has been stripped of its major operations. The 440-V8 engine had been transferred out of Canada. The 400-cubic-inch V8 engine has been transferred out of Canada. The straight six, which has been a staple of production in Chrysler Canada for about 20 years, has been transferred out of Canada and it has now been converted into a diesel in some other plant elsewhere on the North American continent. Chrysler is now transferring its 360-V8 engine production out of Canada, leaving very little. The cars that are left being produced at Chrysler in Windsor are the Cordoba and the Mirada which, while they are fine cars, are large cars in a market that is increasingly turning to small ones.

In order to balance the situation, Chrysler intends apparently to start producing Imperials and to break back into the luxury car market, once again going into an area where the consumers are not going to be as active because of the demands of fuel economy. The van plant is down to only 900 workers, or maybe less than that, at Chrysler. There are real dangers they could take that entire production to the St. Louis plant and leave nothing here in Canada.

When we talked to the workers of Local 444 at Chrysler, we were told the major changes taking place in the corporation, if it gets assistance from the Canadian, American, Ontario and other governments, would not be until the 1983 and 1984 model years. There is a very long period ahead when next to nothing will happen at Chrysler because of government discussions right now. There is no indication of preparations to cushion the workers in the way that Chrysler was asking for, namely, transitional assistance as a corporation.

I read in Popular Science last night that Chrysler won’t have any six-cylinder engines in its cars after 1985. Yet it is proposing that only V-6 engines be made here in Canada if it gets public assistance.

I talked today with Roy Bennett, the president of Ford Motor Company of Canada Limited, specifically about the closing of the castings plant. The company hasn’t confirmed what its decision would be, but Mr. Bennett spoke of mothballing the plant. It appears that the pressure from us, from the workers, from Ford counsel in Chatham yesterday, from the federal government and maybe from this government, is beginning to have an effect.

Ford realizes it has gone too far, but mothballing is another means of saying that it is going to close the plant down. Mr. Bennett said optimistically, “We might mothball it for a year.” Perhaps pessimistically, he said, “Perhaps two years.” He said, “We don’t expect the industry to really turn around until around 1982.”

This is a corporation which already has 2,300 workers on indefinite layoff in Windsor, of whom 1,500 have exhausted their supplementary unemployment benefits and their UIC. They didn’t work in the car industry last year and, therefore, Mr. Axworthy’s proposals have no effect at all on those particular workers. They are in a very serious situation. I mentioned this afternoon the family crises, the mental breakdowns, the problems being created for people in Windsor because of the situation there.

We have to ask ourselves in this Legislature what the government has been doing about it. Why is it that the rule always seems to be, “Heads we in Ontario lose, tails they somewhere else win”? I read an interview with Lee Iacocca when he appeared on The Fifth Estate back in December 1978. He said, “With my former employer” -- that was Ford -- “one of the last things I did was on the threat of losing 2,000 jobs in Windsor, we got $73 million outright.” He talked about the way Ford and the other giant multinational automobile companies conjure with countries and with provinces to get the maximum amount of bucks or the maximum advantage.

When my colleagues at the federal level, Ian Deans and Bob Rae, met with Mr. Lander, the president of Chrysler Canada Limited, a few days ago, he outlined to them the plans for a V-6 engine and for the production of a mini-van with a world product mandate at the Chrysler Canada plant. This is the package that Chrysler is putting before the Canadian government. They asked, “In that case, if it’s a success, will you guarantee that all the production of this mini-van will stay in Canada?” Mr. Lander was not prepared to give that particular guarantee. It was another case of tails we lose, heads they win. If the Chrysler project were to win, it would be taken back to some plant in the United States and, once again, we would be left here in Canada holding the short end of the stick.

I asked Mr. Bennett, “Were there any guarantees for that $68 million we gave you?” He said, “No.” We knew about that. Heads we lose, tails they win. We know now that Ford gave no guarantees and we are facing the loss of the castings plant, which accounted for 1,400 jobs in 1979. No jobs will be there in a few weeks, according to the plans the company apparently intends to follow.

What bothers us is the fact that all the time we have had an impending crisis, this government has not revealed what the facts are. When this industry is so important in this province, it’s about time that the government of Ontario published on a regular quarterly basis the statistics of what’s happening in the auto pact, the behaviour with regard to the commitments of all the major manufacturers and their behaviour with regard to the balance of trade between Canada and the United States. It’s about time that began so we had some agreed-upon facts about the true situation. We know there was a $3-billion deficit last year. We don’t know yet, and this government could tell us, just who was responsible and why.

It’s about time there was a game plan for the industry and this government is not providing it, despite all the time it has had to develop a strategy to ensure that we get the fair share to which everybody on the government side has now finally decided he is prepared to subscribe. Mr. Trudeau, during the election campaign, noted the fact that the big automobile companies spent $375 million of Canadian money on research in the United States and $5 million in Canada. Where has this government been for the last 16 years in not insisting that we get a fair share? Why is there no public funding for a public auto research corporation which would help the parts manufacturers in Canada to compete for jobs and for contracts with the Big Three?

8:10 p.m.

Finally -- because my time is apparently running out -- when will this government subscribe to the principle that we have advanced for so long, which is: If it is okay for the government to give assistance to corporations facing major technological change, then it should also be prepared to give assistance to workers facing major technological change in the automobile industry. I find it completely unacceptable that slapdash short-term panaceas are provided for a few workers down in Windsor when pressure is put on Lloyd Axworthy. We found out yesterday that the UIC office in Windsor isn’t even yet aware of what the ministry intended to do, but auto workers elsewhere in the province don’t have the benefits of that. We need a transitional assistance program in order to benefit the workers and not just benefit the corporations.

Those are the kinds of things we would like to see coming from the government, and the reason this is an emergency goes far beyond a slump in the industry. The reason we have the emergency is that the government has stood idly by and failed to ensure that we get the fair share that Canadians deserve in the automobile industry, which is so important and which provides one job in every six in Ontario.

Mr. Cureatz: Mr. Speaker, might I begin by saying that labour displacements from economic fluctuations are always a serious, sobering matter for consideration for us in government on all sides of the House. When we tie these displacements with the weaknesses in the auto industry itself, the number of individuals in Ontario who might potentially be experiencing the impact becomes quite considerable.

I know of the possible difficulties firsthand. With the General Motors of Canada Limited parts facility located in my riding of Durham East and other GM plants in Oshawa, I have personally experienced the good times and the more difficult periods of the auto industry and its market cycles.

As members of this Legislature, we know the automobile industry is of primary concern to all of us. Something like 90 per cent of Canada’s auto industry is located here. The job opportunities and market stimulus that this industry provides are important to the economy of Ontario as a whole.

Realistically speaking, the automobile has been of central importance, not only to our economy, but to our whole way of life, ever since it became a major purchase for the average family. It will remain central for quite a number of years to come; I am positive of that.

I believe the future holds great promise for the automobile industry throughout the world as well as in Canada. The 1980s will present the industry with many opportunities for innovative thinking, for new approaches and the application of new technology. In short, the future for the automobile is not that dark at all.

At present, the auto industry is plagued by a drop in production. In Durham East we have not suffered as greatly from this drop as have other regions in Ontario.

Mr. Foulds: Sam, you didn’t write this yourself; a little more sincerity in the voice, please.

Mr. Cureatz: If I just may add to the comments, I wonder where the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) is. He has the GM automobile plants in his riding; where is he tonight? Why isn’t he here? Is he in his riding campaigning already? I ask the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds), where is the member for Oshawa?

Mr. Foulds: He is going to be here in a few minutes.

Mr. Cureatz: In February, GM’s production of new cars was down 13 per cent while truck production was down 15 per cent. However, overall sales of both cars and trucks are up 3.4 per cent. Other companies, however, are not doing so well. Ford’s production of cars is down and so are their sales. AMC’s production of jeeps is suffering, as has quite often been pointed out by the member for Brampton (Mr. Davis). Other car sales, particularly among the smaller fuel-efficient models, are riding high. Then there is Chrysler. Combined car and truck sales of this company are off by 11 per cent.

Things, however, should be kept in perspective. The situation in our auto industry is nowhere near as bad as it was in 1975. As well, this drop in production is not due to a decline in sales in the domestic market. Falling production is mainly the result of a slump in sales in the United States. About 80 per cent of Canadian production in the automotive field is exported to the American market. Fundamentally, it is the sluggish American economy that is the root cause of about 8,000 layoffs in the Canadian industry. That is how the situation lies.

But what of the future? Will production and sales of trucks and cars regain old levels and continue to expand? I believe they will.

In fact, if we look closely at the situation, we will find that the market for automobiles is as strong as ever in Canada. Recently, the president of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada said that the average Canadian family will spend $2,400 on a car this year.

Cars will be the largest family expense next to owning a home. According to the Automotive Industries Association of Canada this figure breaks down in the following manner: 50 per cent will go for replacement or depreciation; 25 per cent will be spent on oil and gas; and the remaining quarter will go to defray costs of insurance, maintenance and licensing.

In spite of these examples, the Canadian love affair with the automobile is far from over. A recent federal government survey indicates that the majority of travel in Canada is done by the private auto. Only five per cent of Canadians travel by airplane, and only five per cent by bus or train; 90 per cent of Canadian travel is by car.

The results of this federal government survey are conclusive. From these statistics I can only conclude that the Canadian affection for the car is still strong. In fact, as far as General Motors is concerned, things have been going well. GM had its seventh consecutive record-breaking year in 1979. The company has increased its total vehicle sales by 10 per cent. One of the reasons for GM’s success is the company’s ability to read market trends and then build the type of car people want and need. GM is ahead because its product is more competitive.

The other auto manufacturers have fallen behind because they have not been as flexible, innovative and imaginative. Adaptation to change is what the free market system, under which we operate in Ontario, is all about. Every businessman knows that his product has to change towards changing values. This is as true with cars as it is with toothpaste or shampoo.

It has become a cliché to say that the auto industry is entering an unparalleled period of innovation. The industry, labelled by many critics as an industrial dinosaur incapable of change and sluggish in its movements, is proving remarkably adaptable in the current environment of evolution. Vast sums are being earmarked for research and development by all of the auto makers and by many of the independent parts producers. New investment is the order of the day.

I certainly do not need to tell this assembly how vital these questions are and how politics and international competition get mixed up in them. Estimates vary on how much will be spent on new research and development in the decades ahead. It will be in the billions of dollars. New plants will only account for about eight per cent of this investment. The remainder will consist of research, development, testing and expansion and retooling of existing plants.

We know the reasons for this massive expenditure. The single most important incentive is the need for improved fuel economy. I was fascinated to read in the paper that the United States government may require the auto makers to achieve a fuel consumption rating far exceeding what present day expectations are. The necessary research effort will be gigantic. The industry-wide response to the energy crisis is a major reason for the new R and D. But we must not forget the increasingly stringent environmental protection requirement and consumer demand for safer cars. These areas, too, need much research.

The other side of the coin is predictions of continued high consumer demand for cars and automobile products. As I mentioned earlier, our love affair with the car is not over. People will still buy cars. More families will buy that second car. The car buying population will increase over 25 per cent in 20 years from current levels. This means that the annual increase in car demand will be two per cent to three per cent up to 1990. That is a tremendous increase in anybody’s language.

It is essential that Ontario and Canada get their fair share of this new research and investment. The current situation in the auto industry is only a foretaste of what will happen if we fail to change the auto industry’s track record in Canadian-based research and development.

Certain economists have long maintained that Canada is still only a partially industrialized country. Our greatest single weakness is in high technology industry, of which the auto industry is a major component. In other countries it has been shown that there is a close tie between long-term economic development and the use of scientific and technological knowledge in the production systems of an economy. Without sufficient R and D, long-term industrial growth is impossible.

One of the causes of the present problem in Ontario’s auto industry is a lack of sufficient R and D innovation. We tend to assemble cars, not design new ones or build parts. Canadian plants tend to construct the old-fashioned large cars, not the new fuel-efficient small cars. We are vulnerable to technology and change, and are experiencing the effects of that today.

8:20 p.m.

The Big Three auto makers have concentrated their R and D capacity in the United States, especially Detroit. While this may be extremely convenient and efficient from their point of view, it reveals an amazing lack of sensitivity to Canadian needs. Contrary to what some auto makers seem to think, we do not have to move research centres just for the sake of moving them. Research means jobs in a developing and evolving industry. Some experts say Canada should have another 1,400 engineering jobs in its auto industry, backed up by a further 2,800 support staff. If we got our fair share of parts production, we could have up to 19,000 more jobs in manufacturing.

The federal government should take part of the blame for an inequitable distribution of the North American innovation. It should take a great role in helping research with tax relief, incentives, write-offs -- the works -- to make it more attractive to carry out research right here in Ontario. I am pleased to note that GM is something of an exception to the rule of insufficient research and new investments in Canada. General Motors of Canada plans to invest over $2 billion here in the next few years. This is just the sort of new financing that our auto industry will need to take advantage of the opportunities in the future.

At the moment the auto industry is on the downside of the business cycle, but for the long term it is in its most advantageous position in decades. The tremendous pace of change and innovation allows us to get in on the ground floor of retooling and production of the world car for the 1980s and 1990s. It is up to the industry to profit from continuous high demand. I see no reason why the next decade should not continue on the favourable upswing for the automobile industry.

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I rise to participate in this emergency debate concerning the impending closure of the Ford casting plant, which actually means a further loss of 850 jobs in the Windsor and Essex county area. The loss of 850 jobs, taken by itself, is substantial; however, when we add this to the 2,600 layoffs at Ford, 5,100 layoffs at Chrysler and 2,100 layoffs in the auto parts industry, this further proposed layoff is monumental.

How much can a government or an industry expect a small community, a medium-sized city like Windsor, to take? Let me put this in a better perspective. In the months of January and February, there were 2,500 new applicants for Unemployment Insurance Commission benefits in Windsor and Essex county. Windsor has a depression level of unemployment; it’s 20 per cent and growing. Many families in the Windsor area are on the verge of economic ruin.

Action must be taken immediately by this government. The Ontario government must support in principle and financially a federal government proposal to extend unemployment insurance benefits. The recent comments made by the federal Minister of Employment and Immigration have been encouraging, but we want to hear from the Ontario government that they will participate in giving this assistance, that this is an emergency in Windsor and Essex county, and extraordinary measures must be taken and will be taken. The province must make it clear to the social service agencies in Windsor that they will receive the moneys necessary in order to deal with the hardship situations that have been created by this economic downturn.

This is for the short term. For the long term, the province must fully support and take whatever action necessary to assist the federal Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce to renegotiate certain parts of the auto pact. I heard the other day on television the president of General Motors stating that he felt the auto pact need not be looked into or renegotiated. I have news for the president of General Motors; the people of Ontario are not going to stand for a depression level of unemployment. We are not going to stand for a $3.1-billion deficit in the auto parts industry. Measures and action must be taken against this and the tools lie with the government. It is their responsibility.

Further, the Ontario government should end its love affair with the branch plant economy that it has created in Ontario. By this, we don’t mean that anyone who is already in Ontario has to be asked to leave the country. I want to explain this because I am sure the Minister of Industry and Tourism would try to distort this.

We don’t want anyone who is here to leave the country. We need those jobs. What we need is a Minister of Industry and Tourism for Ontario who is prepared to assist Ontario entrepreneurs and Ontario businessmen, who is prepared to allow Canadians to take their part in the mainstream of our economy. That is what we need. Ontario desperately needs an industrial strategy. Ontario needs a code of corporate behaviour, as was proposed by the Ontario Liberals.

This issue of the impending closure of the Ford casting plant could not be discussed without mentioning the new Ford engine plant at present under construction in Windsor. When it was announced that the $600-million plant would be constructed in our area, the people of Windsor and Essex county were quite pleased. We thought we were at the dawn of a new economic era. We thought that, and we were led to believe that Windsor was a fortunate place to be in Ontario. How soon the cookie crumbles!

Because of the recent economic downturn in the United States, and because Windsor is basically a one-industry town, we now have a depression level of unemployment. The Ontario government’s role in helping to obtain the Essex engine plant has turned out to be a gigantic hoax, a shameful exercise. The Ontario government and the Ford Motor Company have perpetrated a hoax on the people of Windsor and Essex county, on this Legislature and on the people of Ontario.

We were told that the $28 million which was provided by the Ontario government would be used to create 2,600 new jobs. The Ontario Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) stated on March 29, 1979: “Investment by Ford will have significant impact. The new plant will represent a net direct addition to total employment in the area of 2,600 jobs.” That is a direct quote from the Ontario Treasurer.

Today, under questioning from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) the Ontario Treasurer did not refute the statements. He agreed he had made them. He could not deny what appeared in Hansard, but he told this House there were no job guarantees. What we have been led to believe is not true. Never was the public or this Legislature told that this money would be used for replacement jobs. We did not have to give the Ford Motor Company of Canada $28 million of Ontario taxpayers’ money for our share of the layoffs in an economic downturn. I am sure we would have received our share anyway.

Let’s look at the figures concerning Canada and the United States as far as production levels of automobiles and as far as levels of layoffs in both countries are concerned. In Canada in 1978, Ford of Canada built 335,797 cars and trucks. In 1979, Ford of Canada built 338,600 cars and trucks, an increase. In the United States, Ford built 4,280,644 cars in 1978 and 3,364,372 cars and trucks in 1979, a decrease. Yet, when we look at the layoff figures, we find that in Canada 21 per cent of the automobile industry is laid off and almost the identical figure in the United States.

8:30 p.m.

So what did we get for our $28 million? We got the layoffs we would have got under any circumstances with this type of economic downturn. We didn’t get a single job from our $28 million. This government and Ford of Canada have played a hoax on the people of Windsor and Essex county in Ontario. Never once were we told that this was money for replacement jobs.

In closing I would like to say that the Ontario government should take whatever steps they have to take to have any of the money already given to Ford returned to the Ontario Treasury. I think further payment of the $28 million should not be made and that the Ontario government should use this money for job creation programs in Windsor and to help extend the unemployment insurance benefit for people who are without work.

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, it never ceases to amaze me. First of all we hear a company apologist from the Conservative Party and now we hear somebody who dissociates himself from the federal Liberals, who were 60 per cent partners in that grant to Ford. They didn’t ask for any more guarantees from the Ford Motor Company than did this government. That member’s party and the government party are responsible for the problems in Windsor.

I want to spend some time talking tonight about the problems we’re having in Windsor -- not necessarily the problems in the auto industry itself, but the effects of the industry problems on the people of my city.

When we visited Windsor again yesterday, I went back to my home town and brought along three federal members and my provincial leader. I think I got a better sense yesterday than I even have had from living in that community during the last number of months when the layoffs had been announced on a monthly, weekly and daily basis.

We met with the social service community. We went to the unemployment help centre. I guess the only way I can describe the feeling in our community right now is one of depression. I just don’t mean economic depression, I mean emotional depression. Those people who are working are worried about losing their jobs. Those people who own small businesses are worried about going bankrupt because of the lack of business and the lack of any spending power on the part of the people in our city.

The students who are looking to have summer employment in order to go back to university or college this fall know there will be no jobs that they will be able to look for. Again, with the cutbacks that are taking place and the various provincial job creation programs for students, there won’t even be those types of jobs for students to look for this summer.

We’ve raised this matter in the Legislature now for over a year. Just a couple of weeks ago, the second or third day that the House was sitting, I talked to the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) during a concurrence debate and outlined some of the problems we were experiencing in Windsor. I want to read the one line the Treasurer interjected. I think it indicates very clearly to all of us how sensitive this government is to the problems in Windsor. I had been going through all the layoffs and all the economic depression and he said: “You don’t know what the 1930s were like.”

That was his comment to me in reaction to the problems we’re having in Windsor right now. We have 20 per cent unemployment and that bloody Treasurer has the nerve to say that we should be heading for 30 and 40 per cent unemployment, and we should be satisfied with 22,000 unemployed because we could be much worse off. That’s the kind of attitude of this government. It’s a disgrace.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: He didn’t say you should be satisfied.

Mr. Cooke: He said that it could be a lot worse.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: He didn’t imply that.

Mr. Cooke: That was exactly what the implication was.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. Cooke: Back in December, in a series of letters that I had written to the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman), he wrote me back on December 27. I want to read part of the letter. I’ve read it before in the Legislature but it’s worth reading again. It is dated December 27, not that long ago. The crisis was coming to the levels that we’re now at. It said:

“I fully appreciate your concern with the unemployed people in Windsor. My ministry is fully aware of the severe downturn in the automotive industry and what it will do to the Windsor economy and we are monitoring the situation closely.”

At the present time, according to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate in the Windsor area is approximately 9.1 per cent. The minister knows as well as I do that those statistics are about as accurate as -- well, you might as well not take the surveys because they are not accurate.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: They were accurate then, though.

Mr. Cooke: They were not accurate then. If you take the number of people who are unemployed and divide it into the work force, the unemployment rate was double that then and it is over 20 per cent now.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Why didn’t you write me another open letter and tell me about it at the time?

Mr. Cooke: I did; there are follow-up letters.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. Cooke: He goes on to say: “While this is higher than the 6.1 per cent average across Ontario, we do not consider it to be an immediate crisis.

“In my previous letter of November 8, 1979, I stated that in the event there develops a clear, long-term Chrysler unemployment crisis, then a job creation program may well be required. This situation has not yet developed, and therefore, a job creation program for Chrysler is not yet warranted.

“A recent study by the Ontario Manpower Commission has indicated that there are several firms in the Windsor area with definite plans for expansion over the next 12 months. It is hoped that these expansions will be able to absorb some of the unemployed.”

That is the kind of response we get from that minister and then he wonders why I and others in our party say this government states its concern, but certainly by the reaction -- its letters and its actions -- there is very little concern.

If there is not a long-term employment crisis in Windsor now -- we realize Chrysler will not turn around at least until 1983 or 1984, according to Mr. Lander -- then what the heck is such a crisis? Ford Motor Company today told my leader they were looking at the mothballing of that casting plant for one or two years or maybe longer. If that is not a long-term employment crisis, what is?

When is this government going to recognize there is a crisis, and when is it going to do what we did yesterday? When will they take some of their cabinet ministers -- the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton), the Minister of Industry and Tourism, the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) -- and go sit down with the social agencies the way we did yesterday?

When will they listen to the executive director of the Catholic Family Service Bureau, who says demand for their services is up 15 per cent over last year; or the Credit Counselling Agency, that says the demand for its services is up 20 per cent; or the head of the Essex County Mental Health Association, who says there are many cases of auto workers who are now in psychiatric hospitals because of the depression, because of the tension, because of the lack of security that exists in our city and with their families?

Why doesn’t the government talk to those people?

Hon. Mr. Norton: My ministry has a representative on the mayor’s committee, you know.

Mr. Cooke: Yes, and I have heard him. The kind of autonomy that he has --


Mr. Cooke: The fact of the matter is that those social agencies told us they had written to the various ministries in the federal government and the provincial government and they have not got a response. They can’t meet the needs; the needs are growing so rapidly in Windsor that they cannot meet them.

Let me read a letter I received just the other day from a constituent of mine who happens to be a laid-off Chrysler worker. It says:

“This is a letter for some kind of assistance for mortgage relief. I hope you will read my letter and consider my application. I am on indefinite layoff at Chrysler. I am attempting to find work and I will supply you with a list of several job applications. I bought my home in the government-sponsored Hall Farm subdivision and the mortgage is with Montreal Trust for $45,000 at 14 per cent. The following is my balance sheet:...”

His mortgage payment is $528 a month. The taxes are $85 a month. His other loans are $76 a month. His utilities are $58 a month. Food and clothing is $300 and his insurance $40, for a total of $1,087 in expenses a month. Yet he is on unemployment insurance, which gives him $708 a month.

8:40 p.m.

The minister can see as well as I what the implications are. This individual is going to have to sell his home. He is going to have to give up his investment, his dream, because there has been a lack of planning in our community and because there has been no effort on the part of this government to get into Windsor and respond to the crisis.

Let me also indicate what is happening with the welfare rolls in our community. We received some statistics yesterday on welfare in Essex county. In January 1979 they spent $93,600 on welfare and in January 1980, $142,500; in February 1979 they spent $99,500 and in February 1980, $142,300.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The honourable member’s time has now expired.

Mr. Cooke: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to say in conclusion that this government has to react. I am glad we are having the debate tonight because it gives us an opportunity to focus on the problems in Windsor. Maybe, for once, we can get through the thick skulls of the government on that side the fact that there is a crisis in one of the major communities of this province and that it has a responsibility to respond.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The Minister of Labour.

Mr. Makarchuk: Is the minister one of the thick-skulled characters?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I don’t know. Come on to my operating table and I will check the honourable member out and see what his skull is like. I have to say it will be thick and hard and it may even be insensitive, but I am not sure about that last part.

Mr. Roy: On a point of order: The Minister of Labour is inviting the NDP on to the operating table. That is not where they have been. They are in bed with those people, not on the operating table.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, order.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to speak to an expert on that subject.

I am, as are all members in this House, deeply concerned about unemployment in the Windsor area as in all areas of this province. Members in this House share the feelings expressed by the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Cooke). He is not alone in those views and I don’t think he claims to have a monopoly of concern for people who have problems.

I tell him, whether he believes it or not, that this government’s efforts to try to improve the economic climate in this country, and to assure industry in Detroit and in the Windsor area, have been aimed at that purpose.


Hon. Mr. Elgie: First, I would like to review for the benefit of members some recent events relating to the Windsor work force, including initiatives at the federal level which should go some way towards alleviating that problem. The federal government has a program within its constitutional authority for dealing with the unemployment situation on an emergency basis.

Two weeks ago, along with the Minister of Industry and Tourism and other members of this government, I met with the federal Minister of Employment and Immigration and expressed my deep anxiety over the situation. Shortly before the meeting, the unemployment rate in the Windsor-Essex-Lambton area had, for the first time, exceeded 11.5 per cent and, as a result, certain additional benefits of a substantial nature became available under the provisions of the Unemployment Insurance Act.

First, the trigger mechanism for reducing the employment qualification period to the lowest possible level -- 10 weeks for repeaters seeking UI benefits -- is now operational in the Windsor area. It now is possible for many of the unemployed who already have been on unemployment insurance to qualify for benefits for periods of up to 42 weeks.

Second, to the extent that the auto companies cannot provide laid-off workers with the necessary 10 weeks of employment required to qualify, emergency job creation measures will be put in place to give workers the opportunity to get that necessary 10 weeks of qualifying employment. This will be done through the emergency response features of the Canada Works program.

Third, the federal government has indicated a willingness to consider other measures such as increasing training in the Windsor area, especially for workers who appear to be faced with extended periods of unemployment. I expect to be having further discussions about that with the Minister of Employment and Immigration.

With respect to the unemployment figures presented in the motion, frankly, I see little point in debating them. They are there and they are disturbingly high. However, there is a real prospect that the new 1981 model production requirements will turn around the level of consumer demand for North American cars later this year. This, of course, assumes that the current recessionary trend in the United States eases off. In addition, the industry has stated that parts assembly for 1981 models will begin during April and vehicle assembly during August. This should result in substantial numbers of workers returning to work during the spring and summer months.

However, until that basic retooling for lighter, gas-efficient cars is completed and the new facilities are operational, we can expect to have less than satisfactory levels of employment in the Windsor-Essex region. We will have to try to ensure that all workers get as much employment as possible and encourage the federal government to use existing or new income support programs to assist those employees when work is not available. As the general rationalization of auto production proceeds, the government will work to ensure that a fair share of this production is maintained in Ontario, which should re-establish more favourable employment circumstances in that industry.

As I have said, I am deeply concerned about the extent of unemployment in the Windsor area, but the problem really may be much deeper than that. The unemployment figures in Windsor -- and I put this to members opposite if they want to listen to it -- may be symptoms of a troubled industry, one that has not, at least in recent months, shown itself capable of competing as effectively as before in the international marketplace.

I think it may be time for some soul-searching on the part of both labour and management in the automobile industry. It is all very well for us to talk about individual layoffs and about the failure of governments to respond with instant solutions. The automobile manufacturing and automotive parts industry have always prided themselves on their productivity, their efficiency and their ability to compete effectively in the free market. I welcome the opportunity to join in the debate this evening because I believe these and other fundamental assumptions must be examined very critically.

Some argue that the current problem results from offshore competition. To the extent that this is so, why is it that our major foreign competitors have been able to capture such a large and growing portion of the North American market with products that appear to be highly attractive to the public? Has there been a failure on the part of our industry to identify and anticipate public needs and desires? What has happened to the ability of our manufacturers to assess the current market and to predict its requirements in an accurate and timely fashion? Is there something lacking, for example, in research and development? It can hardly be said that the problems flowing from dramatic increases in energy prices have occurred overnight. The first energy price shock occurred almost seven years ago. It may indeed even be fair to ask why the industry did not adjust sooner to these new realities.

Our difficulties are no doubt due in part to slumping sales. But I ask the question, if members opposite are prepared to listen, is it any wonder that sales are slumping when our manufacturers until very recently continued substantial production of large and inefficient vehicles that won’t sell? If sales are slumping, the challenge to this industry is to provide to the consuming public of North America products which meet the needs of 1980. One does not have to be an economist to know the prices of North American vehicles have risen dramatically. They have, in fact, outstripped the general rate of inflation in the past two years, despite assertions of improved productivity.

At the risk of being anecdotal, let me refer to a specific case of one of my constituents. He priced a popular Canadian-made automobile in April 1979. The base list price was just under $5,300. The same constituent priced that identical car model in October 1979, just six months later, and found the list price on the same automobile had increased to something in excess of $5,900.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Take it to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea).

8:50 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Just settle down, boy. That represents an increase of almost 14 per cent over a six-month period. There have been wage increases over this period, but not anything close to that magnitude. While there may be valid reasons for this dramatic increase, I think we are entitled to receive an explanation from manufacturers who are now claiming that consumer demand has suddenly fallen. It is equally apparent from the record if one takes the time to review the record -- and takes the time to be quiet and listen -- that collective bargaining settlements in the auto industry have been ahead of annual inflation rates.

Mr. Di Santo: Whoever wrote that speech?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I wrote it.

In fact, it has been traditional for the auto settlement to contain a full-running cost-of-living escalator clause in addition to wage increases of approximately three per cent, plus other benefit improvements.

I think the question that now must be squarely faced is whether the pricing and wage-setting practices in the auto industry are in accord with the realities of market conditions in the 1980s. There are those who say that oligopolies like the automobile industry are becoming insulated and incapable of responding to market forces.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The honourable member’s time has now expired.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I was going to speak further about the need for sell-restraint on the part of management and on the part of employees. I was going to talk about the need to get on and face the issues that are really there for us. I want the House to know that I think it is time that we face those issues now.

Mr. Cassidy: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: It may be a bit irregular, but the minister did not respond at any point to the question of whether Ontario asked the federal Minister of Employment and Immigration about a TAB program to protect the workers in Windsor.


Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, order. That is not a point of order.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I rise to participate in this debate, to make a few comments and also a few suggestions -- in a way, to alleviate some of the problems that the city of Windsor is confronted with today.

We are going to debate this for two and a half hours. We are going to talk a lot, but I doubt we are going to accomplish very much. I only hope the ministers on the other side of the House, as well as those in Ottawa, pay attention to some of the comments that are being made here tonight and do everything they can to alleviate the problem in the Windsor area, in the Essex county area, as well as any other area in Canada that may be adversely affected as a result of the auto trade pact. I hope that after these remarks are read by Ford Motor Company it will reconsider any plans it had to close up that Ford castings plant, and will reopen it once again.

No community in Ontario, maybe even in Canada, has been as adversely affected by unemployment as has the city of Windsor. Windsor was generally known as the garden gateway to Canada, the arrow pointing into the heartland of the United States. Having gone through the depression days of the 1930s, the Ford strike in 1946, then Ford moving a major portion of its facilities from the Windsor area into the Toronto area, and now the potential closing-down of the Ford foundry as well as the downturn at the Chrysler plant, we probably have experienced more difficult days than has any municipality in Canada. It is about time that governments, collectively, came to the assistance of the community and the workers in the community, in the provision of services or costs of services as far as social and other ancillary services are concerned. We also need some type of transitional assistance benefit or assistance for the unemployed, the laid-off worker, as a result of the downturn in the automobile industry.

Even minor unemployment is bad, but when there are 20,000 people in a given community without work, I don’t know of anything more serious. It is useless to go through the litany of how it affects individual families, what they have to do without, the trials and tribulations that result when no pay cheque, or a very small pay cheque, comes in.

In some instances people have, in good faith, purchased substantial pieces of property or upgraded themselves as a result of the thought that once the $28 million was given by this government to the Ford Motor Company, rosy days were ahead. They bought in good faith but they were let down by the auto industry; in this case, by the Ford Motor Company.

It seems that Ford, which some say made Windsor, now is breaking Windsor. We hope Ford management reconsiders its decision concerning the castings plant and puts it back in operation. The rationalization of operations that Ford is contemplating in the Windsor area is probably the most serious type of rationalization we have had.

Having been given $68 million from the combined two levels of government, $28 million from Ontario, Ford is now going to eliminate between 2,600 and 2,800 jobs in total with the closing down of the castings plant. They are not creating any new jobs -- to the best of my information -- with the funds provided by the two levels of government for the Essex plant.

It is important to read this into the record. It has been read in twice before, but we have to emphasize to the government that they guaranteed us, or sold us a bill of goods, that there would be 2,600 additional jobs in the Windsor area. This is the press release issued by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) for the supplementary estimates of Thursday, March 29, 1979.

“The new plant” -- that is the new Essex plant -- “will represent a net direction addition to total employment in the area of 2,600 jobs.” That is 2,600 additional jobs. “In addition, because the plant is a parts facility, it will require substantial input from directly related feeder industries. The impact on this group could equal the 2,600 employment gain from the plant itself.” In other words, he was talking about 5,200 jobs in all that would be created by the $28 million.

“The Ministry of Industry and Tourism has estimated that additional economic activity generated from these workers and the income they bring into the area could raise the overall employment impact to between 7,500 and 8,000 workers.” They sold a bill of goods to the community that there would be 8,000 new jobs created in the area and we are going to be lucky if we break even and stay at the same place where we already were before the $28 million was given to the community.

One of the suggestions that I’d like to make is that we should require companies to prove to the governments that they are actually living up to the auto trade pact.

9 p.m.

Statistics from Ford vary from those collected by Chrysler and those collected by General Motors. There is no base from which they gather their statistics. They should be exactly the same for each of Big Three in Canada so that one can compare apples with apples and oranges with oranges and not have them all mixed up. There is no way of comparing the statistics as presented by any one of the three big auto makers.

Another recommendation I would like the government to consider is one that has been suggested time and time again in the past. We know there are going to be more people looking for jobs than there are jobs available. Now is the time to attempt to implement a shorter work week. We could probably consider a 35-hour work week so that instead of having only x number of employees taken on, we would have 17 per cent more. With a 40-hour work week as opposed to a 35-hour work week, we would employ 17 per cent more people. That recommendation has even been made by one of the congressmen from the state of Michigan in the Congress of the United States. Congressman Conyers has suggested that the answer to part of the problem is a shorter work week.

We should also ask industry to give an advance warning of operational changes, be they layoffs or closings, and sufficient advance notice. They don’t work on a week-to-week basis. They plan well in advance. They may not realize that market fluctuations can catch them by surprise occasionally, but they are generally shrewd enough to know what the market is going to accomplish within a given period of time.

If we don’t come along and do that and if industry doesn’t come along and give us advance notice, then we are going to have the same clamour for rigid controls that is now going on in the state of Michigan. A Democratic Representative by the name of Perry Bullard in the state of Michigan has suggested a two-year advance notice. I don’t suggest a two-year period, but at least there should be substantially greater notice of a change in operations.

There is much more one could say, but within a 10-minute time period one is restricted. I hope the two levels of government get together and assist the thousands of unemployed in the city of Windsor.

Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, the debate tonight has been originated by the crisis which is developing in the city of Windsor with the incredible layoffs of 22,000 workers. This is a human problem that no one should underestimate. I have been amazed by listening to the members of the government party. The member for Durham East (Mr. Cureatz) was talking in rosy terms about the automobile industry, when we all know we are confronted with a very serious and major crisis, for which there is no end.

The human problem is a serious one, but unless we look at the real economic problem of the automobile industry, we will not understand why we are in this situation today and why Ontario is going to suffer seriously in the next years. I think we have to make very clear we are dealing with multinational corporations that have points of view that are not our points of view, that have interests that are not the interests of Ontario or the other provinces or the states in the United States of America.

I want to mention what the president of Chrysler said on December 11, 1979, during a program called Fifth Estate, dealing with the multinational corporations. He said: “I have great experience with this. I have played Spain versus France and England so long, I am tired of it. Ford, when I worked there, and General Motors, Chrysler, all over the world, we pit Ohio versus Michigan, we pit Canada versus US. We get outright grants and subsidies in Spain, in Mexico and Brazil, all kinds of grants. With my former employer, one of the last things I did was, on the threat of losing 2,000 jobs in Windsor, we got $73 million outright.”

This is the philosophy and the mentality and the interests of the multinational corporation. We in Canada are operating within the framework of the auto pact, which in 1979 produced a huge deficit for Canada: $3.1 billion and $4 billion in auto parts.

That deficit represents $360 for every Ontarian and $32,000 for every auto worker. To add insult to injury, it is ironic that the parts deficit is essentially lower than what it would be were Canadian vehicle production not down 11 per cent. This is because Canadian-assembled cars contain primarily imported parts. In fact, in Canada most of the parts are produced by the four big car manufacturers and the eight multinational parts manufacturers.

These deficits are occurring despite the fact that sales of North American vehicles in Canada continued to rise in 1979. General Motors, Ford and American Motors sales are up 10 per cent, six and 15 per cent respectively. Only Chrysler sales were down, over 20 per cent, but Chrysler retained its share of Canadian market in 1979 -- 18 to 20 per cent of the market. Where it fell down was in the American market.

The reason for this high deficit is the recession and energy crisis in the United States, which has caused sales of cars there to plummet nearly 25 per cent. Since over 70 per cent of Canadian car and parts production is shipped to the US, Ontario auto workers are bearing a disproportionately large part of the American slump, and when the elephant sneezes, Canada catches pneumonia. Exports have remained stagnant while, at the same time, imports of vehicles have risen more than 33 per cent in the last year, together with parts imports into Canada, which have increased 20 per cent.

This increase alone represents about $2 billion worth of business for the giant auto companies and is equivalent to five per cent of US production. The irony and the crisis in this situation is that while Canadian auto workers are bearing the brunt of the American recession, the expanding Canadian market is providing a vital safety cushion for General Motors, Ford, American Motors and even Chrysler. In this situation the shortcomings of the auto pact become painfully obvious. In particular, the fact that Canadians make disproportionately few of the popular subcompact cars, and parts for them, is a matter of immediate concern.

As the auto industry gears up to retool for the new generation of small cars, it is crucial that we assess the prospects for a fair share of that investment in Canada. Only that investment will ensure the future health of our auto industry, and this government has done nothing. The auto companies are almost as good as the oil companies at confusing and twisting the facts.

General Motors plans to spend $38 billion, but in Canada, only $2 billion. Ford will spend $20 billion by 1985, and in Canada, less than $600 million. Even Chrysler, if it gets through its troubles, plans to spend $14 billion to $15 billion in the US. In exchange for a massive bail-out from the taxpayers of Canada, Chrysler promises $1 billion, or even less, investment in Canada.

9:10 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Do you think we should help Chrysler?

Mr. Di Santo: I think the Minister of Industry and Tourism has a special responsibility. He has been silent about the federal Conservative government because Mr. de Cotret was a friend of the American Treasurer. Now, because there is a Liberal government, he should acknowledge his responsibilities.

I want to remind the Minister of Industry and Tourism that he was in this House in 1978 when the Minister of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs produced a document called “Canada’s Share of the North American Automotive Industry: An Ontario Perspective.” They proposed three targets. I will read them because, of course, the minister has not read them.

“A ‘fair share’ output target for the Canadian industry, implicit in the auto agreement, would require a production level consistent with the market share.” The minister should know the figures. We are at least 10 per cent of the North American market.

“The industry should also have a structural target which would require a mix of assembly and parts activity equal to the North American average.

“Next, a ‘fair share’ research, design and development target would require that Canada be allocated research, design and development jobs and expenditure proportionate to its market share.”

Finally, “In 1976, attainment of all three targets would have implied an additional 25,000 jobs, $866 million additional net investment and an additional $200 million in research and. development expenditures.”

These are the targets of 1976. The Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Trudeau, when speaking in Windsor on February 14, 1980 -- and it was also a part of the Reisman report -- said that Canada contributed $375 million in terms of research and development to the United States while there was only $5 million in Canada. If the Minister of Industry and Tourism read the latest report by the Science Council of Canada, produced by Neil MacDonald, who was a former executive of Ford, he will know what the net loss was for Canada in terms of specialized jobs, in terms of research and development, in terms of design. In total it amounts to the loss of jobs that we are discussing today.

If we have today in Windsor 22,000 workers laid off, that’s not an accident. If the Premier of this province -- as he tried to do today -- is trying to legitimize the fact that there is a --

Mr. Acting Speaker: The honourable member’s time has expired.

Mr. Di Santo: -- cycle in the automobile industry, then I think that’s a poor justification. I think the government will pay for that.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Before calling on the next speaker, I would like to introduce, in the members’ gallery, a former member and minister of all trades, the Honourable Allan Grossman.

Mr. Makarchuk: Why don’t you ask him how he closed down Burtch, and Walker is opening it?

Mr. Acting Speaker: He has a few sins to answer for, but I understand he’s here this evening to celebrate the birthday of the member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent), and to hear how his successor, the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick, is conducting himself.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I keep sending him answers. What can I say?

Without this coming off my time, Mr. Speaker, he’s here because we were supposed to have dinner tonight; then, because of the leader of the third party, we couldn’t have dinner, so he is suffering through Mr. Sargent’s celebration and this debate this evening. That doesn’t come off my time, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Acting Speaker: I’m afraid it does.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I thought, before we begin, I might send this little sticker over to the third party to anyone who wants it. The member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Cooke) might want it. It says: “Buy the cars your neighbours help to build.” They may take that to their caucus meeting next week and pass it around, or perhaps stick it on all their Volvos.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Or your Volkswagen, David.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Or their Hondas or their Toyotas or whatever they have.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Or your Mercedes, Donald.

Mr. MacDonald: That was years ago.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: It doesn’t count then. It just became patriotic this month. Mr. Speaker, now my 10-minute period begins.

Mr. Acting Speaker: You have eight minutes left.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I must say I have enjoyed the debate this evening, particularly when I reflect back on the discussions a month earlier, when people suggested assistance should never be given to the multinational firms. I think back to the member for Windsor-Riverside bitterly criticizing the activities of the Chrysler Corporation when it shifted operations to a heavy V-6 engine plant. He said they were terrible people, that Chrysler was wrong and this government should never come to its assistance. Of course, when it looked as if Chrysler was going to go under and cause more problems for Windsor, he wanted to support the Chrysler Corporation.

They want us to support Chrysler, but don’t want us to have supported Ford. They reason that Chrysler isn’t so bad because it had its financial problems when it was more pressing for them in Windsor.

In the Ford situation we created jobs two years ago, before there were problems in the market, so that is a different situation.

I want to deal with that point: “Did we create jobs?” It has become a routine in the House today to discuss what “net new jobs” means, what “new jobs” means, what “additional jobs” means. I suggest that if one is a worker in Windsor the plain fact is that because of the actions of this government and the federal government there will be 2,600 workers working in the Ford V-6 engine plant who wouldn’t otherwise be working there. If that isn’t additional jobs, I don’t know what an additional job is.

Either it is a new job or it is not a job. Those people will be working there. If we hadn’t made that contribution, if we hadn’t caused that plant to go there, we would be looking at 2,600 fewer jobs than there are currently in Windsor. I think it is interesting to note --

Mr. Cassidy: The minister sells this province down the drain year after year and expects us to be grateful.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The honourable member should show up tomorrow morning. He has another chance. He might enjoy Fridays. He will be down in Windsor tomorrow morning taking pictures again.

When we talk about Ford contemplating closing a casting plant built in 1934 remember that, in addition to the V-6 engine plant this government caused to be located in Windsor, it also caused, as a result of that, a new Ford aluminum casting plant to go into Windsor. That plant will be operational this year.

Mr. Cassidy: Two hundred jobs as opposed to 1,400 in 1979.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Are 200 jobs not important to the honourable member? Two hundred jobs in Windsor are important to me, and those 200 jobs are there solely because of the activities of this government.


Mr. Acting Speaker: The honourable member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick has the floor at the present time.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) was speaking earlier today about the fact that these were not really new jobs. Let me tell members about his view of the situation as recently as a couple of years ago when we were talking about it. What did he say? He said, and I quote from Hansard: “If the Ford company is going to make a decision to put the plant elsewhere, and we are going to lose 2,600 jobs because of the political wrangling that is going on at the moment, that would be a tragedy for the working people. It would be a tragedy for our economy. It would be a tragedy for the future possibility of providing employment for the young people of this province.”

I could go on and read the “Dear Pierre” letter that the Leader of the Opposition wrote at that time.

9:20 p.m.

Mr. Bradley: The minister is ducking his own responsibility.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I am not. I want to point out to the Liberal Party that at no time during those extensive discussions -- when the Leader of the Opposition was saying, “If $17.5 million won’t do it, give them another $17.5 million,” during that infamous discussion that he led on behalf of the Liberal Party of Ontario -- not once did he refer to getting overall job commitments to maintain the current levels of employment. He didn’t say a thing about it at the time and for a good reason: because everyone understood that there is something called a marketplace out there.

The member for Downsview (Mr. Di Santo) attempted in his closing remarks to suggest it is the fault of the government of Ontario that the market for North American vehicles has almost disappeared. Thankfully, the Leader of the Opposition has not resorted to that inanity. But I want to say to the Leader of the Opposition, who isn’t here this evening, and to the members of his party who are here, that anyone who purported to be intelligent enough to participate in that debate a couple of years ago must surely have understood that 2,600 net new jobs for Windsor means 2,600 more jobs than are in place at any given time in that community. No one can guarantee what the market for those vehicles will be, not even our Volvo buyers from the third party.

I have two or three minutes left and I want to deal directly with the situation at the old Ford iron casting plant that is contemplated for closure. Ford is currently doing what all of the major automobile manufacturers are doing, that is, trying to assess where they are going to cut back output over the next few months. The market isn’t there and they have to close down some of their operations.

I want to make this point to members. The point I made to Roy Bennett, the president of the Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited, when he was here to see me, was that we have a huge auto parts deficit in this country and a good portion of that deficit is comprised of the in-house sourcing by the Ford Motor Company. There is little question about that. I said this to Mr. Bennett: “You are in a situation where you have 50 per cent capacity in a 1934 casting plant in Ontario, 50 per cent unused capacity in a plant in Cleveland, I think it is, and 25 per cent unused capacity at a second American plant.”

Mr. Warner: Ford rips us off and the minister apologizes for the company.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member may even enjoy this if he will be quiet for a second. The point I made to him was this. In view of the chronic auto parts deficit in this country, largely contributed to by Ford’s in-house sourcing, and in view of the fact there is very little prospect of Ford building any new parts plants in North America over the next few years, surely he owes it to this country and this province to see that they do not close out the Windsor casting plant now.

Surely, in view of the fact there is little opportunity to acquire more V-6 engine plants because they are putting in no more new parts plants, Ford is obliged to ensure that the plants in Ontario currently supplying their in-house parts are not closed out in favour of the American plants.

Ford is currently assessing the situation. I am sure Ford will do what all business people must do and that is assess which of those closures is the most efficient and the most economic. I put it to Ford of Canada --


Mr. Acting Speaker: Order. The member’s time has expired. The House will give the member an opportunity to close.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I want to affirm to this House, which has been asking about the details of our conversation, that we put it to Ford of Canada that that casting plant should not be closed in view of the chronic Ford in-house sourcing auto parts deficit in this country. We are awaiting a response. It couldn’t have been put to Mr. Bennett more forcefully than this government has put it to him.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I gladly join with my Windsor colleagues in this party in supporting this motion.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Is this Tuesday? What is the member doing here? Are the courts closed in Ottawa?

Mr. Roy: Here we go. Here we go. The Minister of Health --

Mr. Acting Speaker: Will the Minister of Health please take his seat and let us proceed with the member for Ottawa East?

Mr. Roy: I am here one day a week and I get them all exercised. What’s the matter with those people over there?

We in this party have no hesitation in supporting this motion, because the Liberal Party in Ontario has the faith and confidence of the people of Windsor. That’s where they put their faith, both provincially and federally. Those on the other side are always prepared to blame the federal Liberals in times of trouble.

We are seeing it happen right now. We are seeing it in interest rates. They can’t blame them now because the federal Liberals have moved in with a program and they have reduced, at the first opportunity, the period of working to gain unemployment benefits from 20 weeks to 10 weeks. They have accepted their responsibility, something for which the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) even tried to take credit.

People in that party are really something.


Mr. Roy: I will speak to you, Mr. Speaker, because you are more receptive than those washouts on the other side.

Mr. Speaker: Don’t just speak to me, look at me.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I should have no difficulty doing that after looking at those warm bodies on that side, but I say to you --

Hon. Miss Stephenson: At least we are warm; the member for Ottawa East is not.

Mr. Roy: Bette, I wasn’t talking about yours.

I want to say that when there are times of trouble and things aren’t going well, that government is always prepared to blame the feds, but when something good happens, when they move in with their program, even the Minister of Labour, who is both a doctor and lawyer and knows the fields of jurisdiction, tries to take the credit for unemployment benefits. He said: “Because of my intervention, the feds have moved in.”

A long time ago we decided that the leadership or the nonleadership given by this government was not good enough and we see the consequences of it today. Can anyone possibly understand how the Treasurer could make a statement by way of a press release where he said clearly -- and those of us who have some difficulty with English can understand this --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: This is the fourth time he has given this speech today. He better get a new speech writer.

Mr. Roy: Yes. Obviously you will have to hear it tomorrow.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I won’t. He won’t be here tomorrow.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Roy: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick has already spoken. I don’t want to hear him any more.

Mr. Roy: Yes, and I would point out that the Minister of Industry and Tourism spent exactly two minutes of his 10 on the topic. That’s the importance he attaches to this subject. Have you, Mr. Speaker, ever seen a Treasurer of a province who would make a commitment by press release, and then make it in the House, where he would say clearly the new plant will represent a net direct addition to total employment in the area of 2,600 jobs? He said that. He puts it on the record but he is not prepared to put it in the contract. Some negotiators those people are.

I listened to the Minister of Health saying to these people: “Are you people driving Volvos or are you driving Peugeots?” Those people were subsidizing the purchase of these cars back in 1975, so they shouldn’t give anybody a lesson about who is buying what in this province because when the chips were down, when the election was called in 1975, they were prepared to subsidize the whole automobile industry in the United States. That’s what they tried to do and they tried to do it again with that $15-million program.

9:30 p.m.

It has been obvious that the leadership, or the nonleadership, given by this government in putting its money in foreign plants is something this leader and this party are not prepared to accept. We have moved a motion of no confidence. On Monday next we are presenting this motion and we hope that the people to our left will give it the support it deserves.


Mr. Roy: Seldom have I seen the people to my left so exercised as tonight. My God. I thought the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) was going to fly right out of his chair, he was so exercised. Yet, in perspective, it is just a lovers’ quarrel because on Monday they will be holding hands under the table. On Monday they will be in the same bed.


Mr. Roy: We agree with the motion of the NDP. We agree with what my colleagues have said, but on Monday where are they going to be?

Mr. Samis: Are you going to visit us on Monday?

Mr. Roy: You bet I’ll be here.


Mr. Roy: Then we will see how they vote.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Roy: I’ll be here Monday; I’ll tell you that.


Mr. Roy: I understand the leader, the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Cooke), the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall), Bob Rae and somebody mentioned even Ian Deans, were there. I don’t believe Ian Deans was down there with the leader in Windsor. Apparently, these people were in Windsor and talked up a good fight. They got a lot of press and a lot of people to talk about it.


Mr. Roy: But on Monday when the chips are down, where are they going to be?

Mr. Makarchuk: Incidentally, we are here every Monday as opposed to you on one Monday in 10 months. Hurrah! Give him a big hand.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the member for Brantford please come to order?

Mr. Roy: The same party which moved this motion, the same party which has made so much fuss here tonight, will be in bed with the Tories on Monday.


Mr. Roy: I say to my colleague from Windsor, go back on Monday and tell the people of Windsor where the NDP members were, in bed with the Tories on Monday. When the chips are down, when leadership is needed, when they are not getting it from that side and when they have an opportunity to throw them out, where will they be? They will back right off.

The commitment we have given and are giving the people of Windsor is something we are prepared to back up with our votes. I wish members to my left would do the same.

Mr. M. Davidson: Mr. Speaker, I have a tendency to agree with you on the manner in which the House is conducting itself. This is an emergency debate, dealing with what I consider to be a very serious problem facing the people in the province. Not only does it affect the city of Windsor, which is probably being more hurt than any other sector within Ontario, but the results of the Windsor layoffs and the results of the trauma that exists in Windsor are also being reflected in other communities throughout Ontario.

I for one do not understand the frivolity that exists in the House tonight, given that this is an emergency debate to deal with that problem -- an emergency debate that was initiated by the New Democratic Party because we fully understand and appreciate the difficulties faced by working people in the city of Windsor. We want this Legislature -- which supposedly has some sense of responsibility for overseeing and looking after the people of this province -- to at least debate the issue and hopefully come up with some kind of an answer that may help the people in the Windsor area.

What I see instead are members of the Legislature who seem to think the situation in which the people in Windsor find themselves is some kind of joke. I for one do not feel it to be a joke. Had I thought the debate on this very important issue would have deteriorated as it has done this evening, I would probably not have supported the motion to debate the issue.

I did not realize that 125 people could have so little concern for a community that exists within the province. I feel badly about that. I feel badly that those on all sides of this House, including some of my own colleagues, take it so frivolously when we are hopefully talking about a most important issue.

It is an emergency debate because there are people in one sector of our province who are being very seriously hurt because of layoffs dealing with the auto industry. It’s not only the Windsor people who are being affected by this, although it shows probably more there than it does anywhere else. I have had the opportunity of listening to the apologists from the Conservative Party. I have had the opportunity of listening, for example, to the Liberal representative for Ottawa East.

It pleases me to hear that he will be here on Monday, April 14, for the vote. It will be the first Monday since I was elected in 1975 that he actually shows up and I hope he does show up to support his own party.

Mr. Roy: How are you going to vote?

Mr. M. Davidson: I think perhaps it is incumbent upon this Legislature to take a nonpartisan look at what is happening to Windsor, to take a nonpartisan view as to how we can possibly assist the people of Windsor, and perhaps, as a nonpartisan group of 125 people, look at the overall auto industry in the province to see how it affects not only one city in which we live -- and hopefully try to represent to the best of our ability, regardless of which party we belong to -- but also on the basis that it’s not only Windsor but other areas.

Let’s take a look at what is happening to the auto industry in this province. It’s not only Windsor, although Windsor reflects by its unemployment rate probably a greater need than other communities within Ontario itself. The auto industry is in trouble. I’m not sure that what the present government has been doing by granting Ford Motor Company so many dollars is the answer. I don’t see that it solves anything.

I’m critical -- I guess because I’m an opposition member -- of the way they went about doing that. Had it worked maybe I couldn’t be as critical, but it doesn’t seem to have worked. So maybe all of us should be trying to find a way that we can help not only the people in Windsor but the other centres in Ontario that also have not only the major three auto companies, but who have parts manufacturers for the auto trades throughout the entire province.

9:40 p.m.

Let’s take a look at where we are at. We have layoffs not only in Windsor. We have, for example, Sealed Power Corporation in Stratford, where I understand the plant closed down in February 1980. We have Canada-Ferro Company Limited in Brampton; that plant is supposedly going to close down in April. Gabriel of Canada Limited in Orangeville -- sure, it has only 20 workers, but to Orangeville that’s a large work force -- in all probability will be closing down.

There is the tire industry, with Firestone in Whitby, layoffs in Hamilton and in Joliette, Quebec. There is Chrysler in Windsor, with some 430 people at the moment on indefinite layoff and another 2,000 -- God knows what’s going to happen to them -- and Ford Motor Company in Windsor, where there are approximately 2,500 laid off at the present time. There’s the Chrysler trim plant in Ajax with layoffs, and Lear Siegler Industries Limited, in my own area of Kitchener-Waterloo, with some 400, or half of their work force laid off, and Budd Automotive Company of Canada Limited in Kitchener, also with half of their work force laid off. In addition, there is Butler Metal Products Company Limited in Cambridge and Bundy of Canada Limited, also in Cambridge. All of those are suppliers to the automobile industry, all of them working at probably half their capacity, and we sit here and make jokes about this debate.

I can’t accept that. It’s too serious a problem. We, as members, have a responsibility to at least attempt to find a solution. In this kind of a debate that is put on the floor, it is hoped that through the comments that are given by all sides of this House we may be able to come up with an answer -- not a total answer, but an answer that will be not only beneficial to the companies that employ these people -- because God knows we need them; we need the jobs that they provide -- but also so that we have some kind of an answer for the people who are facing the situations that are there.

It’s no joke when thousands upon thousands of workers in this province in one industry are laid off. It’s no joke when they are living on unemployment insurance and, given that their benefits may have run out, that we have to go to the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton) on occasion and request that he start supporting these people. They are tax dollars. As long as we have the numbers of people that we have today laid off within our society, those tax dollars aren’t coming in and we’re expected to pay more out. I think it’s incumbent upon us as legislators to try to find a solution.

I have no use whatsoever for the type of speech that was made in this House tonight by the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy). It was a totally biased, political speech trying to discredit someone in this place as being the cause of what is happening. Sure, I’m an opposition member. Sure, I can be critical of the people on that side who are the government. But I will do so in the context that there is some realism behind it and not, I would hope, because of the fact that I’ll show up next Monday for the first time in five years and try to get the support to back up that kind of straight political dialogue that has no place in this type of debate.

Throughout Ontario at this moment there are thousands upon thousands of workers in the automobile industry who are laid off, and there are others who now are employed but are not sure whether they will be laid off. I think the debate tonight should have substance. I think it should be looked at on the basis that it is not a politically biased debate. I don’t know if I have made a contribution, but I hope from now on that the other speakers will look at it on that level.

Mr. Watson: Mr. Speaker, in rising to speak in this debate, I believe we are considering a serious subject tonight. We are talking about the livelihoods of many thousands of fine men and women who have contributed very conscientiously to the building of our society. Through no fault of their own, people are finding themselves in difficult circumstances, with painful consequences in some cases I know,

There is no question the layoffs in the auto industry, as in any other industry for that matter, are quite properly a top-priority concern of this government. The security of our work force and the general prosperity of the Ontario economic environment have always held a high priority in the eyes of the government. To suggest otherwise is simply to be blind to the facts. To suggest the government is somehow responsible for the layoffs is absolutely wrong.

There is no denying that many areas of our industrial and economic activities are experiencing change. Many books on the best-seller list have discussed the profound changes and transitions that technologies and our various societies themselves are going to be going through.

The auto industry, as other speakers have pointed out, is undergoing a period of great technological change. We have been through this in the past in other areas and we have survived. It was not too many years ago that the doomsayers were predicting everyone would be thrown out of work by automation. There are still a lot of people working, and most people will go on working.

The changes we are moving through in the transportation sector in response to energy shortages and materials supply fluctuations are just as much opportunities for new directions for development as they are problems.

We are going to see a lot more research and development in transport in future years.

I know the minister has been working very hard to maximize the benefits for Canadians of our participation in the auto industry, with particular emphasis on the manufacturing of parts. I know too that the minister has been working in co-operation with his federal counterparts to expand our marketing effort, and not without success.

Nevertheless, despite the best efforts of planners and executors in industry and the hard work of those in government, humanity has not yet mastered the art of stabilizing the business cycle to the satisfaction of everyone. Sales have their ups and downs; production activities are a direct reflection of this. People do get laid off. It is not really anyone’s fault -- in fact, on the contrary, if businessmen had their way, the cycle would stay high all the time. Going full tilt probably would be in everyone’s best interest.

I certainly cannot accept the suggestion that we in this government are somehow unaware of or unconcerned about the impact of layoffs of workers. That is far from the truth. I might speak on a personal note for a moment. In my own riding of Chatham-Kent, it is not an inconsiderable number of citizens who depend on the auto industry in Windsor for making a living. People find employment in the auto plants and in other work in support services that benefit from the economic spinoffs. The multiplier effect of wages paid for the car manufacturing companies certainly affects my area. We benefit when things are going good; we feel it when things are going bad. We are aware of the consequences of the layoffs in my area. It is hard not to be.

There would be no way of measuring the tremendous efforts that members of the government have expended over the year in a drive to create new jobs to keep our people working, to create an economic climate that encourages people to upgrade their skills and develop new ones in order to remain successful and competitive in the employment marketplace. There is not anywhere nearly enough time in this debate to review the many services administered by this government which have had as their direct aim the economic welfare of our citizens. But there is only so much that government can do. That may sound harsh, but it is realistic.

Warning signals about the possible economic dislocations have been on the horizon for some time. The more fortunate members of society have adjusted their situations to become as flexible as possible. No one is having it easy these days with high interest rates and rising prices. We heard about that this afternoon when we had the group of farmers here at Queen’s Park. That is connected to the auto industry in my particular area because a lot of young people who are starting out on farms depend on their winter jobs to help pay those mortgages and pay those operating debts. This winter they haven’t got that particular type of employment.

The workers who are laid off in Windsor will receive the federal unemployment insurance benefits. Following consultation with the representatives of this government, the federal Minister of Employment and Immigration announced revisions to the benefits package available to the Windsor area auto workers that reflect a real awareness of their true needs and the reasonable expectations that can come out of this situation. He has also announced other job-creation thrusts to be addressed to the Windsor situation.

9:50 p.m.

The Windsor situation is a major concern to both the federal government and the provincial government. Let no one think otherwise. The Ministry of Community and Social Services has income maintenance programs in place which will help the people in the Windsor area. Increases in this program have been announced recently.

There is a struggle, of course, in government for the limited resources that are needed to pay these types of programs, but no one in this province shall be without the necessities of life, barring a major disaster. For those in real need, family benefits assistance is available. But we must remember that it comes out of money levied from the people of Ontario in taxes.

Contrary to the destructive point of view spread by Socialists, the government is not some kind of a rich uncle that can pull money out of a hat whenever things get a little rough.

I would like to say several things to the auto workers. First, let’s not panic. We’re going to make out much better if we can remain calm and rational in this situation. Second, let’s not get led astray with unreal expectations of what government can deliver. Government is only the people, just like those people out there looking for work. We all work very hard to gear our job-creation and employment development programs to those areas that look like they will be the most vulnerable. We have had success in maintaining secure economic circumstances for the vast majority of industrial workers throughout this province. Many millions of taxpayers’ dollars have been invested in such efforts in recent years, and this money has been allocated responsibly and effectively.

We fully realize there are people out there who are hurting. We talk to them. We meet them. We know them, and we’re concerned about their plight. We are totally committed to restoring their livelihoods as quickly as it is humanly possible.

Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I suppose those of us who are taking part in this debate would much rather we didn’t have to. Let’s face it. I’m sure of that. We would much rather that the unemployment situation in Windsor was not so low that we would have to spend time on a special debate. But since that is the situation, I think it is quite in order that we should discuss some of the problems of the Windsor area.

First, anyone who has lived in the area for many years can go back over the automobile industry’s history. I worked in Ford. If I remember correctly -- it was a few years ago -- I made the hubs for the back wheels of cars. I think that is what I was working on. That goes back quite a few years ago.

A few years later, Ford had a slowdown. The member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. B. Newman) mentioned that in 1955 Ford moved a great deal of its operation to Oakville. This caused a great deal of concern in Windsor; real estate prices went down, there was quite a bit of unemployment and so forth.

Then, about 1957, Chrysler made some cars, and they had problems with them. Chrysler wasn’t too successful with them, and unemployment again increased considerably. The automotive business didn’t really get going again until 1964, when the auto pact came in. At that time it looked like a saviour. I suppose that ran well until 1975, when OPEC oil prices started going up so much. In 1973-74, the Americans got scared and quit buying cars for a while. In the 1975 situation, the sales of cars in Canada were still within the usual range, but the sales went down in the United States so much that it naturally caused an awful lot of unemployment in the auto industry in Ontario, particularly in Windsor.

I have read the auto pact and I have read it into the record. It’s just a statement of policy. It’s not like a bill we would pass, with paragraphs A and B, section 37 and so on. It was more or less a statement of policy between two governments, signed by the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Canada.

The intent of it was, hopefully, to --


Mr. Speaker: Would the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall) just cool it?

Mr. Ruston: The intent of the auto pact, it was hoped, was to improve the employment situation in Canada. I believe it did that in most of the years that followed and served a good purpose. The details of it are going to have to be put down in black and white eventually. As many know, they are talking now about whether it should be rewritten or just reviewed. Most people feel 1980 would be a difficult time to draw up a new auto pact because it is an election year in the United States and there is a great deal of unemployment there.

I was reading an article in the Windsor Star of April 5, 1980, written by Bill Shields, its automotive reporter. There are a few paragraphs I want to take note of:

“In Canada for the first quarter, General Motors was holding firm with last year’s record sales pace. Ford was off 19 per cent and Chrysler 14 per cent. AMC increased 29 per cent. Chrysler showed signs of improvement in the US, where sales of the Windsor-produced Cordoba and Mirada, sparked by a rebate program, improved 23 per cent and 84 per cent respectively. However, Chrysler had a 202-day supply of Cordobas and a 193-day supply of Miradas in early March. Foreign imports grabbed 25 per cent of US sales last month, down three points from the previous month.” That is a serious situation.

The article continues: “This week there will be 20,000 Canadian auto workers on layoff next week” -- that was from last week’s paper -- “8,600 of them indefinitely. In the US there will be 223,000 workers on layoff, including 160,000 indefinitely. These figures do not include parts suppliers in either country. These firms will also encounter extensive production cutbacks and layoffs.

“Domestic auto makers employ about 780,000 in the US and 65,000 in Canada. At the height of the 1975 automotive downturn, there were 350,000 US and about 25,000 Canadian autoworkers on layoff.”

That is part of what is happening to the car industry. There are other causes. A few minutes ago I mentioned imports. The Windsor Chamber of Commerce has a new campaign and has been receiving donations from many industries in Essex, Kent and Lambton counties. It is a new sticker, to put on envelopes and so forth, which says: “Buy the cars your neighbours helped to build.”

They are trying to convince people to buy cars made in Canada or the United States so that we have a real interest. I don’t know what we can do to convince people that, in order to have a good economy, we have to help people who are working alongside us. It is too bad the chamber of commerce and others have to spend money to try to get people to buy something made in their own country. We see cars in every parking lot -- parking lots, I suppose, around the Legislative Building -- which have been made in other countries.

I don’t mind trade. Canada has always been a trading country. But I would like it to go both ways. There are many countries that export cars to Canada, but none of them imports ours. That concerns me a great deal.

Mr. Speaker, I don’t know if you would object, but I have a few of these stickers in an envelope. If I may, I will pass them around to each member in the House at present. I ordered 100 of the stickers from the Windsor Chamber of Commerce, as I feel deeply about this. I think one way we can help solve our own problems is if we buy cars made by our neighbours.

10 p.m.

The member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Cooke) spoke a few minutes ago. I am not sure what he stands for with regard to industry and industry promotion and assistance by governments, because he did not speak in the auto pact debate last June 23; nor did the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall). The member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. B. Newman) and the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) both spoke in that debate. The strange part of it -- and members may recall I mentioned it in this House some time ago -- is that they did not speak in that particular debate that day, but when the then Prime Minister of Canada was down breaking sod for the new Ford plant, they were there and had front-row seats. I had to sit eight rows back. However, I guess the orders they had were: “Don’t speak on it. We won’t say anything about it, but we will be there and think it’s a great thing when they start building the blocks.”

We know we have problems, but I think, as with the oil situation, every so often it seems to flare up. I think most people would agree that the Canadian or American auto industry has not kept pace with the wants of the people in the United States with regard to small cars. I think they were slow in doing that.

General Motors now has produced a small front-wheel drive car, as has Chrysler. But General Motors made quantities of them, and they are going very strong at the transmission plant in Windsor. They are buying property all around their old plant. By January 1981 they should have another 2,000 people working there. I believe 100 from Chrysler have gone into the transmission plant already, and they will be picking up some of the slack. But we certainly need some assistance now, and I don’t think it can be done overnight. What we have to do is make sure that funds are available for people to get by with at a time like this.

Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, it is very tempting at this stage in the debate to respond almost totally to the remarks made by some of the members. Let me lead off with one comment. If the government feels that the member for Durham East (Mr. Cureatz) -- and I must admit that I too would feel this with them -- should be making some speeches and getting some publicity, they had better make sure they write his speeches as well. All he did tonight was solicit a $500 donation from General Motors for his next campaign. He did not even mention the unemployment occurring in his riding because of the slowdown of GM workers and the layoffs in the Oshawa area.

I am totally ashamed that the person representing the riding of Durham East is the person here in this House rather than the former member we had. Let me say, if it isn’t that former member who returns next time, we will have another member just as good. I feel it personally, because that is the part of the country from which I came, in which I was born, and I say to the members my relatives will not tolerate that kind of inadequate representation any longer.

The only service that the Ford Motor Company has done us in Canada in the actions it has taken in the past few days in return for the $68-million grant we handed out was to ensure that Canada will never make another handout to industry without some guarantees or at least one guarantee.

I say to the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman), it is appalling that he was expected and asked to pay -- and did pay -- 40 per cent of that handout, without ensuring that he was in on those negotiations and that Ontario, through that minister, added some guarantees to that handout. That is a disgrace which both the Liberal federal government and the Conservative government here in Ontario must bear forever. History will show they were most recreant in their duties.

With respect to Chrysler, the federal and provincial governments must grant monetary supports to Chrysler if it is to exist as a corporation in this world and as an operating entity in Ontario. But we have learned our lesson from Ford. Would I ever have loved to have played poker with either the provincial government or the federal government at the time of that grant. It’s obvious that even pecunious poker players could have won from both of these governments, particularly the federal government, that Liberal Party.

It’s to be hoped they have learned their lesson. In return for any amount of handout to Chrysler Canada, it’s obvious we should demand an equity position in that corporation for those dollars. In return for that grant, in any reconstruction -- and it won’t be large, perhaps -- of any plant in Windsor or any other place in this province, there should be firm guarantees that all that reconstruction should be done by Canadian construction companies using Canadian labour and that all supplies and materials should be Canadian. That is something the government did not get from Ford, and it’s well-documented. The construction companies were American and American labour has been on that site, while we had unemployed persons in Ontario in those same craft industries.

In addition to that, in Chrysler, for every handout to produce any product at that Windsor location, there must be a guarantee that all the tool and die work to produce that product must be done in Canada and that all the parts required to service those products must be manufactured, must be machined and must be cast in Canada. Where else can we produce any meaningful job production for any funds we hand out? Any Minister of Industry and Tourism in Ontario had better be at that bargaining table and had better be able to ensure for Ontario that we get that guarantee for reconstruction and for tool and die work.

The current member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman) is back. I don’t need to convince his father.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: He understands.

Mr. Bounsall: His father may understand. The tool and die work and all those parts should be made here in Canada as an absolute guarantee. The minister had better ensure that is done this time around.

With respect to the Ford situation, let me say it boggles the mind that no guarantee of any kind whatsoever was taken for the $68-million handout. We heard yesterday that the member for my riding federally, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce, Hon. Herb Gray, had said he will look at the parts of the agreement and will sue to recover some or part of the federal portion of that $68-million grant. He is an honest, bright, hardworking person, but one of the most political and manipulative politicians I have ever met, because we heard from the president of Ford Canada today in a telephone conversation that there were absolutely no guarantees whatsoever and that was confirmed here tonight by the Ministry of Tourism and Industry.

10:10 p.m.

There was no basis whatsoever for any lawsuit of any kind to be launched because guarantees were abridged, and the present federal Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce knows that. He is just trying to grab a headline which he knows he will never have to substantiate. That is the most dishonest piece of headline-grabbing I have seen in Canada in my lifetime. That minister should be called to account for that blatant piece of hypocrisy and dishonesty.

In a survey of my constituents, 90 per cent of them indicated they feel that in return for the Ford grant the minister should have had all those guarantees in terms of labour, plant construction, materials and supplies. When asked “if taxpayers’ money is going to be given to private industry, should the government demand some sort of equity and return on that investment?” 85 per cent said yes and only 10 per cent said no. The government has a mandate.

Let me say something else about what the people of Windsor thought about that money handed out to Ford. They knew, and they knew in no uncertain terms, that Ford was going to build there anyway. None of them is convinced that any penny of that $68 million needed to be handed out at all. Talk about poker playing with these two governments. Anybody could have won.

Turning to the various other speakers who made comments, I might say that it is again interesting that the solution to the problem proposed by the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) would have warmed the heart of Marie Antoinette. His solution to unemployment and the whole problem in Windsor is to have an election. It is one of those “Let-them-eat-ballots” situations.

It was interesting to note that the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston) was not at all convinced tonight that the state of urgency in the auto situation in Windsor really merited the emergency debate.

I will not comment on the remarks of the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy), who had, as usual, virtually no content whatsoever in his address.

I will close this statement, and I wish I had more time for rebuttal, by saying the one positive thing that should be done in this is for this provincial government to insist -- because the provincial government was too hasty, and it paid out the whole of its $28-million grant -- to insist that the federal government should save it. Say to the federal government: “You have $10 million you have not paid out. You pay into a special fund and until” --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. Watson: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: On behalf of my colleague the member for Durham East, whom the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall) mentioned by saying the only reason he gave his speech tonight was to solicit a $500 donation, I think that remark should be stricken from the record.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. That is not a point of order or a point of privilege.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, it would be very easy for me to go into the pit at the level of the debate in which the honourable member, who is sitting in the wrong seat, would like to engage.

Somewhat earlier tonight, some remarks were made which I must say I endorse wholeheartedly. In no way do they reflect upon the speakers who came after the particular remarks by the member for Cambridge (Mr. M. Davidson), and I substantially caution the member who doesn’t even have the courtesy to take his own seat that, if he wants to try it in the pit tonight, to try it with somebody else.

As the last speaker tonight, I feel there are certain responsibilities thrust upon me. It seems to me on the basis of an emergency debate that we are focusing on the economically and socially dreadful predicament that faces Windsor and the automobile parts and supply industry in southwestern Ontario. But it also seems to me that we are focusing on what is one of the resources of the province, which is the assembly of automobiles in all the dimensions in which that industry exists.

It was not too many years ago that the economic dream in this province was to have a thing called “Detroit wages.” There was a desire for not only parity of wages, but also parity of opportunity. That was symbolized in those days by the growth, prosperity and the opportunity in Detroit and its environment.

After a great deal of consultation and consideration, the auto pact was launched. There is no question that the auto pact in its original form transformed the whole of the manufacturing sector of this province. I don’t think it is fair today to suggest that the troubles that afflict the continental problem -- because it is a continental problem -- in the automobile industry are connected in all aspects of the auto pact. Let there be no arguments: There are very fundamental weaknesses in the auto pact that have been pointed out as that pact has evolved and matured.

On the other hand, while it is convenient to harangue against the automobile industry, in the situation we have today haranguing against the automobile industry is not going to put one person in Windsor back to work; it is not going to put one person in Oakville back to work; indeed, in the ancillary field it is not going to do anything for the car dealers, particularly those of the Ford Motor Company and of the Chrysler Corporation, who today are almost an endangered species. They are faced on the one hand with the very high interest rates which, there can be no question, are an impediment to consumer buying; on the other hand, they are faced with a very difficult and transitory market.

In this Legislature we have to rise above the natural inclination to play politics. If one goes back into the Depression, one reads over and over again the epithets hurled against politicians: “The politicians can solve nothing; they talk, argue and fight, but one has to look elsewhere for the solution.” Out of the Depression and before that, out of the very troubled 1920s, there was a result that came from a lack of confidence by the person in the street about the ability of the orderly democratic process to confront challenges and to overcome problems.

It seems to me tonight that while focusing upon Windsor -- and let there be no mistake about it -- that when one casually goes through life as usual, behind that life as usual in certain quarters there is desperation, loss of confidence and apprehension about the future. It seems the first thing we should do as politicians collectively is to start coming forward with some solutions, with some ideas that will transmit and stimulate a sense of confidence in the ability of an orderly system to rectify the problems that exist.

10:20 p.m.

Obviously, the first and foremost concern has to be with the human resources that are affected now. There is no question that by consultation and co-operation the federal and provincial governments have an expanded role to play, in terms of doing as well as they know how, in easing the tremendous social burden that has been thrust upon the individual working residents of that area. I suggest, however, that just doing that does not do anything for the future.

Of course, the provincial and federal governments have an obligation to mitigate the substantial economic problems in that area, but we have to go beyond that. The auto pact is going to have to come into play. There must be a Canadian approach -- and I mean Canadian; not Ontario, not Quebec, and not what the federal cabinet or its advisers feel -- a Canadian approach to a better automobile pact. If it means tradeoffs in certain directions, then as politicians we have to accept that in order to enhance a natural resource -- that is, the automobile industry in this province and, indeed, in all of Canada -- we have to be prepared to make tradeoffs.

I don’t think, in all seriousness, a question period about who signed what document at what time or why they didn’t foresee something that nobody else foresaw is necessarily going to solve the problem.

I say to the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston), I got some buttons last week in Windsor which are exactly the same as his stickers. That’s one of the things that has to be done in the short term; there has to be a sense of responsibility put upon the Canadian consumer. The Canadian consumer can’t run a tag day for foreign aid. If we want to be responsible Canadian consumers, then I suggest we have to make some tradeoffs.

That’s hard for me to say. I have had 16 or 17 cars in my time, and I have never had a foreign car. Maybe I am unusual, and I am not faulting anybody here or anybody on the outside who has bought a product that came from offshore but, by the same token there is an obligation upon the consumers to take into consideration the fact that these automobiles are made by people who live in this province and in Canada, and who contribute to the ability of those consumers to pay. I think this is something that has to be reinforced.

There is no question we are a trading nation, but I am getting very tired of having to be concerned about how well the Japanese auto worker exists and how superior his product is.

In conclusion, I would suggest on the basis of this debate that, rather than focus on what has happened up until today, there should be a determination in this Legislature, whether it is the situation in Windsor or a situation that may emerge in another automobile centre, that the obligation is to look to the future and towards a solution, rather than debating who signed what and when.

Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in this debate with a good deal of sympathy and concern for the people of the city of Windsor. I can understand that concern and worry for the people of Windsor because, according to a Canadian Press report this week quoting Statistics Canada, the St. Catharines-Niagara area now has the highest rate of unemployment of any city in Canada.

The article says: “Among major cities surveyed by Statistics Canada, the unemployed rate in St. Catharines-Niagara, Ontario, soared to 15.3 per cent. The second highest was the car production city of Windsor, which continued to show sharp fluctuations in its rate, with a drop to 13.8 per cent from February’s 19 per cent.”

I recognize these figures can fluctuate and that we do not know specifically what areas they cover. Nevertheless, this is another auto-making city that is in very difficult financial straits and, as representatives from these cities, we recognize the ramifications for the whole community.

Two out of the three companies I am going to mention have received some assistance from either the Employment Development Fund or some other provincial government agency. One hundred and forty people have been laid off at TRW, which received a grant from the provincial government, and 550 at Hayes-Dana, which received financial assistance to locate an operation in Barrie. As well as this, 3,100 workers were laid off at General Motors.

So I well recognize what has happened in the city of Windsor and the concern we should be showing.

Many of the members who have spoken in this debate have indicated some of the solutions to the problem, and I will not be repetitive enough to get into those. But I will be repetitive enough to implore the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) to table in the House the specific contracts that are made between the Employment Development Fund officials and the companies that receive this money so that we, in the Legislature, can see for ourselves the job guarantees -- if indeed they exist; and the minister has suggested that they do exist. If they do, members of this Legislature and the public in this province who are footing the bill for these grants to the corporations deserve to have those details before them.

I am concerned -- as the members from Windsor and other members of this Legislature are concerned -- that these funds might be used to do a shift, to move some jobs out to another country perhaps, to create new jobs, yes. Or they may be used to move them from one community to another. Hayes-Dana could well have expanded in the Niagara Peninsula, where the unemployment rate is 15.3 per cent, and TRW might have been able to undertake its entire expansion program in the Niagara Peninsula, where the unemployment rate, I repeat, is 15.3 per cent.

I am happy this Legislature has taken the time to discuss this matter, and in a serious way for the most part. I implore the government to take all appropriate action to overcome this problem for the auto workers in the various areas of this province.

The House adjourned at 10:28 p.m.