Harper to promise more than $1B in measures to help auto sector
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper will announce more than $1 billion in new measures to help the automotive industry, CTV News has learned, as the Canadian auto workers’ union warns that the Trans-Pacific Partnership could cost the sector 20,000 jobs.
Harper will make a stop in Whitby, Ont., on Tuesday, and announce a 10-year plan to provide:
- Loans and grants to lure global auto-parts manufacturers to Canada
- Various incentives for Canadian manufacturers to buy new equipment and modernize plants
A source says Harper will make the case that international auto and auto-parts manufacturers will want to set up plants in Canada, because TPP would give them access to Asia, and eventually Europe.
TPP, which still needs to be ratified, would phase out the current 6.1 per cent tariff on imported vehicles over five years.
Unifor national president Jerry Dias has condemned the deal, saying it will have a “disastrous impact” for Canada.
“There’s no question, we’re going to lose 20,000 jobs in the auto sector right off the bat,” he told CTV’s Power Play.
He said U.S. negotiators got a better deal with Japan that sees tariffs phased out over 25 years.
The TPP would also affect how much of a car must be made in North America. Currently, the content requirement is 62.5 per cent.
“The reason why we had the content thresholds in the first place was to protect jobs,” said Diaz.
He said companies like Honda and Toyota could import their vehicles into Canada with predominantly Chinese, Malaysian and Indonesian parts.
“And the question now becomes: Why would Honda and Toyota continue to invest in Canada, when they can ship a vehicle from Japan to the United States cheaper than they can build it here?” he said.
International Trade Minister Ed Fast has disputed Diaz’s dire projection, including the loss of 20,000 jobs.
“We do not anticipate job losses at all. In fact, we anticipate thousands and thousands of jobs created,” Fast told Power Play.
He said the TPP opens a “whole new market” for Canada’s auto industry.
“It means Canada is within the largest trading block in the world,” he said.
With files from CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife and The Canadian Press