Future of St. Thomas Assembly Plant – CAW to press Ford on staying in Canada

The Canadian Auto Workers union will insist that Ford Motor Co. maintain its current manufacturing footprint in Canada as part of negotiations about helping the auto maker cut its costs here, CAW president Ken Lewenza says.

“We’re not going to go into early bargaining just because GM and Chrysler went into it,” Mr. Lewenza said yesterday. “We’ve got to get something in return and the only thing you get in return at this particular time is a commitment to product and that’s exactly what we’re going to work on.”

The Canadian manufacturing operations of Ford represent about 13 to 14 per cent of its North American manufacturing, he said.
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Navistar set to slash staff, production in Canada

Posted by Ian:
We’ve been down this road in St. Thomas with Sterling Trucks, and now Chatham is about to find out there is no turning back when head office wants to shift production to Mexico. Today appears to be the beginning of the end for Navistar in that city as the once bustling plant becomes little more than a kit shop.

TORONTO, June 29 (Reuters) – Navistar International Corp (NAV.N) is set to significantly reduce its presence in Canada as it shifts much of its heavy-duty truck production to more cost-competitive locations in the southwestern United States and Mexico.

The company, which has been producing vehicles in Chatham, Ontario, since 1923, is set to cut its staff there by about 90 percent, the Canadian Auto Workers union said on Monday.

“We’re amazed that this company continues to do this,” said Sonny Galea, who represents office workers and technicians for the CAW at the International Truck and Engine Corp plant.
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Ontario Lauded As North American Wind Power Leader


TORONTO, Jun 29, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Ontario, Canada was hailed as North America’s wind energy leader recently at an international conference in South Korea, where George Smitherman, Ontario’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, accepted the 2009 World Wind Energy Award.

The World Wind Energy Association presented its annual award to Minister Smitherman for his “outstanding achievements in making Ontario the leading wind energy jurisdiction in North America.” The international association also recognized the Minister’s role in championing Ontario’s Green Energy and Green Economy Act, calling the recently adopted legislation a decisive step toward establishing a strong domestic wind industry in the province and making it a worldwide green leader.
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Who Has Heard the Wind – Do Wind Farms Produce Noise Pollution?

Standing in a home a kilometer away from the nearest wind turbine –one of seventeen at the Pubnico Point Wind Farm in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia –Tony experiences a sensation that he describes as “similar to being close to a high power car audio sound system playing drums. Both situations cause problems that I would say resemble arrhythmia.”

Wind farms have obvious advantages over more conventional power sources. Unlike nuclear reactors, there’s no radioactive waste to dispose of, no risk of catastrophic meltdown. Unlike coal-fire plants, there are no greenhouse gases to choke the atmosphere, no open-pit mines scarring the countryside. And unlike hydro plants, there are many more suitable locations compared to the relatively few available for dams.

Yet, no system is perfect.
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Company proposes Bruce Peninsula wind farm

A major wind energy project is being planned for the Bruce Peninsula, but it may be years before it proceeds, if at all.

PRENEAL Canada has signed an agreement with landowners on the Bruce Peninsula to option several thousand acres of land for the development of a wind farm that could produce up to 200 megawatts of electricity in the former Lindsay and Eastnor townships.

Daniel LeBlanc, the project director, said that the company was attracted to the area partly because of the wind potential but also by the keen interests shown by many landowners to work together on the project.
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Plagiarism, penny-pinching or pure coincidence?

We have in our possession this week a copy of the Economic Development Corporation’s proposed game plan for the coming years, which examines “its current and future economic opportunities and positioning,” in a proactive fashion.
The executive summary of the economic development strategy is chock full of feel good vernacular like: “champion an action,” “supportive infrastructure and delivery model,” and our favourite, “programs must be augmented by service delivery tools.”
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Ottawa Council expected to defeat push for provincial moratorium

A councillor’s push to have the provincial government halt any new wind farms for 18 months until potential health problems caused by the renewable energy projects can be studied is expected to die next month at city council.

Rideau-Goulbourn Councillor Glenn Brooks is pushing for the moratorium because Prowind Canada is working on getting a wind farm approved in his ward, near North Gower. Some area residents aren’t happy with it, including those who claim turbines make people sick.

Brooks says he thinks the application and approval process for wind farms should continue, but none should be built until the study is done.

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Ottawa area Councillor urges study of wind farms for health risks


Ontario officials aren’t receptive to a councillor’s call for the province to halt new wind farms for 18 months until a study can assess whether the green-energy installations pose health risks.

Rideau-Goulbourn Councillor Glenn Brooks was going to ask council to direct the city’s chief medical officer of health to do the study, but the officer says it would be too expensive and time-consuming for his office. So, instead, Brooks says he plans to ask council at next week’s meeting of the rural-affairs committee to call on the province to act.

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The “Buy American” provisions of the federal stimulus act could backfire on U.S. companies

Washington state business leaders are stepping up their warnings that the “Buy American” provisions of the federal stimulus act could backfire on U.S. companies, particularly now that a group of Canadian municipalities is threatening retaliation.

“It will have a tremendous impact on our state,” said Don Brunell, president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s biggest business group. “Many of our products include Canadian and American parts — you can’t just buy a piece of equipment purely made in the U.S. or purely made in Canada.”
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