All is quiet on the Navistar front

When and if Navistar’s idled Richmond Street truck plant re-opens remain in serious doubt.

No new talks are scheduled despite a willingness by the Canadian Auto Worker’s union and the company to return to the bargaining table.

The plant’s 350 workers have been idled since the June 30th expiration of a three-year contract.

A brief meeting in Windsor two weeks ago between both sides was just that — brief.

“The company is sticking to its original proposal to greatly downsize the Chatham operation,” said national CAW representative Joe McCabe.

McCabe admitted the lengthy closure of one of Chatham-Kent’s largest manufacturing facilities is creating a huge financial burden for its unemployed workers and the community in general.
Full story

Six points about the fire arms registry (a response)

Posted by Ian:
In response to the most recent City Scope column (Nov. 28/09 below) Bruce N. Mills documents (complete with footnotes) a half-dozen key argument points to consider in support of “10,000 — a number worth investigating further” …

Point One: Criminals – who by definition are the most dangerous to public safety – don’t register their guns! The registry can’t tell cops where these guns are.

Point Two: the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is nothing more than a special interest lobby group of appointed politicians, who receive hundreds of thousands of tax dollars from the very departments they lobby to.[1] They also received large donations from TASER Int., and CGI, the company that built the firearms registry system [2]. You can guess why they support these two items. (I also understand attendees at a recent convention were papered with Celine Dion tickets – Ian)
Continue reading

10,000 — a number worth investigating further

Compared to figures in the billions and even trillions we read about daily relating to deficits and bailouts, a number in the thousands is a minuscule drop in the bucket.
Take the figure 10,000 for example — a sum being bandied about in many quarters as the number of times the national gun registry is accessed on a daily basis.
It’s gospel according to the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and front and centre in material being distributed by the Canadian Labour Congress in their campaign to maintain the long gun registry which could soon be dismantled if Bill C-391 passes final vote.
However, upon closer inspection, the daily figure of 10,000 just doesn’t pass muster. Yes indeed, the registry does receive that many daily hits on average, but closer scrutiny is warranted.
Continue reading

Good news for recession-battered St. Thomas

Formet Industries, St. Thomas

Magna International (MGa.TO) said on Monday that it has won a contract to make the third generation of frames for General Motors Co’s [GM.UL] full-size light-duty pickups and sport utility vehicles.

Magna said it would not disclose the amount of the contract. It said the new frames would replace GM’s GMT 900, which is the frame for the big Chevy Suburbans, Tahoes, and Silvarados.

The frames will be built at plants owned by Magna’s Cosma unit in St. Thomas, Ontario, and Saltillo, Mexico, which currently make the GMT 900.

St. Thomas/Elgin needs to go green to jump-start economy, says Jack Layton

From the Times-Journal:
An industrial strategy, taking aim at eco-friendly jobs and technology, is what’s needed to help the flagging economy in Elgin-St. Thomas.
So said federal NDP leader Jack Layton who, Friday, met with a dozen local labour leaders, including representatives from Ford’s St. Thomas Assembly Plant, at the CAW Hall, north of Talbotville.
Irene Mathyssen, NDP MP for London-Fanshawe, attended as well.
“The message is unanimous: Manufacturing is in a crisis here and the federal government just doesn’t understand the magnitude of it,” Layton said. “What we need is an industrial strategy that’s going to put this, (the) best manufacturing work force in the world, back to work.”
Continue reading

Both sides shoot from the hip in gun registry debate

Don’t scrap the national gun registry, instead fix it, advised St. Thomas Police Chief Bill Lynch on the front page of last Saturday’s Times-Journal.
Lynch told the T-J he supports the position of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police that the current registry, even with its flaws, should be maintained.
He added police see the registry as a valuable tool front line officers use often when answering calls, especially ones like domestic disturbances.
“Historically, there has been a lot of controversy about it,” Lynch admitted. “It could be more efficient, probably.”
But the answer is not to tear it down or get it rid of it, he believes.
“Let’s try to fix what we have,” he suggested.
Continue reading

A dozen affordable rental housing units announced for St. Thomas

ST. THOMAS, ON, Nov. 20 /CNW/ – The Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and the City of St.Thomas celebrated the start of construction of 12 affordable rental units in two housing developments. The developments are supported by over $924,000 in funding through the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program.

Joe Preston, Member of Parliament for Elgin-Middlesex-London, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and Steve Peters, Member of Provincial Parliament for Elgin-Middlesex-London on behalf of the Government of Ontario; along with Cliff Barwick, Mayor of St.Thomas, made the announcement.
Continue reading

The (Proudly Built in St. Thomas) Police Interceptor Is Dead. Long Live The Police Interceptor!

According to Ford, the new Police Interceptor was developed in conjunction with the automaker’s Police Advisory Board and will exceed the Crown Victoria’s abilities in performance, durability and safety. “We have heard the repeated requests from the law enforcement community to continue uninterrupted support of the law enforcement community,” Ford’s Mark Fields said in a statement. “Ford is answering the call with the new Police Interceptor – engineered and built in America.”

We’re assuming Fields doesn’t mean North America. A “Made in USA” label would differentiate the new Police Interceptor from most of its competitors and even the original Crown Victoria, which was most recently built in St. Thomas, Ontario. Chevy is planning to import the new Caprice from Australia — it’s a rebadged Holden Statesman — and the Dodge Charger is made in Brampton, Ontario.
Full story

George Smitherman cares about St. Thomas heritage, why doesn’t Aileen Carroll?

On November 28th,2009 it will have been 18 long months since we lost beautiful and historic Alma College in St.Thomas,Ontario.In this time many letters and e-mails have been sent to you requesting 96 Moore Street be given Provincial Heritage Designation.The property alone is deserving of the honor,however since 2 of the original buildings are still standing,along with the outdoor amphi-theatre,its only fitting that after close to 130 years of service Alma College gave to our province,the only right thing to do,would be to honor what remains,so future generatons will be able to enjoy part of the legacy,once the chapel,music building and outdoor amphi-theatre are fully restored.Alma College was lost in a horrific fire,that was deliberately set,and if not for the political bumbling of politicians,the college may very well be on its way to full restoration,instead we are trying to save what remains,with little to no interest,on the part of the culture ministry.We can’t go back in time,but we can capture a part of yesterday,by restoring the 2 remaining buildings and outdoor amphi-theatre,We are asking the provincial government to step to the plate and designate the property and assist in the restoration of 96 Moore Street.It’s not only the right thing to do,but in the interest of history,its the just thing to do…

Bob Foster