The Ontario Health Coalition; Friends of Four Counties Hospital; Mayor of West Elgin and Warden of Elgin-County, Graham Warwick;and former city councilor of Newbury, Monte McNaughton criticized the McGuinty government’s plans for its Rural and Northern Health Panel for lack of public consultations. Noting that many devastating cuts and closures are already underway, the group called for a moratorium pending proper public consultations and a review of the current cuts.
The government announced the Panel in response to a major protest against hospital cuts and closures, involving thousands of residents from small and rural communities in front of the Ontario Legislature last April. However, when it finally released the Terms of Reference for the Health Minister’s Panel on Rural and Northern Care, there is not a single mention of hospitals. In addition, there are no plans for public consultations until after the panel completes its work this winter; too late for many of the small and rural hospital cuts and closures now underway.
TORONTO — The impact of the closure of a Ford assembly plant in southwestern Ontario will extend far beyond the plant itself, costing the region thousands of spinoff jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue, according to union officials and local politicians.
Ford (NYSE:F) announced Friday the plant in St. Thomas, near London, will close in 2011 due to a lack of demand for the full-sized sedans it produces.
The closure of a major manufacturing facility can be disastrous to the region in which it’s located, and Canadian Auto Workers president Ken Lewenza estimated that 6,000 spinoff jobs will be lost above and beyond the 1,400 workers directly employed by the plant.
In a last-ditch effort to save the St. Thomas assembly plant, the province and Canadian Auto Workers made offers of cash and unprecedented concessions — but Ford Motor Co. said no.
The province offered as much as $150 million and the union told the company to cherry-pick details of any collective agreement and put it on the table, CAW national president Ken Lewenza said yesterday.
“(Ford of Canada vice-president) Joe Hendricks told me directly he could not get a better deal from any government than the one the Ontario government was prepared to put in front of Ford Motor Co. He was clear about that,” Lewenza said. “They were prepared to do more than any jurisdiction in the world. The Ontario government was prepared to be a major player.”
Instead, Ford will close the St. Thomas assembly plant in September 2011, cutting 1,600 jobs.