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.”

A key part of that strategy is a move toward producing green technology, particularly eco-friendly vehicles, to give the economy the boost it needs. Facilities to do just that are available in St. Thomas and Elgin county.
“We’ve got a growing population and a demand for this kind of green energy efficiency products. Are we going to let them be built somewhere else or are they going to be built here?” he said.
Layton continued that the NDP Industry Critic Brian Masse is going to press for an industrial strategy on Parliament Hill.
“The opportunity is clearly there, why is the federal government not seizing the opportunity?”
Also coming out of Friday’s meeting was the decision to set up a working group, focused on a green economy, to bring jobs and industry back to the area.
“Why can’t we build windmills and solar panels in Canada, preferrably here in St. Thomas,” queried Ryan Dolby, president of the Elgin-Middlesex-London NDP Riding Association. “We’re going to meet very shortly to see what we can do to bring jobs into the St. Thomas area.”
Fred Sinclair, president of CAW Local 2168 which represents workers at Lear Seating, hopes something productive will come out of the meeting.
“I found there was a lot of input on items Jack and Irene could take back to Ottawa and try to get changes to help laid-off workers in the area,” he said.
“The NDP have been a labour supporter. They’ve been out there and they’ve been listening to us. They’re not throwing hogwash into the air.”

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