OTTAWA – Looming layoffs at Bombardier’s railway car plant in Thunder Bay, Ont., are creating a political row between Queens Park and Parliament Hill.
The federal Liberals and Ontario Tories are blasting each other in a bid to lay political responsibility for the impending loss of 550 jobs at each other’s feet.
Federal Labour Minister Patty Hajdu says in a statement that Ontario Premier Doug Ford failed to deliver on a promised contract for the facility in her hometown that could have saved jobs.
“While our federal government and the hardworking people in my community worked to save jobs at the Bombardier plant, Doug Ford sat on his hands and made empty promises. His government let these critical investments lapse.”
Ontario Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli replied in a tweet that the Liberals should have committed funding to the province’s expansion plan if the federal government “wants to support transit and transit jobs.”
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“That is the best message for workers at Bombardier in Thunder Bay and the people of Ontario,” Fedeli says.
Bombardier Inc. is laying off half of the 1,100 workers at the plant after two major contracts in Ontario – for Toronto Transit Commission streetcars and Metrolinx GO Transit rail cars – are slated to halt by the end of the year.
An official announcement from the company is expected later today.
The transportation giant has been downsizing its aerospace and railway operations for several years as it attempts to improve profitability.
In a statement Tuesday, Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney urged the company to work with her government to come to an agreement to save jobs at the plant.