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Lobby To Save Oshawa-Not The Auto Industry

The auto industry is dead.

That means the CAW is foolish to waste its lobbying efforts by demanding that automakers keep plants open in Ontario towns like Windsor, Oshawa and St. Thomas.

Car and truck manufacturing plants are closing, or scheduled to close, in all three towns. The decline of the auto industry will throw tens of thousands of skilled workers out of work, and devastate the towns-particularly Oshawa, where GM is the largest employer.

On Friday, CAW posted an open call for financial support of the Canadian auto industry. If they’re asking for funds to lobby automakers to stay open in Canada, that’s foolish. If, however, they’re asking for money to directly support front line workers who have been laid off, then the funds make far more sense.

Especially since GM is saying on its Facts And Fiction website that one way they’ve improved business is by reducing their salaried workforce.

I am concerned for the citizens of Oshawa, Windsor and St. Thomas. But all signs say that the auto industry has had its moment in the sun.

Consumers are driving less in order to be more active and to help the environment. Gas prices are making it prohibitive to use cars-especially trucks and SUVs-on a regular basis. Add that the world’s supply of fossil fuel stands to run out in a matter of decades, and you have an industry that’s rapidly becoming part of the past.

So why waste so much energy-no pun intended-on saving a dying industry when what matters more is saving the welfare of autoworkers and their towns?

A far better government relations plan is to lobby other industries to bring their manufacturing sectors to cities like Oshawa. It’s a perfect situation for new business: a massive pool of skilled workers ready for hire, existing plants that need only be modified to suit the new product, and just a matter of hours from Toronto.

Recycling plants are a new reality in the 21st century-why not build them in Windsor? Better still, lobby GM to focus on development of its hybrid vehicles, and have them manufactured in Oshawa or St. Thomas.

Much needs to be done, and immediately, to help the citizens of auto-manufacturing based cities and towns. But fighting to keep car plants open when all signs say there’s no need for them is completely backward.

The auto industry is dead. So what matters now is making sure cities like Windsor, Oshawa and St. Thomas all stay alive.

Which other event are u attending?


“Gas prices are making it prohibitive to use cars … on a regular basis.”
– humm

Gas prices may make it tougher to stomach frequent driving but most of the population has no other way of getting around! Try living and working in London, ON and getting groceries without a car. It’s do-able but the public transportation systems outside large cities like Toronto (and some would argue inside the cities as well) are inconvenient at best and non-existent at worse leaving people to rely on autos regardless of how expensive they are to run.

You said over and over “The auto industry is dead” but I don’t see that ever happening. A large part of the population will always want to have control over their own comings and goings.
The North American Auto Industry is in crisis. Will the big three make it? Maybe not; the real PR story is how poorly they have handled this crisis – which has been happening for the last six years at least. Better decisions and more creative solutions would have gone a long way to stop the slump in its tracks. Should PR professionals have had a hand with the design and release of some of the more recent vehicles?

For example, the Ford Ranger was the vehicle of choice for my girlfriends and many young women around North America eight years ago. But instead of embracing that unlikely demographic, Ford pushed them away by making the truck more “rugged” and utilitarian.

Perhaps you meant the auto industry in Canada is dead. My extended family has more than 30 vehicles – all made by the big three. They are great cars! It’s a family tradition. We’re not alone either – many families support the big three based on tradition and nationalistic feelings. Unfortunately, I think that’s not enough to help the auto industry survive. But what a fantastic opportunity there is if Ford, GM, or Chrysler would just tap into it!

Christie Adams

Then we’re both on parallel tracks of thought (and there’s another idea: whatever happened to supporting rail as a means of transport?).

I agree, the Big Three have definitely botched their own PR campaigns, as has the CAW-now, rather than make adjustments for the future (hybrid and green fuel technology) they’re clinging to an archaic past, and want the government to pay for them to stay there.

That attitude is not going to sell more cars-more importantly, it’s not going to help the thousands of out-of-work GM, Ford and Daimler employees.

The auto industry is in trouble, and I think it certainly will die-at the very least because we’ll eventually run out of the fuel needed to power the things.

Future PR campaigns for the Big Three need to focus on change (the buzzword of the week!) rather than staying exactly the same.

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