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Harper to Ontario auto workers: Let them eat cake (or move to Alberta)


Real nice compassionate fuzzy warm response Harper gives to Ontario auto workers, as Jeff mentions over at his blogpost:

“I think you have to be honest with people. The government can’t go in and say ‘we can guarantee your job.’ We can’t guarantee your job,” Harper said…”But in most areas, people have been able to get other jobs and in most areas, disposable incomes continue to increase. So it isn’t just that they’re getting new jobs. They’re often getting new jobs that pay just as well or better,” he said.

As both Jeff and Kevin over at Pogge have said at their sites, I don’t think auto workers in Ontario want job guarantees, but they do want a federal government who will assist them in finding that new job if they lose it, or else give some direction. However, Harper has given them the “let them eat cake” answer.. or maybe it’s the “Move to Alberta and work in the oilpatch” answer. Regardless, he comes across as very insensitive and indifferent to the Ontario manufacturing sector once again.

Ontario Premier Dalton Mcguinty came out with a statement basically giving the advice to Ontarions that they should vote for the party who they feel will best treat Ontario fairly and take their concerns seriously. If Ontarions need any further examples of how this Conservative party and their leader isn’t the party who will do that (remember Finance Minister Flaherty disparaging his own province and saying there was no reason for any companies to invest there) , then this statement by Harper would be further evidence of that disregard for Ontario.

UPDATE @ 4:52 pm: Wow. If this is true, Harper actually told this union leader of the struggling forest industry that not only would there would be no bailout and that they should let the market determine if they keep their jobs, he suggested that they could always move to Ft. McMurray and get jobs there:

..the National President of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, Dave Coles told Newfoundland and Labrador’s VOCM radio today that Prime Minister Harper personally told him that there would be no package to support the newsprint industry. The union leader said Prime Minister Harper told him in a private meeting that anyone who loses their jobs can move to Fort McMurray, Alberta. “Forest industry workers should just let the market decide, and if you lose your job, and he (Harper) said this to me personally, you could always go to Fort McMurray. And I think that’s insulting for forestry workers and pulp and paper workers.

I thought Harper was supposed to be the Prime Minister of Canada, not the Premier of Alberta.. or the Premier of Alberta’s official business and trade representative in Ottawa telling people to go to Alberta to look for work, because that’s what he sure sounds like right now. A Real sensitive and fuzzy-warmy guy that Harper. 🙄

UPDATE 2 @ 12:20 am: Some more reaction across the progressive blogosphere to Harper’s shrug-off to those who aren’t living in Alberta.


10 comments to Harper to Ontario auto workers: Let them eat cake (or move to Alberta)

  • Carrie

    I’m beginning to hate Alberta, in the same way Quebec has always ticked me off.

    Canada is supposed to function as a united country. We’ve suffered Quebec holding us hostage. Now it seems Alberta is doing the same. They keep their resources to themselves and don’t care about anyone else in Canada.

    The last thing this country needs is a PM who only likes one part of Canada. He should care about the whole country.

    As for the auto and forestry industries, I do agree those workers need to realize their industries are not going to recover to previous levels. BUT the government should have retraining and education incentives to help those who want to get out. It’s not the Canadian way to abandon citizens. At least, I didn’t that’s what we were. I thought that was the American way – you too can be a success but if you fail, tough. Ugh.

  • First, that is a wonderfully bad picture; the Liberals would be foolish not to plaster it on everything in sight. Far worse than the shrug.

    Second, this all points to a central issue in the campaign, which is “is Harper really the best guy on the economy?” It’s certainly presumed so, because conservatives spend a lot of time and money pushing that, but the Republicans have a terrible track record and the Liberals have an excellent one.

    Anything that makes the public go “waiiit a second” on Harper’s supposed economic management skills is useful. “Screw your jobs, you don’t live in Alberta” is going to do that if anything does.

  • ted

    Finally some Harper straight talk.
    We get too much pandering from politicians of all sides.

  • Manitoba Liberal

    Look I’m a Liberal and will never vote for Harper, but it really is time that people in dying industries heard the hard truth. The government should make sure these people being shifted into the new economy have the training and education to find new jobs, but it is not the governments job to create false economies to keep people in places without work. Dion should come out and say that the Liberals will work with booming places like Calgary, Saskatoon, and Fort McMurray to develop infrtastructure to handle the migration from dying places like Winsdor.

  • underwhelmed

    I don’t know why anyone would be surprised at Harper’s responses to workers who’ve lost their jobs. It’s one of the basic principles of neo-conservatism that the market giveth and the market taketh away, and if you’re one of those unfortunate inputs who has become unemployed through no fault of your own, tough. It’s not the job of the government to care.

  • @JK

    You’re a tad off-topic JK. But I still believe that Palin in the end will be exposed as a right-wing extremist to the American public, as well as one with severe ethical problems.. and McCain will still be regretting his hastily chosen unvetted VP pick.

    And now.. as I mention in my update.. we have a Forestry union leader claiming that Harper directly told him that if they lose jobs, they can move to Ft. McMurray. Way to represent the whole country, Harper.

  • A non-emu's opinion

    Because, after all, what we really need here in Alberta is more people looking for a place to live.

    Thanks, Stephen.

  • JK


    I am sorry just, after seeing your political smarts over Sarah Palin….LMAO

    Well, all I can say is… I am so glad your a LPC fan….

  • […] still not impressed. Why? Well, Harper is offering this little tax credit and yet he seems utterly disinterested in shoring up the future of the manufacturing economy in southern Ontario (or replacing it with another sort of industry). If people don’t have jobs, or fear that they […]

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