Ted Arnott, MPP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2013
Manufacturing job losses no myth, Hudak tells Premier
(Queen’s Park) – Premier Kathleen Wynne’s comments that the loss of Ontario’s manufacturing jobs is a
“myth” and that Ontario’s jobs situation is “trending in the right direction” came under fire by Ontario PC
Leader Tim Hudak during Question Period in the Ontario Legislature on April 24.
“Premier, I don’t know if this simply reflects that your government has become out of touch, increasingly
arrogant, or whatever you want to call it. I ask you, how do those types of attitudes attract a single job to
the province of Ontario?” Mr. Hudak asked the Premier.
The pending loss of 350 manufacturing jobs at the A.O. Smith (formerly GSW) plant in Fergus is proof
that the Premier should apologize for these out of touch comments, Mr. Hudak continued.
“I spoke with folks in that situation. I had a conversation with the member. I spoke with folks in Fergus in
the A.O. Smith plant, and I know that that’s a difficult and painful situation; I understand that,” the Premier
Mr. Hudak acknowledged the work of Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott in support of A.O. Smith
workers and his past efforts to draw attention to the challenges facing Ontario’s manufacturing sector.
“The member for Wellington-Halton Hills rang those alarm bells eight years ago,” noted Mr. Hudak.
“I really appreciate the fact that Tim focused all of his Leader’s questions that day on the manufacturing
jobs crisis in Fergus,” Mr. Arnott said after Question Period. “I want to continue to do everything I can to
help and I appreciate his support.”
Upon learning the news that A.O. Smith would be cutting production in Fergus, Mr. Arnott reached out to
Township of Centre Wellington officials, the company and union representatives, the Premier’s Office,
Minister of Economic Development, the Minister of Training, and many others. He joined Mayor Joanne
Ross-Zuj to visit the plant on April 4th, the very day after the announcement. He has also raised the
issue in the Ontario Legislature several times, including questioning the Premier directly on April 8.
(Attached: The Hansard record of Mr. Hudak’s questions to the Government from Question Period and
their responses, April 24, 2013)
– 30 –
Ontario Hansard – 24-April 2013
Mr. Tim Hudak: My question is to the Premier. Yesterday your Minister of Finance said that Ontario was the
lowest-cost and lowest-tax jurisdiction in North America. I think you know that’s not even close to being true.
Your lead on the gas plant committee compared the abuse at the gas plants to a rocket shot to the moon, in terms of
being a worthwhile investment. You yourself, in a headline in the Toronto Star on April 3, said that the death of
Ontario’s manufacturing sector is a myth.
Premier, I don’t know if this simply reflects that your government has become out of touch, increasingly arrogant,
or whatever you want to call it. I ask you, how do those types of attitudes attract a single job to the province of
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Well, you know, I believe in talking up Ontario and making sure people understand
that this is a place where business can thrive.
The comment about manufacturing arose out of the 10 jobs round tables that I did around the province with some of
the ministers in the cabinet, where we talked to people who are in manufacturing who are hiring folks, who are
talking to us about how we can invest in innovation to in fact grow the manufacturing sector, and how important it
is that we not lose sight of the fact that Ontario is an important manufacturing centre.
That’s where that comment came from-talking up Ontario, making sure we understand that we can draw industry
and investment to the province, rather than denigrating the province, which makes no sense to me at all.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?
Mr. Tim Hudak: Respectfully, Premier, it’s not talk that’s going to get Ontario moving forward; it’s making the
right decisions to grow our economy, to rein in spending, to take Ontario down a very different path.
I do want to focus particularly on the plight of the manufacturing sector. We’ve lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs
under the McGuinty-Wynne Liberal government. Sadly, A.O. Smith in Fergus got the news recently that they’re
closing down and moving to Tennessee with 350 jobs.
My colleague from Wellington-Halton Hills, Ted Arnott, has been a champion for the manufacturing sector. He
went to the plant himself to try to fight for those jobs, to keep them here in the province of Ontario. Ted is doing the
right thing, but it really hurts his ability to attract jobs to the province when the Premier says that the death of
manufacturing in Ontario is a myth. Premier, will you apologize for making those dramatically out-of-touch
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I spoke with folks in that situation. I had a conversation with the member. I spoke with
folks in Fergus in the A.O. Smith plant, and I know that that’s a difficult and painful situation; I understand that.
But the reality is that if we are going to thrive as a province, we need to recognize that bringing business to the
province is absolutely a possibility, and it’s happening. We have regained 400,000 jobs since the downturn. It’s
absolutely necessary. So we’re making sure that we understand the conditions, making sure we understand what the
infrastructure is that’s needed, so that we can create those conditions so that business will come to the province.
That’s what we’ve been doing; that’s what we will continue to do, Mr. Speaker. And I would hope that the member
opposite would be part of that endeavour.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Final supplementary.
Mr. Tim Hudak: I talk about one individual. His name is Dan Bailey. I think, Ted, you’ve known Dan your entire
life. Dan would be in his early fifties, and he lost his job at A.O. Smith, part of the decline in the manufacturing
sector that you call a myth. Ted himself, Mr. Arnott, from Wellington-Halton Hills-I apologize, Speaker-has now
for probably eight years been highlighting the trend downwards in manufacturing jobs. He has brought good ideas
to the table. He fights for folks like Dan Bailey. Mr. Bailey, in his early fifties, is going to have a very difficult time
getting back into the job market to provide for his family, to pay off the mortgage.
Premier, I’ll ask you again, when you see this type of circumstance in Ontario, don’t you think you’re wrong to say
the decline of manufacturing is a myth, and isn’t your obligation to support the policies that the member has brought
forward, to actually create jobs, open us up for investment to get Ontario-
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Thank you.
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: The fact that nearly 32,000 manufacturing jobs have been recovered since the
recessionary low-I think that’s a good-news story, Mr. Speaker. I think that’s something we should focus on.
On top of that, I will just say there are members here today of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. They have
come from all across the province, Mr. Speaker, and they-
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): That will do. Thank you.
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: The members of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture know that it is extremely
important that in Ontario we understand the importance of the agri-food industry, that we understand that
manufacturing includes the agriculture community and includes the agri-food industry, and that innovation in that
community, along with in automotive, in natural resources, in agriculture, film, small business-all of that is how we
are going to thrive. That’s why we’ve been able to regain 32,000 manufacturing jobs, and we’re going to continue on
that path as Ontario grows.
Mr. Tim Hudak: Back to the Premier, Speaker: I mentioned the challenges that somebody like Mr. Bailey is going
to face. The 300,000 jobs that used to be in our manufacturing sector have now left for other jurisdictions like
Tennessee, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. Sadly, while the Premier was visiting, I think, Wellington county,
she said the following in response to the loss of jobs at A.O. Smith. She said, “We’re trending in the right
Premier, when you look at the 350 jobs lost at A.O. Smith, when we find that Wescast in Wingham just laid off
more people yesterday, when Stanpac in Smithville is forced to contemplate sending jobs to Texas instead of
Ontario because of our hydro rates, don’t you think it’s time to take a different course, to actually rein in spending,
lower taxes, get hydro rates under control? Isn’t that the way to bring jobs back?
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Thank you.
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: We know that global competition for manufacturing is-
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Oxford, come to order.
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: We understand that. We recognize that we have to take strong action in order to be
competitive, and we’ve been doing that, which is why 32,000 manufacturing jobs have been regained since the
recession. So it’s extremely important.
I understand that there is a painful reality that when a particular plant closes or a particular business leaves, those
jobs are lost. That is a painful reality. I understand that. But we have to focus as a government, and I would think
everyone in the Legislature has to focus, on how we make sure people have the right skills so that we can make sure
that they get the jobs that are available, because one of the things that manufacturers say to me is, “We’re looking
for skilled trades. We’re looking for people who have a particular skill set.” Our responsibility is to make sure we
match the labour force with the labour market.
Those jobs will come to the province. We will have that investment, but only if we are positive and we put the
conditions in place.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Member from Chatham, come to order.
Mr. Tim Hudak: Thank you, Speaker.
I don’t doubt that the Premier has empathy for Mr. Bailey and the 350 people who lost their jobs at A.O. Smith and
those who lost their jobs at John Deere and Caterpillar. But the challenge is, I don’t think your government
understands the cause of the problem, nor do I believe, Premier, that the Liberal government has an understanding
of how to actually move us forward and restore hope to those who have lost hope in our province, who are out of
We’ve brought forward policies to lower taxes in this province and actually get energy rates under control, to drain
that swamp of red tape and regulation and runaround that is, contrary to your finance minister’s opinion, the most
burdensome in all of Canada. We’ve put those ideas on the table.
Premier, this should be an alarm bell for you to hit the brakes and go in the opposite direction. Instead of trying to
be more like California, why don’t you give our policies a chance and restore hope for those without jobs in the
province of Ontario?
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment.
Hon. Eric Hoskins: I would have to say that when it comes to A.O. Smith, we are doing everything we can as a
government to support those workers, who are in a very precarious situation, and we’re certainly, both through the
Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, working with all partners-the unions, the company involved, the
local mayor and the other leadership, including the member representing Wellington. So we’re working hard to do
I talked to the mayor last week as well. We’ve offered to make available to those communities our Communities in
Transition fund, our Southwestern Ontario Development Fund-which, of course, the member opposite, the official
opposition, opposed its creation. It’s an issue that we’re taking very seriously. We know that those are jobs that are
going to be lost in the coming months, so we’re working hard to make sure that those workers can transition into
When it comes to the manufacturing sector, if in the supplementary I have an opportunity to speak to that, I will
enjoy that opportunity.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary?
Mr. Tim Hudak: I don’t doubt that the minister is attempting to respond. He has called the mayor. I just wish you
had taken action in the nine years before this plant closed down. The member for Wellington-Halton Hills rang
those alarm bells eight years ago. We’ve brought forward ideas to grow the economy, to create jobs. I believe the
manufacturing sector can make a comeback in Ontario. I believe our better days are yet to come.
But let me ask you this: If you’ve embarked on policies for nine years that ramped up government spending, that
plunged us towards doubling our debt and you’re contemplating raising taxes again, don’t you understand that’s
going to cost us more jobs; that’s going to dig the hole deeper? It’s time to go down a bold new course. Look at our
plan. We’ll turn the province around and we’ll bring good manufacturing jobs back to the province of Ontario.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please.
Hon. Eric Hoskins: Here’s where I disagree. Our manufacturing sector in this province is making a comeback, and
it’s making a comeback partly because this party and this government supported the auto sector at a time when the
official opposition didn’t.
Let me also say that in terms of manufacturing sales, the member opposite, the leader of the official opposition,
might be interested to know that manufacturing sales rose in eight provinces in February, led by this province; led
In foreign direct investment, this jurisdiction here in Ontario is the third-best jurisdiction in all of North America
for foreign direct investment, and let me give you an example that in fact the Speaker might be familiar with. Just
last Friday, an announcement was made in Brantford where a company called Hematite, which supports the auto
sector, received $1.5 million from the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund. They’ve added another line;
they’re doubling employment in the next two years. The president of that company, John Pavanel, said, “Without
the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund”-
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. New question.