Windsorites speak with one voice – Harper, you are not welcome here!

Prime Minister Harper’s militarized stealth campaign visited Windsor on September 20. Once again despite less than two days notice, a strong contingent opposing his government’s nation-wrecking confronted Harper at both his stops in the Windsor area. Auto and postal workers, teachers and education workers, social workers, students, anti-war and environmental activists, retirees and others brought forward their demands and expressed the diverse reasons for their opposition to the Harper government’s anti-social agenda and attacks on the rights of all.

Harper was greeted and denounced by an advance “welcoming committee” at his first stop at Crest Mold in Oldcastle and then by an even larger crowd at Anchor Danly located in the heart of Windsor.

In keeping with the Prime Minister’s style of keeping Canadians away from his events, both were by invitation only. Pre-approved participants served as a backdrop to present an image of giddy support for Harper and the Conservatives in the Windsor area, which really does not exist. Outside of the Conservative bubble campaign the workers of Windsor are not in any mood to listen to Harper gloat about the fantasy land he talks about that does not jive with the reality of Canada.

The general sentiment of the actions was disdain for the crassness of the Harper campaign that refuses to meet with anyone but its supporters, while at the same time not even acknowledging the real life problems facing the communities it visits. Many who were interviewed at the protest actions said Harper had some nerve bringing his “no to change” line to a place like Windsor where the manufacturing sector is being destroyed and unemployment is the highest in the country, without so much as a peep from him about these problems. They condemned the government for its disregard for the concerns of the people.

The Mayor of Windsor was in attendance at the official Harper event, as was the recently-elected Mayor of Amherstburg. In speaking to local media, they presented themselves as being non-partisan and in support of anyone who may help the area. However, their participation in a private Conservative Party event, as if it were a government announcement, did not fool anyone. The intent to shore up the Harper Conservatives in an area where they will likely lose a seat by presenting them as those in power who can “deliver for municipalities” did not wash. The mayors were roundly denounced for misrepresenting the sentiment of the electorate and abusing their positions as elected officials.

Harper’s manufacturing fund will not sort out any problems of the people

By MARGARET VILLAMIZAR

Margaret Villamizar is the MLPC Candidate in Windsor West.

Margaret Villamizar is the MLPC Candidate in Windsor West

Stephen Harper was in Windsor on September 20 to announce a $100 million dollar Manufacturing Technology Demonstration Fund which, if his party is re-elected to form the next government, would be used to “support large, pre-commercial projects in the advanced manufacturing sector.” It would consist of grants, as opposed to loans. Harper’s proposal is yet another scheme to pay the rich with public funds and consolidate wealth and power in the hands of a rich elite and their monopolies. The people want a new direction for the economy to solve its problems but Harper is oblivious to this demand.

Advanced manufacturing is the use of new and innovative technology in the manufacturing process. In many cases this is synonymous with using advanced technology to eliminate certain types of workers through the use of robots and automation. In the auto sector it has meant the introduction of new assembly lines to eliminate workers and facilitate those who remain doing more work in the same period of time.

Making the announcement Harper stated: “Under our plan, Canadians will benefit from new, major industrial research and development investment and our manufacturing sector will remain competitive in the global marketplace. This new Fund will provide big benefits across the country, but especially those regions where hard-working Canadians rely heavily on jobs in manufacturing.”

Harper’s assertions provide no confidence to the people that the government is actually working to resolve any of the fundamental problems facing Canada’s economy and its economic base. Harper made the announcement in Windsor, a city whose manufacturing base is being wiped out and whose unemployment rate has topped the country on and off since 2008. Claims that the Harper government’s bailout of the auto monopolies has resolved any problems ring hollow amidst subsequent plant closures and blackmail for more money from the government by these same monopolies.

The promise of public funds for private research for a few select companies to the tune of $100 million shows that under the Harper government nation-wrecking and monopoly right will continue. According to the Windsor Star, “[t]he program would give grants ‘not loans’ to promote research and development through major projects in sectors such as automotive, information and communication technology, machinery and equipment.

“The fund would launch in 2017 and be distributed over five years. Applications would be taken from an ‘anchor firm,’ which would collaborate with smaller companies, universities and colleges.”

The announcement in essence means more public funds will be diverted into the hands of private companies. Meanwhile public research and institutions including universities and colleges are starved for financing and students are forced to pay higher tuition costs and take on crushing debt loads. Public research facilities do the work for private companies, which also hire students educated at public institutions without paying daycare, elementary and secondary schools and universities for their education. All this is wrapped up in rosy terms of productivity serving private companies and their global competition without considering the consequences of more production using fewer workers, and the social changes necessary to accommodate such developments. Nor does it consider that those same monopolies have plants everywhere and the competition of which they speak means forcing workers and their communities to compete to destroy their standard of living and way of life. These pay the rich schemes direct the economy to strengthen class privilege, corruption and uneven development bringing yet further concentration and control of social wealth into the hands of the rich and their monopolies. The old direction is not working or viable; Canadians demand and deserve a new direction for the economy that serves the public interest.

For Your Information

Crest Mold Technology and Anchor Danly

Harper made campaign announcements in Windsor at Crest Mold Technology and Anchor Danly.

Crest Mold Technology

According to the company website, Crest Mold Technology specializes in the design and manufacturing of plastic injection molds, “mainly but not limited to all the major automotive [original equipment manufacturers].” The company was founded in 1987 and continues to be locally owned. It has around 60 employees. The molds the workers produce are also used in the communications, electronics, toy and household industries and to make plastic bullets for the Department of National Defence.

In a 2013 interview published in Moldmaking Technology, the company’s manager of research and development said the company was engaged in “ventures” with three universities and had University of Toronto researchers working “hand in hand” with the company’s design staff at the Crest facility for new research into injection molding for Ford Motor Company.

Anchor Danly

Anchor Danly was created in 2005 with the merger of Windsor-based Anchor Lamina, founded in 1975, and Chicago-based IEM Danly. Its current owner is Connell Limited Partnership, Boston, Massachusetts.

According to the company website it is a manufacturer and distributor of die sets, steel plate, fabrications, and industrial supplies with manufacturing locations in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Anchor Danly’s Canadian plants are located in Windsor, where it employs 830 people, as well as in Tilbury, Cambridge and Montreal. It is a supplier for the following industries: automation systems, automotive, defence, forestry, heavy equipment, machine tool, mining, oil & gas, power generation, and rail & locomotive. It is the largest North American manufacturer of large engineered die sets used by automotive and automotive parts makers, with the automotive industry constituting its largest single custom metal parts market.

According to a federal government website, Anchor Danly has $50 million+ in annual sales. There is no indication that workers at either company are unionized.

Coming Event

Say No to the Trans-Pacific Partnership!

Rally at Essex Conservative MP Jeff Watson’s Office
Wednesday September 23 – 7 pm
94 Talbot Street, Essex Ontario

Unifor Local 200’s executive board has called a rally to bring to the public’s attention the threat the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) represents to workers in the auto sector and their communities.

“The Rally is to bring attention to the fact that the Conservatives are about to sign a trade deal called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) that will lead to another 26,000 people in the Auto Sector losing their jobs in Ontario alone,” an invitation for the event points out.

It is believed that the Conservatives will agree to water down the Auto Parts and Assembled Auto content rules in the TPP to levels that are lower than what we currently have in the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA. If they reduce the Auto content rules in the TPP, the 3 trading countries in NAFTA, Canada, United States and Mexico will automatically adopt the newer reduced content rules which will allow the parts sector and the Major Auto sector to outsource more work to the lowest cost jurisdiction,” Local 200 adds.

“Sisters and Brothers, these are our jobs, affecting our families and communities and they are not for sale to the lowest bidder because Stephen Harper wants another Unfair Trade Agreement to garner support in hopes of being re-elected!,” Local 200 points out.

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