Electro-Motive is in London, Ontario, but next time it could be us

Picture of Ted HsuI call on the Conservative federal government to try to help the more than 400 workers in London, Ontario, who risk the loss of their jobs unless they agree to give up more than half of their salary.

Electro-Motive Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. giant Caterpillar, locked out the workers on Jan. 1, after giving them a take-it-or-leave-it demand that would devastate these workers and their families.

Stephen Harper went to London in 2008 to personally announce a $5 million federal tax break to help Electro-Motive sell its locomotives. Now that the company threatens to pull the rug from under its employees’ feet, Harper needs to say to Caterpillar, ‘Okay we gave you a tax break, and last week you announced very healthy profits, yet you are threatening to leave and take jobs out of Canada. Now where is our return on investment for Canadian workers and their families?’

The government has been saying day in and day out in the House of Commons that corporate tax cuts are needed to create new jobs. If this is what happens when such cuts are made, then hard-working Canadians are really in trouble.

The ability of across-the-board corporate tax cuts to create jobs in the current economic climate is dubious at best. Interest rates are low and corporations are sitting on cash because there is low demand for capital – the opportunities for corporations to invest, grow and create jobs are relatively few and far between.

And yet, the Harper government is having Canadians borrow money to further cut corporate taxes in 2012. Canadians deserve to know that jobs actually are created when they subsidize international corporations with tax breaks.

The Conservatives often tout their ‘strong majority’ government. Well, the time has come to put that ‘strong majority’ to some good use by twisting some arms to help protect Canadian jobs at a company that has received a special government tax break.

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