Ottawa, Queen’s Park to announce Toyota investments
OTTAWA—The federal government will announce a multimillion-dollar investment in Toyota’s Ontario manufacturing plants Friday, an announcement that was moved up ahead of the expected election call this weekend.
Conservative MP Gary Goodyear, the federal minister of state who oversees economic development initiatives in southern Ontario, will make the announcement Friday.
The investments, which include contributions by Toyota and Queen’s Park, will help the manufacturer develop a new auto part for export to the U.S. as well as to retrofit a facility for production of a Lexus vehicle, a federal source told the Star.
Some 8,000 workers already work at the Cambridge and Woodstock plants and the new funding will help preserve those positions, the source said.
“We know how essential the sector is to long-term growth of the Ontario economy,” he told the Star
The announcement will also help the Tories burnish their job-creation credentials in the face of attacks by both Liberals and New Democrats that Ottawa has not done enough to preserve valuable manufacturing jobs in the province.
Just last week, NDP Thomas Mulcair highlighted the issue during a swing through southern Ontario, where he said manufacturing “had taken a beating” under the Tories’ time in government.
With Prime Minister Stephen Harper expected to pull the trigger sometime this weekend on a marathon election campaign, Conservatives are keen to roll out the good news.
Friday’s announcement was moved up by a week, apparently at the behest of the federal government.
“We heard about it yesterday,” said an Ontario government source. “It was planned for Aug. 7.”
“We were surprised. We’re trying to make it work.”
Two government insiders said the Toyota announcement is one of many that has been accelerated with the federal government jockeying for advantage in advance of an election call.
“These guys randomly moved everything from the next two weeks into today and tomorrow. They’re going full steam ahead,” one of the sources said Thursday.
“Every time we emailed them to ask why they ignored us or would say they couldn’t comment . . . we’re worried this weekend there will be more.”
Ontario officials confirmed the province will contribute a $ 42-million grant to Toyota. The automaker is expected to contribute more than $ 400 million and Ottawa will provide a $ 58-million loan.
Premier Kathleen Wynne, who had been slated to attend the event, will not be there Friday. Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid will represent the province.
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