Union slams Conservative ad showing ill-fated Camaro assembly line

Canada Politics
A screenshot from the Conservatives' "Proven Leadership" ad.

The union representing workers at a General Motors plant in Oshawa is upset over one of Stephen Harper’s latest ads and its depiction of an assembly line for a car that will soon be assembled in the United States.
“This ad shows just how out of touch this government has become,” said Jerry Dias, the president of Unifor National

The Conservative ad, titled “Proven Leadership,” was released Monday in an attempt to portray Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a strong leader, capable of making tough decisions.

The ad is also an obvious knock against Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, without naming the Papineau MP in the video, who the Conservatives say is not up for the job of being prime minister.

But Unifor members aren’t happy with the government or with the GM’s plans to ship production of the Camaro muscle car elsewhere.

“Sitting back while good jobs leave the country is not proven leadership,” said Dias.

The shot of the Chevy Camaro is, at the very least, an awkward blunder on the part of the Conservatives.

It’s been known for a couple of years that Chevrolet would be moving its production of the Camaro to the United States but at the end of April the company announced the last car would roll off the assembly line in November of this year, with 1,000 job losses at the Oshawa plant a result. Production will then shift to Lansing, Michigan.

“This government has overseen an incredible loss of jobs in the manufacturing sector, and has absolutely failed to create a meaningful strategy to rebuild and maintain the sector.”

He added that the Conservative government under Harper sold its shares in GM, giving up influence in what would happen to the company in the future “at this crucial time.”

But Conservative spokesperson Cory Hann defended the party’s advertisement. He said earlier this week that the ad speaks for itself, and shows what Canadians already know — “that being prime minister is not an entry-level job and requires proven leadership to make hard decisions.”

GM also did some damage control after the ad was released and reached out to media, including the CBC, noting that the company is still doing a lot of work in Canada and that, for example, the Camaro’s engine will be produced on Canadian soil.

The Conservative Party’s ad is just one out of many that came out this week. The Conservatives, as well as the NDP and Liberal Party, are in pre-election campaign mode, and beginning to release attack ads or basic promotional advertisements, starting to frame how the election campaign battles might be fought in the lead up to the expected October election.