NDP $300M auto plan promise is 'long overdue' say union reps

The NDP are proposing a national automotive strategy as they're on the campaign trail in Windsor, Ont. 

According to the party, the promise is "real commitment" to get auto manufacturers back in the country.

"We need trade that will protect jobs in our country and protect working people," said Essex candidate Tracey Ramsey. 

The NDP's vision includes a $300 million "Auto Innovation Fund" which Ramsey said is standing up for automotive workers across Ontario. 

Local union representatives welcomed the announcement, saying the auto plan is something that's been missing for the last decade. 

"This announcement is long overdue," said Emile Nabbout, president of Unifor Local 195. 

Unifor Local 200 president John D'Agnolo agreed.

"We've been asking for that plan or many years," said D'Agnolo. 

D'Agnolo said 100,000 jobs have been lost since the last auto sector plan was in place. 

"We absolutely need a policy in place to protect [something like Nemak] from happening," said D'Agnolo. "We're tired of it. We're frustrated."

Dale Molnar/CBC

According to D'Agnolo, we wouldn't have an auto industry in southwestern Ontario without the previously-existing auto policy. 

D'Agnolo said he thinks more auto manufacturers would come build in Canada if an auto policy existed.

"We have to go on the offence," said candidate Brian Masse, using the Pacifica as an example.

"A $300 million subsidy program went out and [the Pacifica] didn't make the list," said Masse. "They didn't include the one vehicle made by the people in our community."

Masse said the Pacfica shouldn't the "sole survivor" but the leader of innovation. 

"We can't sit around and wait anymore," said Masse, promising the separate auto plan fund.