In June, 2006, I put forward a private member’s motion in the House of Commons regarding the need to mandate Canadian content levels for public transportation projects funded by federal tax dollars.
Finally, after more than 18 months of patient waiting, my private member’s motion (M-183), “Canadian content levels for public transportation projects,” is scheduled for the first hour of Parliamentary debate on Feb. 14.
Here in the northwest, we are keenly aware of the importance of public transportation projects to the local economy. Thunder Bay’s Bombardier plant has endured some lean times in the past few years due to foreign policies such as the “Buy America Act,” which requires 60 percent of the components of U.S. transit vehicles to be sourced in the U.S. and demands that 100 percent of final assembly be performed domestically.
All other G-7 countries also have implemented similar policies.
As a result, Bombardier now has production facilities in every G-7 country in order to compete on these projects, and their leading-edge technologies are carrying passengers around the world.
In Canada, there currently are no policies that require Canadian transit projects to include Canadian content.
This means that when cities such as Toronto, Calgary, or Vancouver use federal tax money to expand their bus, subway, or light rail lines, they can buy a system that is made anywhere—sending millions of our tax dollars to create jobs in China, Mexico, or the United States instead of Canada.
That doesn’t sit right with me!
If our taxes are paying for a new subway car in Toronto or Edmonton, I think that subway car should be made by a Canadian worker.
I believe that “ABC Subway Company” should have to open a production facility in this country if it wants to profit from taxes that are paid by you and me—the same way that Bombardier and New Flyer have to operate a plant in the U.S. so they can build a subway car or bus for the City of New York.
As your MP, I am your voice in Ottawa and I need the strength of many to give my voice the power to be heard.
I ask that you show your support for this motion by signing a petition at my constituency office and encouraging your friends, family, and co-workers to do the same.