By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
After a sit-down with local businesses and labour leaders, Oshawa’s MP Colin Carrie is sure of one thing, any further tariffs from the United States, especially those placed on the auto sector, could have a ripple effect across Durham’s economy.
Carrie, as the Conservative’s shadow cabinet secretary for Canada-U.S. relations and economic development, hosted a meeting at the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce to gauge the impacts on local businesses from the tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum by President Donald Trump earlier this year.
At the table were members of the Chamber of Commerce, leaders from the Durham Labour Congress, steelworkers union and Durham businesses, all of whom said they were feeling effects from the tariffs. It is clear that things needed to change, Carrie says.
“It was pretty much unanimous around the table that they want the government to get back to the table,” Carrie says. “We need a rules-based system.”
As it stands, following the imposition of the Trump tariffs, the Canadian government responded in kind with a collection of their own tariffs on goods coming in from the United States.
Now, Trump has threatened to impose a 25 per cent tariff on auto manufacturers, something that could hit Canadian automakers hard and could pose a risk to supply chains that have taken decades to create between the U.S. and Canadian stakeholders.
Carrie says avoiding the auto tariffs at all costs is key, which means the government needs to move quickly on solving the ongoing trade war.
“If they (the Trump administration) say they’re going to do something they usually follow through. So, if we can avoid these tariffs it would be a huge plus for us locally,” he says. “We’re not trying to politicize this, we’re trying to work with the government so they can deal with this, and we’re trying to take this ‘Team Canada’ approach.”
Moving forward, as part of the Conservatives Defend Local Jobs tour, Carrie says he will be holding similar meetings in Durham to gain further feedback and ideas from local stakeholders, because he says there are many different ideas for how Canada should solve the tariff war.
“My goal, in Oshawa, is just to get that input so that people understand this is about local jobs, local impacts, and what I want to do is send a message to Ottawa that keeping jobs in Oshawa and Durham Region is extremely important and I want them to understand that this thing could get really bad, really quickly,” Carrie says. “What we want to do in places like (Oshawa), where we’re really dependent on the auto sector, where we’ve got all kinds of families, dependents, and retirees dependent on the auto sector, we have to get out ahead of this.”