By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express
The Region of Durham has joined the call started by the City of Oshawa – General Motors should produce electric vehicles in Oshawa.
Passed unanimously at the final meeting of regional council before its summer recess, councillors endorsed the city’s drive to bring the production of these vehicles to the city.
“We’re in very difficult circumstances now in terms of a contract, a great concern about all of the production being moved to the U.S. or to other countries,” Councillor Nancy Diamond said in council chambers.
Diamond added that with the changing trend in automobiles, with more manufacturers getting into the business of electric vehicles, Oshawa should be a part of it.
“I believe that we owe support to the workers. Workers have laboured in that plant and in the feeder plants for almost 100 years. And what’s important in this motion is that it speaks to the evolution of the workers always meeting the increased demands and the change in technologies,” she said.
“Just because the industry is moving to electric vehicles, just because the industry is changing its technology, we should never underrate the workers of Durham Region.”
This motion, originally passed by the City of Oshawa, calls on the automaker to bring the production of future electric vehicles to Oshawa.
Currently, General Motors produces two electric vehicles, the Chevrolet Volt and the Chevrolet Spark EV, with a third, the Chevrolet Bolt, set to hit the market later this year. Both the Volt and the upcoming Bolt are produced in Michigan, while the Spark EV is made in South Korea.
The city also called on Mary Barra, the automaker’s president, to come to Oshawa to discuss this with the city’s political leaders.
When asked for comment as to whether Barra would be making the trip, Jennifer Wright, a spokesperson for GM Canada, says the automaker has been in regular contact with Mayor John Henry and is aware of the request.
“While GM Canada welcomes all expressions interest and support from local council, the company’s electric vehicle production is allocated to other facilities at this time. As GM has indicated for the past two years, we will not be in a position to make decisions on any potential future Oshawa product investments until after union negotiations later this year,” Wright says in an emailed statement to The Oshawa Express.“Company officials continue to meet regularly with government partners at all levels in Canada and we are aware of the request from council and the region. We will discuss these requests with the mayor in our next meeting with him just as we have an open door of discussion with the region.”