Arnott: Wilkinson ducking questions over job losses

Two Well­ing­ton County MPPs faced off in the legislature recently over the clos­ing of the Campbell Soup factory in Listowel – but Well­ington-Halton Hills Pro­gre­s­sive Conservative Ted Ar­nott charged his Liberal coun­terpart was ducking tough ques­tions.

Arnott slammed the  Lib­erals for failing to stop a flood of manufacturing jobs leaving Ontario, including the 500 job loss­es in Listowel.

“Having ignored prudent warnings for the last two years about the pending crisis in manufacturing, what will the Ministry of Research and In­novation [Wilkinson] now do to help the 500 people who’ve lost their jobs in Listowel?” asked Arnott, who once repre­sented the part of Wellington County that is now in the Perth Wellington riding.

Camp­bell’s Soup announc­ed it will close its doors after being a major employer in Listowel for nearly half a century. Listowel is in Perth-Wellington.

Despite the fact Arnott dir­ected his question to Wilkin­son, he referred the question for a response to the Min­ister of Training, Colleges and Uni­ver­sities.

Arnott reacted by saying, “[Mr. Wilkinson] would have us believe that he’s seizing glo­bal opportunities and creating Ontario’s next generation of jobs and prosperity,” said Arnott. “It would seem that the only global opportunities being created are in Pennsylvania – where the Listowel jobs are going.”

The following day, Arnott was again asking Wilkinson “What will the Ministry of Research and Innovation now do to help the 500 people who’ve lost their jobs in Listowel?”

He was not pleased with the reply, and stated, “Despite attempting to answer the question today, Wilkinson’s re­sponse left much to be desired. He spoke of retraining those who have lost their jobs, but failed to say where the newly trained work­ers would find a well-paying job.”

Arnott concluded, “The problem … is that you cannot train for jobs that don’t exist – or jobs that are going to other jurisdictions.”