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.”