Rumbles of change in the automotive industry erupted this week with General Motor's announcement it will close its storied Oshawa assembly plant as part of a shift towards electric and autonomous vehicles.
Canada's Vice President of Corporate and Environmental Affairs Dave Patterson made the comment to CTV News Toronto on Tuesday, one day after it was announced that the plant is being closed as part of a global reorganization that will see the company switch its focus to electric and autonomous vehicles.
Bains said GM told the Canadian government this closure had to do with changing consumer preferences, downplaying any connection to an increasing economic nationalism in the United States.
The union said it would be holding talks with General Motors Monday.
Magna Spokesperson Tracy Fuerst tells Quinte News the company "isn't commenting on the at the moment" and that "with still so many moving pieces, it would be premature to do so".
GM's Oshawa plant assembles the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS and finishes Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks.
Rut right now, the jobs of those working in GM plants in the Lansing-area are safe. Production began on November 7, 1953.
GM announced Monday that it would idle three factories in North America.
"It's going to affect the province, it's going to affect the region".
The GM plant in Oshawa won't be fully shuttered until the end of 2019 but officials with the automaker say that some employees will be laid off as early as this summer as production begins to "wind down".
"We supported GM, as everyone remembers, years ago when they were in trouble ... our history goes back 100 years with General Motors and to say we're disappointed is an understatement".
Carlisle was moved that month to head Cadillac, the global automaker's luxury auto division as part of a management rotation.
"We planned for it, we kind of said, this is where GM is heading, we're not going to supply to manufacturers that supply GM".
Last week, the Canadian government gave corporations like GM a tax giveaway of 14 billion Canadian dollars (about 10.5 billion US dollars) to guarantee jobs remain in Canada.
"I felt like someone kicked me in the stomach", said David Green, a local union president.
Oshawa NDP MPP Jennifer French said the news of the closure is "gravely concerning".
In a tweet, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the news is "terrible". Conservatives will monitor this closely and stand up for those affected. But he noted the former head of GM Canada, Steve Carlisle, was determined it wouldn't close on his watch.
Like other USA vehicle manufacturers, GM is shifting away from production of sedans and toward the more popular SUVs and light-duty trucks, although it did not specify that any models will be eliminated from its lineup.
"But what is absolutely clear is that giving large corporations taxpayer bailouts is not the solution", he told CBC News in an email.
The loan also appears to be attributed to a bankrupt version of the firm that was split off from a viable version of GM that year.