BC Liberal government to spend transit cash on Chinese buses


WINNIPEG, June 17, 2016 /CNW/ - Workers at Canadian bus manufacturers New Flyer and Nova Bus are disappointed to learn that a massive public funding injection to BC Transit will be spent oversees at the expense of Canadian manufacturing.

"Christy Clark had a clear choice, and she chose to outsource Canadian work to China," said Jerry Dias, Unifor's National President. "Christy Clark wasted an important opportunity to fix transit and create good jobs at the same time."

Clark and Trudeau made the $900-million funding announcement in Vancouver on Thursday. Of that, $35 million will flow in stages to a manufacturer in China for 112 "Vicinity" buses. The buses will become part of BC Transit's fleet, responsible for all public transit outside of Metro Vancouver.

In 2013, documents obtained under Freedom of Information requests said that BC Transit had "quality concerns" about the same Chinese-made Vicinity buses from Grande West Transportation.

Unifor says that BC Transit's fleet enhancement should have relied on models that are already in use in Metro Vancouver made by New Flyer Industries or Nova Bus. New Flyer employs more than 1,350 workers in Winnipeg and Nova Bus employs more than 750 workers in Québec.

"Massive infrastructure funding from the federal government is supposed to be stimulating the Canadian economy, but Christy Clark is happy to stimulate China's manufacturing sector," said Dias.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.