February 07, 2011 – Ottawa

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) today released a Commentary, Manufacturing Competitiveness, by Martinrea International Chairman and Chairman of the MLI Board Rob Wildeboer. This latest MLI publication lets politicians and public policy decision-makers know precisely what is needed allow Canadian manufacturing to flourish in the future, as it has in the past. To beat the world across many industries and provide lasting, well-paid jobs for hundreds of thousands of hard-working Canadians and their families.

There are no magic bullets that will ensure the health of Canada's traditionally strong manufacturing. Buffeted by economic dislocation and recession on a global order, Canada's factories and mills have suffered along with all other sectors of the economies of the developed world. As Wildeboer ominously notes, "… the fate of manufacturing depends on more than the actions of individual firms and entrepreneurs. It depends on our governments meeting the challenge of competitiveness. That's where our future lies... or doesn't."

The pain of job loss and downsizing was felt nowhere more widely than in our automotive manufacturing sector which is home to Rob Wildeboer and his multinational auto parts giant Martinrea International. With that clear view of the challenges in his industry and his broader business experience, Wildeboer lays out a broad spectrum prescription for the renaissance of Canada's manufacturing sector.

Wildeboer's plan and challenge for governments at all levels would see tens of thousands of Canadians re-engaged in the workforce of tomorrow. He says, "Get these things right and opportunity will drive results."

The plan calls for:

  1. Secure access to US/North American markets through a Perimeter Security deal
  2. Canada to be the lowest tax jurisdiction for manufacturing
  3. Competitive government services costs
  4. Getting it right – Environmentally
  5. Renewed infrastructure
  6. Maintaining focus on our areas of competitive advantage
  7. The need to reward and encourage hard work
  8. The need to train and educate people
  9. Smaller government that is more coordinated and consistent and more people in private industry

MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley, commenting on the release, said, "Rob Wildeboer is a leader  in the Canadian auto parts sector and with this paper he has shown that he can lead the way in advanced thinking for all of our manufacturing industries."

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Read the Commentary here...