Just like everyone else in London today I was flattened by the news that Caterpillar shut down the EMD plant with a callous disregard for the lives of the people who have given their blood sweat and tears to making the best locomotives in the world.
So what do we do now? Where do these more than 400 workers turn? What happens to their families, and their mortgages, and their children, and their important impact on the life of London?
We need to stand up and show these workers and their families and the country that this will not defeat us nor will we abandon our neighbors in this time of need and grief. We need to tell the Federal Government and our local Members of Parliament Susan Truppe and Ed Holder that this issue is no longer a provincial dispute. These workers have been let go and this responsibility lands squarely in the laps of the Federal Government.
Susan and Ed have never showed up to support their fellow Londoners but now they can. They can advocate to get the Employment Insurance Benefits, which the workers paid into, fast tracked so that families don’t need to go hungry and so that mortgages can get paid. They need to show that they care about Londoners and do the right thing and not stand on the sidelines wringing their hands over process and the often glacial pace of the Federal Government. This is now an urgent matter and needs to be treated as such. Treated with heart rather than partisanship.
Our City Council and our Mayor showed up today to show they cared. Now I hope they will swing into action and get resources into the hands of these families. Joe Fontana, Joni Baechler, and Nancy Branscombe showed real leadership today and real heart.. I encourage them to keep acting on that impulse.
But there is something you can do friends. You can come to an event on Monday February 6th at 7 p.m. at the North London Optimists Centre, (1345 Cheapside Street, Located near the corner of Cheapside Street and Highbury Avenue) to show these workers that you care, to show your fellow Londoners that you care. To show the World that London cares.