On September 11, Hon. Judy Sgro MP (York West) and Frank Valeriote MP (Guelph) spent the day in Waterloo Region at a series of meetings about manufacturing policy. Judy is the Liberal Party’s Industry Critic and Frank is the party’s deputy whip and co-chair of the Policy Committee. These meetings were organized by members of the Waterloo, Kitchener-South-Hespeler, and Cambridge Liberal riding associations.
The purpose of the meetings was to seek input and suggest improvements to a proposed Manufacturing Policy proposal that the Cambridge Federal Liberal association has been spearheading. An overview of the proposal can be found here. Members from three different ridings in the region have been actively working on this policy for over 18 months. They presented it to the Liberal Caucus Policy committee in Ottawa this past June. The meetings held in Waterloo Region on September 11 were a ‘pilot test’ for similar discussions that are expected to be held in other Canadian cities.
That morning, Judy and Frank held an informal, off-the-record, meeting at the University of Waterloo to discuss research aspects of the policy.
That afternoon, Judy and Frank conducted an off-the-record roundtable discussion at the Communitech Hub in Kitchener with six senior manufacturing executives who represented a wide variety of industries and company sizes.
Doug Jackson (Cambridge FLA), Judy Sgro MP, George Dietrich (Kitchner-South-Hespeler FLA), and Bob Rushby (Waterloo FLA) at Communitech Hub.
Finally, Judy convened a public Town Hall that evening at Saginaw Golf Course in Cambridge. Bob Rushby presented an overview of the proposed policy. Two Cambridge manufacturers presented their views on needed changes to the manufacturing environment in Canada. A lively open discussion followed.
The feedback from the day’s events was overwhelmingly positive. New policy insights emerged. Participants learned that the Liberal Party is the party that listens. It was also proof that Waterloo Region ridings can have a worthwhile influence on the party.
Indeed, here’s what Judy Sgro herself had to say at the end of the day:
“This policy really has the pulse of the nation. Manufacturing offers such potential for jobs in this Region and across the country that we need to focus and revive the industry in a new way. We can’t afford to ignore its potential.”