Good afternoon, everyone.

Prime Minister, thank you for being here today and for your strong, continuing and personal commitment to the future of the auto sector in Ontario. I'd like to acknowledge as well, the presence of some of my colleagues, Minister Jim Bradley and MPP's Wayne Arthurs and Joe Dickson, who have the privilege of representing communities which are very reliant on the future of the auto sector.

I also want to acknowledge the presence of some our senior bureaucrats, who have been instrumental in lending shape to this solution that we are putting forward today, and I am grateful for their work.

We live in what Shakespeare might have called "a scrambling and unquiet time." This is a time of great challenge for Canadians, a time that demands great cooperation between our two governments.

I want to express my appreciation to you, Prime Minister, your office, and your government for the cooperation and collaboration that has characterized our work together to help families who earn their living in the auto sector. I also want to thank Ken Lewenza and our CAW workers. Working together, you have reached an unprecedented agreement in keeping with our unprecedented times. It wasn't easy, and you two delivered.

In recent months, there has been a lot of anxiety around the kitchen tables of families working in the auto sector, whether those moms and dads work in assembly plants, parts manufacturing, dealerships or in any of the over 400,000 jobs dependent on the making of cars and trucks in Ontario.

We're here today to put GM on a sound footing, to build a base for growth and prosperity in Canada, to give all those families reason to be hopeful. As a committed partner in a North American plant to restructure the business, Ontario was investing $3.5 billion in the future of GM. This will secure for us 16% of North American production, the continuing operation of our assembly plants in Oshawa, St. Catharines and Ingersoll, and the production of five new models in Ontario, including at least one, new hybrid model.

I'm confident that the dramatic and painful changes that GM is making will result in a much leaner, much healthier and much more competitive business in Ontario. These changes give us good reason to be optimistic for the thousands and thousands of families working in our auto sector. The investment that we're making today on behalf of Ontario tax payers is extraordinary, both in terms of the circumstances that call for it, and the amount required.

While we anticipated significant support for the auto sector in our budget, today's announcement exceeds that. I have spoken with Finance Minister Duncan, who will later today update Ontarians on the implications to our budget. We are moving today to strengthen GM after carefully considering the alternative. That alternative would be for the Obama administration to move unilaterally, to reconstructure GM and secure GM jobs in the US.

Had we taken that path, there is no doubt n my mind that America would not have (for very long) tolerated Canadian production of GM vehicles and parts for sale in the US. Without the support that we are extending today from the Canadian and Ontario governments, GM's Canadian production would quickly move South. Without Canadian money in the game, we would be out of the game, and it's not only GM assembly line workers who would be out of work.

GM purchases over $8 billion worth of parts every year, for more than 200 Ontario part suppliers which employ close to 45,000 Ontarians. Almost all of GM suppliers also supply our four other car and truck manufacturers: Toyota, Honda, Ford and Chrysler. All of those suppliers would be weakened by the loss of GM. Many would fail, which would threaten the four other auto manufactures. This is truly, as the Prime Minister indicated, a fully integrated industry.

In 2008, GM contributed $2.7 billion to the Ontario GDP. GM is the single largest employer in St. Catharines, Oshawa and Ingersoll. The part suppliers that GM buys from are located across Southern Ontario, in communities from Peterbourough, to Belleville, to Windsor, and of course, GM dealerships are located throughout Ontario and Canada. In short, the alternative to the announcement that we are making together today, would be a devastating blow to Ontario families and Ontario communities.

The choice our government is making today is not an easy one, but I am confident that it is the right one. We are choosing to save thousands of jobs, to save entire communities from financial failure, and to lend shape to a much leaner and much more competitive General Motors. We have chosen, in effect, a brighter future for Ontario families.

Thank you.

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