The Conservative Party is demanding that Stellantis and LG Energy Solutions publicly release their contract after details emerged that 1,600 South Koreans would be moving to Windsor, Ontario to work in the new taxpayer-funded factory.
This has prompted an emergency meeting to take place in Ottawa regarding hiring for the NextStar battery plant.
“Canadians have a right to know what kinds of contracts this government is signing with private corporations,” said Conservative MP Luc Berthold, while speaking before the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates on Monday.
Conservatives say that the government offering incentives to automakers for EV battery plants will cost Canadian households as much as $3,000.
“It would be the world’s biggest mistake if we did not look into the investment,” said Essex MP Chris Lewis. “The workers deserve the answers. The unions deserve the answers and the folks of Windsor-Essex deserve the answers.”
Ottawa officials have said that they cannot release the contract to the public because it contains proprietary information about LG Solutions and Stellantis.
On Thursday, the company confirmed that 900 South Koreans would be coming to Windsor to work in the factory, however the Windsor Police Service posted on X that they would be welcoming 1,600 South Koreans to work in the new plant.
“They have specific knowledge of the equipment, having been part of the team to build it and disassemble it for shipping, and will therefore see the installation through,” said a NextStar spokesperson.
“This is not the place to play politics with peoples’ livelihoods’,” said Liberal MP Irek Kusmiercyk, who represents Windsor-Tecumseh, speaking before the committee.
Kusmierczyk claimed that the 900 South Koreans would be building the ‘proprietary equipment,’ which is not abnormal for the industry.
“There will be 2,500 full time jobs building batteries, building 2 million batteries every year at that Stellantis plant. Those workers will be local. They will be Canadian and they will be unionized,” Kusmierczyk told the committee.
News of the temporary foreign workers arriving from South Korea comes only days after it was announced that taxpayers would have to fund an additional $5.8 billion in subsidies in EV corporate welfare.
Conservative MP Andrew Scheer compared the Canadian taxpayer to that of the corporate shareholder regarding access to business deals. Scheer said shareholders are normally provided with access and transparency when holding stakes in a company, asking why Canadians who will have to pay around $3,000 per household, couldn’t have the same access.
“Why should the Canadian taxpayer be treated like a second class shareholder,” asked Scheer before the Committee.