Unifor president says ‘F*** You’ to Premier Ford in televised speech
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Saturday, December 1, 2018 4:34PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, December 1, 2018 4:51PM EST
The leader of Canada’s largest private sector union ratcheted up tensions with Ontario Premier Doug Ford Saturday as concerns about the future of auto manufacturing in Oshawa continue to fester, telling Ford “F*** you” in a televised speech.
“You know Doug, F*** you,”Unifor President Jerry Dias said after dismissing Ford’s complaint that he shared the premier’s personal cell number to his members, who then inundated Ford’s phone with calls and messages.
“You gotta know this, I would never do that, I am a public figure, I have a lot of work to do and I’ll speak to our members any day, I’ll speak to anyone,” Dias said of the accusation. “He put it out on social media knowing that I never did it.”
Dias then played a voicemail he received this past week where a man called him an “irrelevant stupid buffoon” for opposing pipeline construction.
“That was probably the most polite one I got,” he said.
Last week, General Motors Canada confirmed that the Oshawa Assembly Plant, with more than 2,500 Unifor workers building four different vehicles, would shut down by the end of 2019.
In Question Period last Monday, Ford told the legislature that GM indicated “the ship has already left the dock” when it came to efforts to convince the manufacturer, which Ontario taxpayers helped bail out in 2009, to reverse course.
This statement prompted the opposition and Unifor to criticize Ford for not fighting for workers, something the PCs replied was not fruitful given GM’s lack of interest in negotiating with the federal and provincial governments.
Ford said the NDP and Unifor were “raising false hope” by suggesting the GM closure could be averted.
“(Ford) had the gall to say that all of us, saying we’re going to fight, he had the nerve to say we’re giving false hope, that we’re grandstanding,” Dias said.
Oshawa’s GM plant has been in operation since 1953 and at its peak, employed tens of thousands of employees.
A spokesperson for Dias later apologized for swearing on live television, saying he was “worked up while addressing the GM Oshawa situation.”