Genera Motors CEO Mary Barra has been invited to stand before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, a Canadian government committee that focuses on industry and economic development in the country.
Barra has been invited to appear in Ottawa to explain why the automaker has decided to close down its Oshawa Assembly Plant this year. The closure will see GM Canada trim 2,900 jobs, which represents roughly 33.7% of its workforce.
The automaker has previously explained that the economics behind building two slow-selling products like the Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala in Oshawa no longer work, adding that it would continue to invest in Canada in other ways. The automaker currently operates a tech campus in Markham, Ontario and is building an “innovation hub” in downtown Toronto as well.
Barra was asked to appear before the committee by NDP party member and the committee’s auto industry critic Brian Masse. The NDP party is Canada’s social democratic federal political party and has close ties with labor unions in the country.
In an official statement, Masse was critical of GM Canada for taking a government bailout during the 2009 economic collapse only to subsequently cut its Canadian workforce by a third.
“The last time that GM was in trouble was during the 2009 fiscal meltdown with the Canadian federal government providing a bailout which totalled $10.8 billion in loans, share purchases and subsidies,” he said. “The net loss on the package is between $4 billion to $5 billion, including a $1 billion loan write-off.”
“It is our responsibility as parliamentarians to get the answers that all Canadians deserve,” he added.
GM said previously that it has repaid the bailout money “more than 10 times over since 2009,” by “reinvesting over $100 billion in Canadian manufacturing, purchased goods, $8 billion into GM Canada pensions that support Unifor members,” and creating Canada’s “largest auto software engineering workforce.”
Mary Barra has not yet responded to the invitation.