TORONTO (Reuters) – General Motors Co Chief Executive Mary Barra will not come before Canadian legislators to answer questions about the automakerâ€™s future in the country, but lower-ranking executives will appear, a lawmaker said on Thursday.
GM said in November it would close its Oshawa, Ontario, assembly plant by year-end, part of a broad restructuring affecting four other plants in the United States, as it cuts costs and invests in electric and self-driving vehicles.
Last month, the Canadian Parliamentâ€™s Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology approved Vice Chairman Brian Masseâ€™s request for Barra to â€śexplain GMâ€™s future and continued commitment to the Canadian automotive and manufacturing industry.â€ť
Barraâ€™s â€ścomplex schedule wouldnâ€™t allow her to be there in a reasonable period of time,â€ť said GM spokesman David Paterson. He added that two â€śsubject matter expertsâ€ť – GM Canada President Travis Hester and Vice President of North American Manufacturing Gerald Johnson – would likely appear before the committee in March.
Masse, a member of the opposition New Democrats, said it was frustrating that Barra would not attend because she is the â€śprincipal strategistâ€ť behind GMâ€™s restructuring and could explain why Oshawa did not merit investment.
â€śWe need to understand the future jobs and commitment of General Motors because we need to better understand how we fit in their global operations,â€ť Masse said.
Canadaâ€™s auto union, which represents 2,600 assembly line workers in Oshawa and 1,800 workers at plants supplying the operation, has waged a high-profile campaign aimed at convincing GM to keep the plant open until September 2020, when the current collective agreement ends.
GM Canada has said repeatedly it will not change its business decision.
An Ontario Labour Relations Board hearing on Thursday reviewed an application by GM to halt â€śunlawful strike activity.â€ť A decision was expected shortly.