Statement by Official Opposition Agriculture Critic, Malcolm Allen, on Heinz closure

“Today’s announcement comes as a blow to Leamington and all the surrounding communities that will be impacted. For decades the Leamington Heinz plant supported good paying jobs as well as a strong and vibrant agricultural sector for the region. My heart goes out to the 600 workers and their families who will bear the brunt of this bad news.

Today’s loss of good paying processing jobs and harvest jobs will be devastating for the local agricultural community. Sadly though this closure comes as no surprise. In the 2012 budget, Conservatives callously, and without warning, altered Canada’s food container regulations; standards that helped sustain this important sector and these jobs. In fact the Minister in charge of making these changes did so without a single impact study or consultation. These decisions must stop being made in Ottawa while local communities are ignored.

For too long Southern Ontario has watched Conservatives sit idly as good paying Canadian jobs get exported. These container regulations changes helped pave the path for Heinz’s exit and it’s time for Conservatives to answer. It’s time for Minister Ritz and local Conservatives MP to answer why they have ignored these communities.”