Creating and securing good manufacturing jobs in Nova Scotia
Thank you, Alexis.
I have a whole bunch of dignitaries I want to thank, but I want to start by the people usually get thanked last, for the people without whom we wouldn’t be here today. I want to thank all the incredible Michelin workers here in Bridgewater.
I think you know that a big international company like Michelin, that has plants and fabrication facilities all around the world, has choices and options and yes, as we’ll say, Tim and I stepped up with cash to encourage them to come here and show that we’re willing to invest in the future of Michelin here, in Nova Scotia and in Bridgewater. But ultimately, the decision that Michelin is going to take is grounded in those things, because every jurisdiction would be willing to invest to draw in a larger plant and more jobs. You are the competitive advantage that Canada has.
The quality of the work that is done here, and in plants like it across the country, is the one thing that continues to be the strongest selling point, is we’re drawing in investments from around the world to come to Canada to build the solutions that, not just Canada, but the world is going to need for the future. And I’ve been to a lot of plants across this country and, I mean, Rita is very and rightly proud of you, as everyone is. But, very rarely have I seen the level of almost awe in the quality and the calibre of work, of creativity, of innovation done here that is for me, exactly where Canada wants to be as we remain competitive in the coming years.
So, thank you, for everything you’ve done over the past 50 years.
I obviously want to thank Andrew, the CEO of Michelin Canada, Rita here at the plant, and everyone for having us here at this Michelin plant in Bridgewater. Happy to be here with Shawn, Francois-Philippe, Cody, Elena, and Darren, and it’s really good to be here with Premier Houston. We have worked together on so many files about creating opportunities and growth for Nova Scotians, building a greener economy that continues to deliver great jobs for people as we continue to welcome people from across the country and around the world who just love it here in Nova Scotia, and want to keep living here and raise our families here. It’s always great to work with you, Tim, and I’m really, really pleased to be here, of course, with Mayor Mitchell as well, who I have to tell you—you guys probably all know this being local—but David is extraordinarily thoughtful and passionate about growing Bridgewater and the vision that he and the council have had that has led to this happening has been a huge, huge part of the success we’re celebrating here today. So, thank you, David, for all your leadership on this.
But, before I start, I want to recognize that our thoughts are with the families in Amqui that are going through a very difficult time. This tragedy has deeply upset everyone across Quebec and across Canada. Our hearts go out to the families that were affected. We thank the first responders who were there in those extremely difficult moments, and we will continue to be there to support that community in the very difficult days ahead.
But it’s great to be back here in Nova Scotia to talk about jobs and our work to build a strong economy right across Canada. More specifically, it’s great to be here in Bridgewater today because, if we want small communities to be thriving, vibrant places where people can be proud of their work, where young families get to stay and grow, we need good jobs and great careers, and that’s what today’s announcement is all about. We’re investing to help modernize Michelin’s facilities here in Nova Scotia, which is securing people’s jobs at this plant and creating new positions, too.
Of course, this isn’t just good for your local economy: it’s also good for the environment. More and more people want clean technologies in their lives, including electric vehicles, and we know that EVs require tires that are designed differently. These new, modernized facilities will be able to manufacture tires that will respond to the global demand for EVs. And, at the same time, Michelin will reduce pollution in their operations by electrifying key parts of the manufacturing process. So, like most Canadians, I came into this day saying okay, I understand that EV tires are probably slightly different from regular tires, but why?
So, I asked Rita, and I asked Troy, and I asked Mike, and I asked Jamie about the processes here, and the answers I got were absolutely fascinating. First of all, EVs have a lot more torque, so the grip of the tire onto the wheel is really, really important. Noise is key. If you think, if you have a really quiet engine and all you’re hearing is really loud tires, that could be a problem. It’s really quiet engine, you’re hearing loud tires, that’s an issue you have to have. There’s all sorts of efficiency challenges as well, and the work that’s being done here, at the Bridgewater plant, by these extraordinary workers and figuring that out and building those solutions for the future, is something that is really, really exciting to see and that people should be extraordinarily proud of.
Today, we are committing to support Michelin to help modernize its facilities here in Nova Scotia. In its new, modernized facilities, Michelin will produce tires that will respond to the global demand for electric vehicles. At the same time, Michelin will reduce the pollution associated with its activities by electrifying elements of its manufacturing process. This modernization will create and maintain good jobs everywhere in Nova Scotia.
So, I want to take a moment again to thank our great Canadian workers here in Nova Scotia and across the country. Like I said, it’s because of you that companies like Michelin continue to invest in Canada. It’s because of you that we’re able to build a clean tech ecosystem here, and right across the country—with lithium from Alberta, rare earth elements from the north, nickel from Labrador and northern Ontario, clean steel from Hamilton, clean aluminum from Quebec. And it’s great workers like you who produce battery materials along the Avalon Peninsula, and assemble batteries and EVs along the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence, EVs that roll on tires made here in Nova Scotia.
Eight years ago, when we first got elected, we talked about climate change and, I know for Canadians the environment matters deeply. But the fight against climate change for decades was always put in the context of, oh, well, you can either protect the environment or you can grow the economy. You can’t do both together. And eight years ago, when we got elected, we said, no, no, no. Not only can you do them both together, that’s actually the only way to both build a strong economy for the future and protect the environment. You have to do them together. And I will admit that during those first few years there was a lot of scepticism. There was a lot of people saying, I don’t know, you’re taking a hit on the economy. But what we’re seeing right now, as Canada has moved into the second place in the world in terms of battery supply chains, as, increasingly, companies from around the world are coming to say, can we produce our goods here with cleaner energy? And Canada being 80% clean energy already is a huge advantage that we’re continuing to build on. Are we going to be able to source critical minerals and resources sustainably with both environmental responsibility—because that’s what customers around the world want—and good, union or good, well-paid, middle-class jobs are going to support families and the communities they live in. These are things, increasingly, people around the world are looking for, and that approach that we have been building deliberately is really starting to bear fruit, and it’s bearing fruit right here because we get to do the very happy job of explaining and demonstrating the extraordinary work ethic, quality, integrity, and abilities of Canadian workers themselves. That is what is so exciting.
So, as we move into this future, as we build these EV tires, as we build these EVs that’ll be powered by green energy—including clean energy generated by wind turbines here in Nova Scotia—we’re exactly on the right track. And it’s not just companies like Michelin that are noticing. Just yesterday, the largest carmaker in Europe, Volkswagen, announced that it has chosen Canada to build its very first battery plant in North America.
Francois-Philippe and I, and many others, worked really hard to attract this major investment. It’s Europe’s largest automaker and it’s a major investment, also in a very small community of St. Thomas, Ontario. With our highly skilled workforce, our clean energy, our abundance of critical minerals, and our access to markets, Canada will continue to be an attractive investment destination with everything companies need to grow.
Whether it’s for critical minerals, the manufacture of electric vehicles, or other areas, Canada is quickly becoming a clean-technology supplier the net-zero world needs. With projects like the Michelin one, not only are we building a strong economy, but we are also continuing to fight climate change. We are ensuring that our children will be able to breathe clean air for generations to come.
And another way we’re fighting climate change while standing up for families and growing the economy is through pollution pricing. For example, a family of four here in Bridgewater will get a climate action incentive check worth $272 every three months, starting this July. That’s over $1,000 a year and it more than makes up for the extra costs because of the carbon price. So, it’s how you fight climate change, how you encourage companies and businesses to innovate, while at the same time putting more money back in people’s pockets. Good jobs, clean air, support for families: that’s what we’ll continue to deliver for people here in Nova Scotia and right across the country. We don’t have to choose between the environment and the economy. What we’re building here and across the country makes it obvious that protecting the environment and growing the economy go hand in hand.
So, thank you for everything all of you have done to be here, to get to this point today, and it’s with great pleasure that I’ll pass it over to Premier Houston.