Manitoba reporter Julia-Simone Rutgers’ feature appeared on the front page of the Winnipeg Free Press, Aug. 20, 2022.
Photo: Julia-Simone Rutgers / The Narwhal
When Julia-Simone Rutgers joined The Narwhal this spring, the last place she expected to find herself on a hot August day was inside a massive bus manufacturing facility in Winnipeg.
But there she was, watching workers weld and paint large bus shells for a leading North American zero-emissions bus manufacturer, New Flyer Industries, also known as NFI Group.
At first glance, it seemed like a good-news story — you know, the kind of story you’d want to read in the dog days of summer. But then the plot thickened: as Julia-Simone dug into the company more, she was surprised to learn that they’ve exported hundreds of good-paying manufacturing jobs to south of the border in recent years.
While Canada is making major investments in zero-emission transit and many cities have started leading the charge to electrify their fleets, one expert told Julia-Simone that Canadian policy has overlooked “transit manufacturing as a sexy big job employer,” leaving the industry lagging behind.
Julia-Simone spoke with International Trade minister Mary Ng to press the government about whether it should be doing more to stop American protectionism from threatening Canadian jobs in the transit sector. While the minister offered some general comments about how the government was still working on a plan to build a green economy in Canada, Ng wasn’t able to get into specifics for the transit industry.
“It was clear to me that the feds are passionate about protecting Canada’s stake in the future of the auto manufacturing sector … but it seems like transit was just an oversight,” Julia-Simone said.
“Why does Ontario have no process to enable Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas?” asked Sol Mamakwa, MPP for Kiiwetinoong, Ont. — referencing a scoop by reporter Emma McIntosh.
Environment Minister David Piccini responded without addressing the question directly.
“I’ll always be willing to work alongside [Indigenous communities],” Piccini said.
Read the story here, which Emma found while sifting through 87 pages of documents obtained by an access to information request.
Narwhals hang out in the wild
Okay, okay. Maybe going lawn bowling isn’t really considered “the wild” by everyone.
But after a couple years of not seeing one another, members of The Narwhal got together in Victoria to rub tusks on Monday evening. Bowls were thrown, snacks were had and the miracle of reader-funded journalism was celebrated.
We’re excited to meet with more members across the country soon!
This week in The Narwhal
4 things Ontario mayors want from Doug Ford to fight climate change By Fatima Syed While the premier didn’t mention the climate emergency at a gathering of Ontario’s municipal leaders, everyone else had it top of mind.