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'Don’t take your foot off the gas': Windsor mayor says Stellantis deal isn’t done until it’s done

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens says reports a deal has been reached to secure the NextStar Energy EV battery plant in the city has him “cautiously optimistic that we’re tracking closer to a solution” — but says don’t get comfortable until it’s confirmed.

“I think the reporting in the Toronto Star is far too premature,” Dilkens says Wednesday evening.

“I won’t have the comfort that I need and I think the rest of the community needs until the federal government and LG and Stellantis come forward saying they have an agreement and construction is going to restart.”

The Toronto Star reported Wednesday afternoon a tentative deal has been reached, citing unnamed government sources.

According to the Star, federal and provincial money would see Stellantis and LG receive more than the $13-billion in subsidies offered to Volkswagen for its planned plant in St. Thomas.

“There is no doubt that this is an expensive proposition,” Dilkens says in response to that report.

“But if Canada wants to be competitive, you have to be able to compete against your biggest trading partner which is the United States – and as the mayor of the auto capital of Canada … think of the spinoff for the community.”

The NextStar plant has been expected to bring more than 3,000 jobs to Windsor-Essex, with Dilkens saying spinoff could amount to nine additional jobs for every one at the factory.

The mayor launched an online petition Friday, asking residents to express their concerns over the stalled construction.

He’s still encouraging residents to sign it, amid the cautious optimism.

“Don’t take your foot off the gas,” says Dilkens.

“We’re talking automotive parlance. Don’t take your foot off the gas until you have a formal announcement from the federal government, from LG and Stellantis that this is a done deal.

“It’s not a done deal.” 

Dilkens says the duty to reach that deal falls on Ottawa.

“It’s the federal government’s responsibility to get this over the finish line, and I’m hopeful that they’re able to do that ASAP,” he says.

He says Ontario Premier Doug Ford – who’s government offered to increase the $500-million subsidy already offered to Stellantis – has been a great partner.

Ford will be in the Windsor area Thursday, but Dilkens says those announcements are entirely unrelated to the situation.

“I know the premier knows how important this project is to the people of Windsor,” says the mayor.

“He knows how important this is to Ontario and he is committed to us and he’s stepped up when the federal government said we need more money – but ultimately this deal and the finalization of this deal is the responsibility of the federal government to get this over the line with LG and Stellantis and restart construction and ralize this $5-billion investment that is just waiting in the city of Windsor,” Dilkens says. Top Stories

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