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Auto workers rally in Windsor as GM predicts jump in profits

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Premier Doug Ford, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and even Warren Buffett came under fire at a rally in Windsor Friday in support of Oshawa auto workers, but it was GM CEO Mary Barra who drew the harshest criticism from union leader Jerry Dias.

“We are absolutely disgusted at not only your corporate greed, but also your personal greed,” fumed Dias, the president of Unifor, which represents the 2,600 GM workers who’ll be out of a job by next year. The rally brought together auto workers and leaders of other unions from across the province.

In November, GM announced plans to close five North American factories and get rid of 14,000 workers, including roughly 2,600 in Oshawa.
In November, GM announced plans to close five North American factories and get rid of 14,000 workers, including roughly 2,600 in Oshawa.  (Andrew Francis Wallace / Toronto Star File Photo)

Dias blasted Barra’s $22-million salary, and claimed the GM CEO is also the company’s biggest non-institutional shareholder, meaning her own net worth had risen while jobs were being cut.

Dias, whose harsh words were cheered and brought cries of “shame” from the crowd — estimated by union sources as “in the thousands” — was speaking on the heels of a GM meeting with institutional investors, where the company said the fourth quarter of 2018 was a stronger one than expected for the company.

Shares jumped nearly 9 per cent in midday trading.

Barra said the company doesn’t foresee any further job cuts through 2020. In November, GM announced plans to close five North American factories and get rid of 14,000 workers, including roughly 2,600 in Oshawa.

The company predicted Friday that 2018 pretax, per-share profits would be higher than the $5.80 to $6.20 range it forecast in the third quarter. For 2019, it expected that to increase to $6.50 to $7.

The rosy profit forecast comes despite declining sales for the company in the U.S. and slowing sales in China. GM also plans to exit several car lines in the U.S. in the coming year.

The outlook exceeded Wall Street’s expectations for both years. Analysts polled by FactSet expect pretax earnings of $6.24 for 2018 and they predict a decline for this year, to $5.92.

“I bet they didn’t tell investors that in Canada, sales dropped by 30 per cent in December, compared to 2017,” Dias said to hoots from the crowd in Windsor.

Among GM’s investors is Berkshire Hathaway, the financial behemoth run by Buffett.

Referring to one of Buffett’s favourite sayings that it takes 20 years to build a reputation but 5 minutes to destroy it, Dias warned the so-called Sage of Omaha that he could be hurting his own reputation by sticking with GM.

“This is your five minutes,” said Dias, who also demanded a meeting with Barra, Trudeau and Ford to discuss ways to save the Oshawa plant.

“The ship hasn’t sailed.”

With files from Star wire services

Josh Rubin is a Toronto-based business reporter. Follow him on Twitter: @starbeer



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Anglais

A stunning Water Lantern Festival is coming to Montreal

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What might just be the most magical night ever is coming up for Montreal this year.

The Water Lantern Festival has announced that it will be gracing Mississauga with thousands of floating lanterns later this year, as part of a celebration that spans the entire world.

According to the festival’s official website, the event is a celebration of life with proceeds going towards charities and non-profit organizations within the area.

“Water Lantern Festival brings together individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to join in one emotional and memorable night. At the Water Lantern Festival, we cherish these moments and will do our best to help you have a memorable experience that you’ll never forget as you witness the beauty of thousands of lanterns reflecting upon the water,” the website states.

The festival takes place throughout multiple cities around the world, with the Canadian cities of Quebec, Regina, Vancouver, Hamilton, Calgary, Ottawa, Mississauga, and, of course, Montreal taking part.

For the Calgary event, a date has been confirmed and tickets are already rolling out. Montreal shan’t be far behind, and you can click the Notify Me tab on the event’s site to be kept in the loop.

Expect an evening filled with food trucks, music, lantern designing and finally, a magical launch of the lanterns into the water as the sun goes down.

For our pals over in Calgary, their event includes a floating lantern, a commemorative drawstring bag, a marker, and a wristband. Expect something similar, if not the same, when more details float through about Montreal’s event.

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Anglais

Euthanasia order on hold for Montreal dog that attacked children

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A pit bull dog that attacked four children and two adults in August 2018 in Montreal North will not be euthanized in the immediate future.

The euthanasia order has been temporarily suspended pending the appeal of a Quebec Superior Court decision.

On Tuesday, Judge Lukasz Granosik rejected a request to halt the euthanasia order issued by the Montreal North borough, which declared the animal a “dangerous dog.”

The City of Montreal has not changed its mind. This is only a delay before it proceeds with euthanizing the dog, a source told the Canadian Press.

Shotta, the one-year-old dog, was in the care of its owner’s acquaintance in August 2018. The dog attacked four children and two adults, causing serious injuries in separate incidents on the same day.

After the attacks, the dog was taken from the home and entrusted to the SPCA.

WATCH: Dog found dead in Angrignon Park

The Road to Home Rescue Support, an American shelter, asked the court if it could take in the dog. Christa Frineau, the dog’s owner, had also asked that Shotta not be euthanized.

Granosik refused to grant the request.

—With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise

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Anglais

9 Things To Do In Montreal This Friday, Saturday & Sunday

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Today’s sunny skies have me itching to make weekend plans. I absolutely cannot wait to make the most of this warmer weather. This might be the time to inflate my bike tires and dust off my running shoes…

Whether you want to brush up on your cooking skills, let loose, or fill your stomach with amazing food, there’s an event out there for you. Read on for 9 fun things you can do with friends or a fling this weekend.

TL;DR Read on for 9 fun things you can do in Montreal this weekend.

Let Yourself Go At Dress Up

Where: 185 Avenue Van Horne, Montréal.

When: Friday, March 29, 9:00 p.m.

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