As the terrible news that General Motors intends to close all operations at their longstanding Oshawa plant broke, on a mild but dreary Sunday afternoon, Ontario Premier Doug Ford – who campaigned on the unspecific, yet still rousing promise to re-open Canada’s largest manufacturing province for business – expressed mild surprise.
“Didn’t they see my signs?” the premier asked his aides, already convened at his house for their weekly video review session, in which they run through parliamentary tapes and time how long their own party members applaud Mr. Ford’s speeches – in order to gauge who is the most loyal, and to officially confirm they are ridiculous children.
“It would appear not Doug,” said Ford’s chief of staff, Dean French. “We put those signs up near the borders, so there’s a good chance the GM execs missed them. I hear they mostly fly when they travel. I’m sorry. There’s no way we could have known.”
“Well,” the premier said, pulling the lever on his La-Z-Boy armchair and rising to a nearly seated position. “Just get one over to Oshawa. Once they know that we are, in fact, ‘Open For Business,’ GM will probably offer some sort of apology and open half a dozen other plants. Lemon squeezy.”
With studies showing that four out of five multinational businesses base the decision of where to situate their operations entirely on what sort of placards they encounter within a 200 km radius of a prospective site, it was difficult for Ford’s aides to argue with the logic behind their leader’s course of action. Unfortunately none of them were free to deliver the sign.
“How can you all have figure skating lessons tonight?” Ford asked, turning off the Grey Cup and looking around his basement incredulously. “Dean? You told me you hate lutzes. And now you’re learning lifts? Fine, then just do it in the morning.”
After exchanging a look with the other aides, Mr. French gently informed Ford that as many as 3,000 jobs were on the line; and recommended that immediate and significant action be taken.
“You’re right,” the premier said. “Brew me a coffee, fire up the Escalade, and strap the biggest sign we have to the roof. Oh, and add the word ‘Really’ to ‘Open For Business.’ I’ll fix this mess.”