09/14/2011 12:34 EDT | Updated 11/14/2011 05:12 EST

Horwath proposes 'jobs commissioner' for Ontario

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says if elected, her party would appoint a "jobs commissioner" who will work to find alternatives to layoffs if they are announced anywhere in the province.

The commissioner would have "wide-ranging authority" to bring together all parties involved to negotiate how to protect jobs, find new managers or owners or implement new training schemes, according to the party.

Horwath made the announcement outside a Ford Motor Co. plant in St.Thomas set to close Thursday. The closure means 1,200 people will be out of work.

Shane McPherson, a 10-year veteran of the plant who will work his last shift Thursday, says he's not sure a jobs commissioner could have convinced Ford to change its mind about closing the plant.

However, McPherson says he's encouraged to hear Horwath talk about tying government tax breaks and financial incentives to big companies to iron-clad job guarantees.

Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty dismissed Horwath's call for a jobs commissioner, saying it would just add to the bureaucracy and wouldn't create any jobs.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak rejected Horwath;s proposal and said the New Democrats would kills jobs.