07/02/2015 05:27 EDT | Updated 07/02/2016 05:59 EDT

Justin Trudeau says Canada needs a manufacturing strategy

The federal government should be putting Canada's manufacturing potential in the spotlight, says Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who believes the country needs to have a national manufacturing strategy to help boost job prospects in places like southwestern Ontario.

"We need to make sure that we're pitching Canadians' advantage over other countries to draw in global investment," he told CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive in an interview.

Trudeau said the federal government has failed to take the steps needed to allow the country's manufacturing sector force to reach its full potential.

"We have an extraordinarily skilled and educated workforce with a capacity to be creative and to work hard. There is a tremendous opportunity for Canada to play a role in the world's supply chains, we just have to have a government that's dedicated to that," said Trudeau.

"And unfortunately, the current government put all its eggs in the same baskets in terms of counting on high oil prices and wasn't making the kinds of investments that were going to ensure jobs here in southwestern Ontario and elsewhere."

Trudeau also said he believes that the automotive sector will continue to be a key industry in the near future, and one in which Canada has "tremendous advantages."

The Liberal leader said Canada should be seen as a place where goods are manufactured responsibly with a high degree of quality.

"I think that's something that the global marketplace is looking for more and more. We just have to do a better job of selling Canada and selling Canadian manufacturing," he added.

Ed Holder, the Conservative MP for London West, issued a statement Thursday attacking Trudeau for his "high-tax policies" and pointing to the Liberal leader's statements on manufacturing during a prior visit to southwestern Ontario.

When Trudeau visited London, Ont., this past January, he said, "The people of southwestern Ontario are amazingly resilient and have demonstrated that moving beyond manufacturing-based employment is something they're willing to do."

He then also said that "as is the case for so many parts of the country, they need a partner in Ottawa."

On Thursday, Holder said this "will be part of his high-tax plan on Canadians" and Trudeau's policies "will devastate our region's manufacturing sector, further proof that he is just not ready to be prime minister."