Ontario's Car Industry Summons the Federal Begging Bowl

Samir Syed
by Samir Syed

The revival of Ford's defunct Windsor, Ontario engine plant may hinge on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's electoral ambitions. Here's the deal.. Each time the Canadian dollar rises, the divide grows between Canada's two most prosperous provinces. On one side we have Conservative Alberta, Harper's home turf, whose petro-success has strengthened the Canadian loonie. On the other side we have Liberal Ontario, the former industrial powerhouse, whose fortunes and competitive advantage have diminished in direct proportion to the loonie's ascent. In the past, Harper has rejected the call for manufacturing subsidies, pissing off Ontario no end. However, this time, an election looms; Harper needs votes in Ontario. Signaling a possible shift in government policy, Harper's industry minister Jim Prentice has hinted that Ford's Windsor plant may be eligible for a chunk of the $350m hardship fund earmarked for Ontario. The Globe and Mail reports that Prentice has pinned the chances of Ford receiving the money on just how much Ontario's provincial government, led by Liberal Dalton McGuinty, cooperates. And if neither Ford nor Dalton play by Harper's rules, well, GM is also lined-up to receive some that loot to build a six-speed transmission plant in St. Catharines, Ontario. Realpolitik, eh?

Samir Syed
Samir Syed

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  • Raast Raast on Jan 28, 2008

    So for all the skeptics out there, where exactly do you suppose the money for the handouts comes from? The government just prints more right? Anyone here in Canada remember John Manley wanting tax breaks for...the NHL? I don't mind heading off to work every day so that part of my paycheque can be doled out accordingly. Ya think?

  • Gardiner Westbound Gardiner Westbound on Jan 28, 2008

    Ford closed the Windsor engine plant less than two months ago. It wants $60-million from the government to reopen it. That's thinly-veiled extortion. General Motors says it will permanently layoff 900 St. Catherines workers. Chrysler has announced 3,300 Ontario job cuts. Undoubtedly they are monitoring Ford's trip to the taxpayer money tree. There's nothing like free money to grease capitalism's wheels!

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Jan 28, 2008

    Please take a deeeeeep breath. Now, I want you to relax, and think objectively. Detach from your emotions a moment. Become purely analytical. Ready? A system of government where private property and capitalism are the apparent methods of control, but where the state actually maintains to itself the power to redirect wealth and resources is called fascism. Breath again. No, there are not a bunch of people running around Canada in jack boots killing people because of race or religion. That was nazism. Everyone's brains turn off when you use the word fascism, but it has a meaning, and the folks who are for it never use it. They hide it, deny it, and change the subject (most often with clever demagoguery). Harper is no better, or worse than the alternatives because Canada has lost the respect for private property needed to have a proper society. It's a miracle the place is still as nice and livable as it is. The government there has been redistributing wealth for decades, and even when they realize how stupid they were, they do it AGAIN! And, they wonder why the kids will steal a car because they are too cold to walk.

  • Yankinwaoz Yankinwaoz on Jan 28, 2008
    John Manley wanting tax breaks for…the NHL no different down here buddy. millionare owners of football teams are always trying (and succeeding) to taxpayers to build them stadiums AND guarantee profits.