Shortly after General Motors announced it would eliminate an assembly line at Oshawa, thereby eliminating 2,000 jobs, the Canadian Auto Workers union got on the phone to set up meetings with ministers from the three major political parties in Canada. The CAW didn't just want to jawbone and complain, either – it entered the meetings with a slate of breathtakingly ambitious initiatives that would comprise a national auto policy.

We're not sure if the union asked for everything hoping they could at least get half, but most of the ideas have little chance of leaving the printed page: the government should maintain minority stakes in automakers, devalue the Canadian dollar, secure manufacturing commitments from automakers, examine the feasibility of a Canadian carmaker and halt free-trade negotiations with the EU and other carmaking nations like Japan and Thailand. And in a move reminiscent of the Saab trustees' request to the U.S. government, the CAW, citing a "moral obligation" on the part of GM because the Canadian government still owns ten-percent stake in The General, asked MPs to strongly encourage GM to "to ensure continued investment in Canadian facilities and jobs."

After those bombshells, the additional requests of formally laying out a national manufacturing footprint and building a green automaker are soggy firecrackers by comparison. The blunt response of a Tory (conservative) MP who's a member of the Tory auto cacus was, "they want a highly labour-intensive auto industry behind protectionist walls and subsidized by taxpayers." CAW chief Ken Lewenza did claim that all parties agreed on the need for a national auto policy, nevertheless, we have a feeling it won't have much in common with the CAW's proposals.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      jj72
      • 2 Years Ago
      As a Canadian, the CAW can go back into the hole which it came from.
      Benjamin Roethig
      • 2 Years Ago
      The CAW makes the UAW look almost sane.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Benjamin Roethig
        [blocked]
      Diz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Buzz Hargrove of the CUAW single-highhandedly did more to kill the Canadian car business than any human being on the planet.
      Autoblogist
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's a socialist country which is fine, because it's not the US. They can make demands like that because they already have an expectation of a certain amount of govt support.
        Matt
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Autoblogist
        I have a feeling that there aren't many people in this world that know what Socialism is. Canada is still a capitalistic country. Yes we have national health care, and a couple other things that the U.S. doesn't, but it's not the definition of Socialism.
          Daniel D
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Matt
          Yeap Australia is apparently socialist too, because we have public health care. I think some yanks have no idea what socialism is, but they do have Fox news, which is even more worrying. That network has a reality distortion field around what actually happens on the planet, that even the late Steve Jobs would admire.
      Rob J
      • 2 Years Ago
      None of this surprises me at all. The high value Canadian dollar is hurting industry across the country and driving customers to the US in droves. There is evidence that Dutch Disease is affecting Canada with the recent explosion of the oil sands but that is VERY hard to prove. I also can't blame them for wanting to stop free trade agreements. NAFTA secured a stable source of demand but at the cost of our economic freedom as a country to protect our goods and their prices (not to mention our energy autonomy). Either way, the Conservative government would rather spend billions on super cool fighter jets, not permanent jobs.
      Rob J
      • 2 Years Ago
      None of this surprises me at all. The high value Canadian dollar is hurting industry across the country and driving customers to the US in droves. There is evidence that Dutch Disease is affecting Canada with the recent explosion of the oil sands but that is VERY hard to prove. I also can't blame them for wanting to stop free trade agreements. NAFTA secured a stable source of demand but at the cost of our economic freedom as a country to protect our goods and their prices (not to mention our energy autonomy). Either way, the Conservative government would rather spend billions on super cool fighter jets, not permanent jobs.
        Hossi Blumengaarten
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rob J
        SUPER COOL FIGHTER JETS FOR LIFE also those super cool fighter jets bring a lot of jobs, pilots, mechanic, people that maintain the air bases, suppliers and many many more
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Chuggowitz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Oh by all means, devalue our dollar. Who needs economic stability? Pssh.
        Pinhead
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Chuggowitz
        The Canadian dollar has strengthened significantly over a relatively short period of time (since like 2004, it's up 30% against the US dollar) - and this is going to hurt their export businesses.
          Pinhead
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Pinhead
          I don't get your point Chuggowitz. The Canadian autoworkers want to devalue the Canadian currency, to make *their* exports more competitive. Devaluing the US dollar would hurt Canadian auto workers even more than their high value dollar already has.
      th0mb0ne
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah, that's a completely sound and reasonable plan, CAW. Not crazy at all. What scares is that I'm sure there are more than a few politicians who will take the bait.
      AMG THIS
      • 2 Years Ago
      Closest thing Canada has for a car maker is Chrysler. Group CEO, Sergio Marchionne is Canadian, VP of design / SRT CEO Ralph Gilles is Canadian, CEO Dodge brand and head of sales, Reid Bigland is Canadian among a thousand others including 2 board members from Toronto. They also have 2 plants in Ontario.
    • Load More Comments