"We never believed the government should be a shareholder of a private sector company for an indefinite period of time," Canadian Minister of Finance Joe Oliver said in the announcement of the deal. Prime Minister Stephen Harper intends to use the money to balance the country's budget to help offset lower oil revenue than expected, according to Bloomberg.
While the US government invested $49.5 billion in the GM bailout, the governments of Canada and Ontario played a large role as well by contributing a further $9.6 billion. The US Treasury sold off the last of its shares in late 2013, but Ontario waited until February 2015 to divest itself from the automaker, according to Bloomberg.
The Canadian government reportedly didn't know the entire restructuring plans for GM when it bailed the company out. The country has been slowing selling off its stake since the automaker's initial public offering in 2013.
Autoblog reached out to GM for comment and received the following statement: "We don't comment on market transactions. Like any shareholder, the decision by the Canadian government to sell rests solely with them."
Creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity remains Government's top priority
April 6, 2015 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance
Finance Minister Joe Oliver today announced the divestiture of Canada's remaining interests in General Motors Company (GM).
Canada GEN Investment Corporation (Canada GEN) sold all of Canada's remaining GM common shares (73,389,831 shares) to Goldman, Sachs & Co in an unregistered block trade. Further details about the share sale will be made available when Canada GEN reports its trade with U.S. and Canadian securities regulators in the next several days.
With completion of the sale, the Government of Canada has fulfilled its commitment to exit from ownership of GM as quickly as appropriate while maximizing the value for Canadian taxpayers.
Canada's auto sector is the largest industry within the Canadian manufacturing sector and a key driver of the economy, employing 117,000 Canadians directly and another 377,000 indirectly in automotive assembly and automotive parts production.
It is estimated that approximately 52,000 Canadian jobs were protected by the Government's action to help secure the health and sustainability of Canada's auto sector in the midst of a global recession.
The Canadian economy has posted one of the strongest job creation records in the Group of Seven (G-7) over the recovery, with over 1.2 million jobs created since July 2009.
"With today's announcement, we have eliminated a market exposure for Canadian taxpayers and returned GM to private sector ownership, having supported its continued contribution to the Canadian economy. As we said from the start, our investment in GM was always meant to be temporary. We never believed the Government should be a shareholder of a private sector company for an indefinite period of time."
- Joe Oliver, Minister of Finance