Federal and Ontario Governments Should Maintain Some GM Ownership, Lewenza Says

November 3, 2010, 10:39 AM EST


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The federal and Ontario governments should keep some ownership in General Motors to ensure Canada continues to play a strong role in the auto makers manufacturing plans, CAW President Ken Lewenza says.

Lewenza told reporters after a November 1 Windsor Rotary Club luncheon speech that it's important not only for CAW members, but also for Canada's overall economic security.

"Having a face at the table with partial ownership could push future investment, future security," Lewenza told Wards Automotive. General Motors is expected raise funds starting later this month through an initial public offering (IPO) on the stock exchange and use the money to pay back some of the money loaned by the U.S. and Canadian governments.

In 2009 the federal and Ontario governments provided billions in financial aid to GM and Chrysler helping to ensure they emerged from bankruptcy. The money was conditional on investment to ensure the companies maintained a significant manufacturing footprint in Canada. GM has already paid back $1.4 billion to the federal and Canadian governments.

During his speech Lewenza stressed the importance of establishing reciprocal trade including trade rules that link production to sales, similar to the Canada-U.S. Auto Pact, which was overruled by the World Trade Organization back in 2001. The Auto Pact ensured U.S. auto makers built one vehicle in Canada for every one they sold here.

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