GM doesn't give any specifics about future of Oshawa plant

DAVOS, Switzerland -- Canada's economic development minister says the federal government has received no firm commitments from General Motors about the future of a key plant in the Greater Toronto area.

See Full Article

Navdeep Bains spoke this morning with Mary Barra, CEO of the General Motors Company, just before she had a closed-door meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

Bains said the government made the case for GM to keep its plant open in Oshawa, trying to play up Canada as a high-tech hub and Ontario as an automotive centre. He said the company didn't give the government any specifics about the future of the Oshawa plant, which has an uncertain future past 2017.

The plants used to produce the Chevrolet Camaro until General Motors moved production of the car to a plant in Michigan, costing about 1,000 employees their jobs in November. The company is to stop producing three other cars on the assembly line -- the Chevy Impala, Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS -- this year.

The company has previously said no decision on the plant will be made until after it concludes union negotiations this year.

Bains said the government made the case for the GM to keep its plant open in Oshawa, trying to play up Canada as a high-tech hub and Ontario as an automotive centre.

"These decisions by companies are not made on the spot. What they're looking for is a government that's willing to work with them, to partner with them," Bains told reporters.

"We made it very clear that Canada is open for business, that we're a willing partner in that and as they plan production, as they plan their buisness plan for the next two to three to five years, that we're part of that business plan, that we are given serious consideration."

The federal and provincial governments helped keep the plant running during the economic downturn of 2009 by pumping billions into GM to keep it afloat -- and maintain jobs in Ontario. The federal government sold its more than $3 billion in the companies last year to pad the bottom line.

Bains said Barra was thankful for the financial help. He said the company hasn't asked for any more money beyond what the government offers to carmakers.

Bains said talks with GM and other automakers has focused less on horsepower and more on the technology being produced in Canada that would help build self-driving cars. He said the Liberals plan to be an activist government to help companies, and felt confident that the face-to-face meetings happening in Davos are going to pay off.

Helping the Canadian contingent is that Trudeau is a political celebrity at the meeting and his officials want to take advantage of the doors that status opens by getting him as much face time as possible with international power brokers.

While the meetings don't end with any specifics -- such as firm commitments for spending -- government officials see them as an opportunity to sell Canada to foreign companies who can move their spending and investment to the jurisdiction where they can find the highest return.

The results may not be seen immediately after Trudeau leaves Davos, but may only be seen weeks, months or years later with the genesis of the investment starting here in the Swiss Alps.

"Relationships matter," Bains said.

"There's so much global competition that when they have a relationship, when they have a level of comfort, it does go a long way."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Takata Corp. files for bankruptcy in Japan and U.S. following air bag recalls

    Economic Toronto Sun
    Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of faulty air bag inflators. The company announced the expected action Monday morning Tokyo time. Source
  • From condoms to caskets: merchandise marks Canada's 150th birthday

    Economic CBC News
    It's been said that Canadians are not brash about their patriotism, but you wouldn't know it from the variety of merchandise, big and small, being snapped up in advance of Canada's 150th birthday July 1. From T-shirts to hats, flags to flasks, condoms to caskets, goods adorned with celebratory logos are popping up faster than you can say sesquicentennial. Source
  • Canadian lumber producers brace for second round of softwood lumber duties

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Canada's softwood lumber industry is bracing for a second wave of U.S. duties expected to come Monday that could put further pressure on producers, particularly smaller ones, to cut jobs. The U.S. Source
  • Warning labels might be coming to cheese: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

    Economic CBC News
    Miss something this week? Here's the consumer news you need to know from CBC-TV's Marketplace. Get this in your inbox every Friday. Sign up here. Fake drugs American prosecutors accuse CanadaDrugs.com and its CEO Kris Thorkelson of selling unapproved and counterfeit cancer drugs to U.S. Source
  • Debt, protectionism could drag down improving global economy

    Economic CTV News
    FRANKFURT -- The global economy has picked up and prospects for the next few months are the best in a long time. But the recovery is maturing and faces risks from populist rejection of free trade and from high debt that could burden consumers and companies as interest rates rise. Source
  • Air bag maker Takata bankruptcy expected Monday

    Economic CTV News
    DETROIT -- Drowning in a sea of lawsuits and recall costs, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. is expected to seek bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the United States early Monday. Takata was done in by defective air bag inflators that can explode with too much force, spewing out shrapnel. Source
  • Air bag maker Takata files for bankruptcy in Japan, U.S.

    Economic CTV News
    Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of faulty air bag inflators. The company announced the expected action Monday morning Tokyo time. Source
  • How Sears' troubles could hasten radical change in Canada's malls

    Economic CBC News
    Sears' plan to shut down 59 of its locations is grim news for the chain's landlords across Canada. Could it also spell doom for the nation's neighbourhood malls? Anchor tenants — typically big department stores — have always been a critical component of mall design. Source
  • Proposed rules for CRA amnesty program could expose more tax-cheat advisers

    Economic CBC News
    The Canada Revenue Agency is tightening its amnesty program for tax cheats, including a proposed rule that could expose more of the shady advisers who set up dodgy tax schemes to help clients hide their money. Source
  • Italian PM 'guarantees' savers' accounts in 2 troubled banks

    Economic CTV News
    ROME -- Italy's premier says holders of accounts in two troubled Italian banks will have their savings guaranteed despite insolvency proceedings. Premier Paolo Gentiloni was referring to Veneto Banca and Banca Popolare di Vicenza, each struggling with unpaid loans. Source