Federal Automotive Innovation Fund a Step in the Right Direction, CAW says

Federal Automotive Innovation Fund a Step in the Right Direction, CAW says 
TORONTO, Jan. 7, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Auto Workers union has reacted 
positively to the federal government's renewal of the Automotive Innovation 
Fund, which will provide $250 million in repayable funding to support future 
capital investments in the auto sector. 
"This is an important affirmation that the federal government remains 
committed to attracting future investments in this vital industry," said Ken 
Lewenza, CAW President. 
"This fund is an important tool in our industrial policy toolbox, and its 
renewal sends a signal to automotive manufacturers that Canada is in the 
game," he added. 
However, the CAW President stressed that the fund alone will not be sufficient 
to preserve Canada's future share of auto investment and production. 
"International experience shows that the most successful auto jurisdictions 
are those which pursue multi-pronged auto strategies," he said. "We need a 
comprehensive, integrated federal-provincial strategy to attract investment 
and support Canadian jobs." 
In addition to financial support for new investments, such a strategy should 
also feature negotiated commitments to Canadian content, fair trade policies 
to reduce large auto trade deficits, active procurement strategies, and other 
policy levers. 
Last year the CAW released a major policy paper on the need for a national 
auto policy, titled Rethinking Canada's Auto Industry. It advocated a 
ten-point strategy to ensure a proportional Canadian share of 
high-productivity, well-paying jobs in auto assembly and parts production. 
The full 50-page document is available at www.rethinktheeconomy.ca. 
Lewenza noted the historic pattern of cost-sharing between the federal and 
Ontario governments in supporting major auto investments, and challenged 
Queen's Park to confirm that it will continue that traditional partnership. 
Lewenza also challenged the federal and Ontario governments to ensure that 
their future support for the auto sector is tied to enforceable commitments by 
the auto producers regarding their production levels in Canada. "Industrial 
policy needs both a carrot and a stick," Lewenza said. "Supported companies 
need to make clear and binding commitments regarding their long-run presence 
in Canada, in return for the public support they are receiving." 
Lewenza pointed to the successful Canadian footprint commitments contained in 
the 2009 restructuring agreements with General Motors and Chrysler, but which 
expire in 2017. "Those footprint commitments meant that Canada's share of 
North American vehicle production actually increased through the financial 
crisis. They are a model that should be replicated in our future investment 
John McClyment CAW Communications 416-315-3202 
SOURCE: Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) 
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CO: Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)
ST: Ontario
-0- Jan/07/2013 20:14 GMT
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