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Harper Says Canada Not Bound by U.S. Move to Sell GM

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the Canadian government isn’t bound by the U.S. Treasury’s plan to sell its stake in General Motors Co.

Harper, speaking to reporters in Oakville, Ont., said the government will look to maximize value for taxpayers in selling Canada’s shares in the company. At the same, the government doesn’t intend to be a long-term shareholder, he said.

GM said last month it will buy $5.5 billion of its stock from the U.S. Treasury, moving the U.S. a step closer to ending the controversial bailout of the auto industry. The Canadian and Ontario governments together own about 9 percent of GM shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“All of us can sell our shares at a time of our own choosing,” Harper said. “We are not bound by what the government of the United States decides.”

Canada “will sell them in a way that attempts to maximize the value for the Canadian taxpayer,” Harper said. “Obviously, in the long term, it is not the intention of the Government of Canada to be an owner in the automobile sector.”

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