Canada House passes emergency economic aid bill

Tue Feb 5, 2008 11:19am EST
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian House of Commons speedily passed legislation on Tuesday providing a C$1 billion ($1 billion) aid package for workers and single-industry towns hit by economic turbulence.

The House passed it with no debate and sent it quickly to the Senate, which is expected to rubber-stamp it with little delay.

The package targets the manufacturing industry and particularly the forest industry, which has been hit hard by the slowdown in the U.S. housing industry and by the strong Canadian dollar.

It is designed not to provide direct subsidies to these industries, so as not to run afoul of international trade rules, but rather to help workers and towns that are dominated by one industry.

Under pressure from opposition parties and provincial premiers, the minority Conservative government said on Monday it would not to make dispersal of the aid dependent on passage of its budget, which is expected to be brought down in the next month or so.

($1=$1.00 Canadian)

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Peter Galloway)

 
<p>GM employees assemble Chevrolet Impalas at the GM Oshawa Assembly Plant, June 19, 2007. The Conservative government will create a separate bill for a promised C$1 billion ($1 billion) in aid to towns and workers hard hit by economic downturns, instead of including the money in the next federal budget, a government minister said on Monday. REUTERS/J.P. Moczulski</p>