Ontario to battle job losses with spending

Thu Nov 29, 2007 2:42pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Ontario's newly reelected Liberal government, shaken by big manufacturing sector job losses, on Thursday promised spending on infrastructure and the auto sector to stem the outflow of jobs in Canada's most populous province.

The government "is clear-eyed about the challenges posed by a high (Canadian) dollar, high commodity prices and the intense -- and sometimes intensely unfair -- competition faced by our manufacturers, foresters and farmers," Lieutenant Governor David Onley said in the government's policy speech.

Ontario has shed some 60,000 manufacturing jobs in the past year as exporters were hit by an appreciating currency, cheap foreign labor, and restructuring at the three Detroit-based auto makers, which have plants in the province.

The Canadian dollar is up 60 percent since 2002.

Ontario said it would continue its 5-year C$500 million ($500 million) spending program for the automotive sector, and allot C$165 million to a venture capital fund.

($1=$1 Canadian)

(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; editing by Janet Guttsman)