Harper says open to requests for automaker aid

Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:28pm EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Monday the Canadian government is open to any aid request for the auto sector, but he does not want it to become dependent on handouts.

"We are all aware of deep problems of some of the major companies in the auto sector. We're also aware of some actions that are taking shape in the United States. The government of Canada will examine all possibilities. We haven't ruled anything out or anything in. We will look at all the options that are before us," Harper, a Conservative, said after meeting the country's provincial premiers.

"None of us wants on the one hand a sector that would fail and that would cause tremendous dislocation in the Canadian economy. Neither do any of us want to see a sector that would be permanently supported by the government and that would not otherwise be financially viable."

(Reporting by David Ljunngren and Randall Palmer)

<p>Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper pauses during a news conference in Ottawa November 8, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>