Canada Liberals demand emergency debate on auto aid

Wed Nov 26, 2008 4:50pm EST
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Pressure on Canada's Conservative government to help the troubled auto sector grew on Wednesday after the main opposition party demanded an emergency debate in Parliament to address the issue.

"We feel the government has sat on its hands long enough," Liberal legislator Judy Sgro said in a statement.

The government said on Tuesday it won't hand over any cash to the industry until it has presented a solid business plan but has not set out a clear timeline for a decision.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent Industry Minister Tony Clement to Detroit and Washington last week to gather information, but the opposition Liberals say there is still no plan in the works for a bailout.

"Canadian jobs can't wait until the Conservatives bring out their February budget -- we need to move much sooner," said Liberal legislator Gerard Kennedy.

The Liberals worry that Washington may vote as early as December 8 on a plan to support the U.S. auto sector and they argue that a bailout south of the border bailout could protect U.S. jobs at the expense of Canadian workers.

Ottawa has said it hopes Washington will take into account the Canadian supply chain for the highly integrated North American car industry when it does act.

($1=$1.23 Canadian)

(Reporting by Louise Egan; editing by Rob Wilson)