Canada PM says coordinating with U.S. on auto aid

Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:37pm EDT
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By Caren Bohan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Canada has been working daily with American officials to coordinate on an aid plan for struggling U.S. automakers and is committed to providing the companies with a share of help, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Sunday.

"We've said whatever the United States government is ultimately going to do, we're prepared to do our 20 percent share because we have 20 percent of the industry," Harper told Reuters in an interview.

"And we've been working daily with the American administration to ensure we're on the same page."

As President Barack Obama prepares for a Monday announcement of his plans to help General Motors Corp and Chrysler LLC, Harper said the Obama administration will require stakeholders such as creditors and unions to make sacrifices.

"I'm certainly very confident that the Obama administration is going to require the automobile manufacturers and their stakeholders to make the difficult decisions necessary so that any government support will be successful and will create a viable industry," Harper said.

"I think the last thing the president wants is, where we do a government bailout that doesn't work and we'll have to do it over again in a year or a year and a half."

The Canadian and provincial Ontario governments scheduled a news conference for noon EDT on Monday to make statements on the restructuring efforts in the auto industry.

Canada and Ontario joined the United States in late December in arranging for short-term financing for GM and Chrysler and have been working hard to try to come up with a package by March 31.   Continued...

<p>Prime Minister Stephen Harper is pictured during an interview with Reuters in Washington, March 29, 2009. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang</p>