20 November 2008

Forest CEOs Object to Auto Bailout

Somehow ironic, although I don't recall the forest industry ever asking for outright bailouts. However, it DOES do nicely with subsidies and industry-friendly legislation - which pretty much can amount to the same thing.

Chief executive officers from 15 of Canada's leading forest companies warned Ottawa yesterday against bailing out the auto and aerospace sectors.

The CEOs, who have been struggling to survive a severe downturn in their own industry for the last two years, said in Vancouver that they don't want to see public money going to any bailouts for any failing industries.

Instead, Ottawa needs to "fix the fundamentals of the economy" ..., said Avrim Lazaar, president of the Forest Products Association of Canada.

"Using mountains of money to bail out failing industries simply doesn't work," Lazaar said after emerging from a closed-door meeting with the 15 CEOs. "If the government enacts measures that focus only on one or two sectors and have more of the flavour of bailout than competitiveness, we are going to be deeply disappointed. We are expecting this government to worry about jobs across the country, not just in a couple of ridings..."

The 15 executives represent Canadian industrial production worth $50 billion a year. Their mills employ 300,000 people and have weathered a downturn that has cost 27,000 jobs so far....

"I am outraged that after all these years about talking about what is necessary to pull investment into Canadian mills -investment in research, retooling to the green economy and investment in market outreach - it hasn't happened."

In the [Throne] speech, the Conservative government pledged to provide new support to the automotive and aerospace sectors, its most explicit promise of emergency aid yet.

Should be fun watching the Harpercrits juggling to keep all those balls in the air. And all the while their idiotic policies have left them scant room to manoeuvre.

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