Hargrove Appeals to Pm

By: Anthony Fontanelle

The Canadian auto industry is reeling and it is not only because the Big Three are suffering losses but also because of the increasing value of the Canadian dollar. With the loony rising steadily against the greenback, automakers manufacturing vehicles in Canada are reaping less profits than they used to when the Canadian dollar was not as strong as it is today.

As a result of these trends, the Canadian auto industry has seen thousands of workers losing their jobs. Several auto assembly facilities have also been closed while those still being planned are now in jeopardy of being scrapped.

Buzz Hargrove, the president of the Canadian Auto Workers union, recently appealed to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to step in and help the reeling industry. The Financial Post reported that Hargrove has asked the prime minister personally.

A 30-minute meeting between Hargrove and the prime minister took place last Tuesday. It was during the said meeting that Hargrove expressed his concern over the state of the auto industry and requested the prime minister to take action. It was the first meeting between the two since Harper was elected prime minister two years ago.

Hargrove said that the prime minister is aware and understands the problem of the Canadian auto industry. "He was very open and seemed understanding of the problems we're facing," he said of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. "He said he was looking at some ideas that will improve the industry but didn't clarify what they would've been," Hargrove added.

The CAW president also warned the prime minister that in ten-year time, Ford and General Motors may go under if the Canadian auto industry does not improve. This is because the Canadian auto industry plays a major role in securing large profits for the two American automakers. Before the meeting between Hargrove and the prime minister, General Motors has just announced that they have lost $38.7 billion last year.

Buzz Hargrove still believes that they can turn around the fate of the Canadian auto sector. "The auto industry is still Canada's most important industry," he said. "Although we've lost jobs and production, there's still time to save it," he added. The Canadian auto sector not only includes those assembly facilities owned by large automakers but also independent manufacturers which produces auto parts like a .

After his talk with the prime minister, Hargrove said that he is not expecting anything yet. "I'm not optimistic. What I'm saying is that I have his word," he said. "He made a commitment so we'll just have to see," concluded Hargrove.

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