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Canada to pitch in 20 percent on top of Detroit Three bailout

by Nick Aziz

Canada has agreed to contribute an additional 20 percent on top of whatever amount the U.S. government decides to loan to the Detroit Three -- assuming the Bush Administration goes ahead with its $14 billion plan. That could work out to $2.8 billion USD ($3.3 billion CAD) .



"The federal and Ontario governments are ready to move quickly if and when the Americans approve a support package," Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement told reporters in Toronto.

The announcement came late Friday amid ongoing uncertainty over the future of the industry. GM and Chrysler are said to be in talks with the White House and Treasury Department about emergency federal aid, following the failure of a similar proposal to pass the Congress.

"What we are signalling here tonight, both the governments of Ontario and Canada, is that we want to be part of the solution as well and it will be commensurate with the production that takes place here in Canada .-- about 20 per cent," Clement said.

The Detroit Three employ around 30,000 people at assembly plants and warehouses in Ontario. The Canadian Auto Workers union had been pushing the federal government all day to make an announcement in order to increase pressure on the White House.

"It is up to the automakers, with their parts suppliers and the unions, to work together on a long-term solution for their industry," explained Clement. "Governments can decide to help, but these decisions will only be made in the best interest of the taxpayers."