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VIEW: ‘All-Canadian car worth pondering’, says Don Martin

Columnist Don Martin writes in today’s National Post that, “Lost in the mad rush to keep shovels digging and auto workers assembling is any sense of Canadian economic policy beyond surviving the recession…When 100 Canadians per hour are joining the bloating ranks of the jobless, long-range strategy is a hard sell to the masses. (But) Scott Paterson believes the moment has arrived for the federal government to help launch the all-Canadian car.”

“With Canada poised to dump what will inevitably be the first batch of taxpayer billions to keep General Motors and Chrysler alive as a struggling concern in Canada, it might be a pitch worth pondering.”

“Several Liberal MPs have expressed keen interest in his car concept as a dare-to-dream notion, perhaps sensing public skepticism over the impact of the budget’s two-year $35-billion stimulus package. Without something galvanizing like a domestic car, a Golden Horseshoe bullet train, a world-class container port system or an overdue upgrade of the Trans-Canada Highway, the stimulus seems poised to roll out as a patchwork of press releases and Conservative MP ribbon cuttings.”

“Mr. Paterson doesn’t hesitate to play the nationalism card in his plan, arguing its cars often define a country’s image and economic clout. ‘All we’ve produced is a business model for Canada to be the 51st state,” he says…Canada is now the only G8 nation without a car to call its own. Even smaller Australia has the Holden, albeit produced under the General Motors umbrella, which claims 15% of its sales market. ‘We are in the foreign-owned auto assembly industry,’ Mr. Paterson notes. ‘Unfortunately this is the same role that countries like Mexico and Slovenia occupy.'”

“Mr. Paterson’s preliminary proposal is for a government-sponsored roundtable of the key production principals to see if customizing an existing car platform for Canadian consumers is feasible.”

The full article is at http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/04/27/don-martin-has-the-time-come-for-an-all-canadian-car.aspx