Even the conservative Harper government of Canada is having difficulty abandoning ideology for good old fashion pragmatism, something the Republicans in the U.S. have yet to learn. GM and Chrysler’s possible implosion affects both countries in terms large numbers of jobs.
Tony Clement,Harper’s minister of Industry, is still in “studying the problem mode,” collecting information. Nonetheless, he is concerned–as is the CBC news media.
Canadian car sales are down. A lot of jobs are at stake. The Big Three were not prepared for the 21st century. In Canada, Chrysler is building muscle cars–not exactly what is needed.
Like U.S. Republicans, Canadian conservatives are wed to free market ideology. But a melt down of the auto industry challenges such ideology. Pragmatism may rule in Canada. Such pragmatism may distinguish Canadian versus American conservatism. Canadian conservatives will think outside the box, when they are forced to.
Right now, Republicans are toeing the ideological line. They are, however, running a huge political risk if GM and or Chrysler go under before Obama takes office.
Tony Clement is well aware that the auto industry must transform itself.
Unfortunately, it needs time to do so, but it certainly is in no position to re-tool quickly, to about-face and to march to a more intelligent drummer. It needs to get over the present hurdle.
Obama has talked of an auto czar; Conservatives in Canada would most probably follow suit. They are watching carefully to see how the Americans jump.