Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Frank Valeriote, MP for Guelph, cries foul on Auto deal

For those who don't know who Frank is, he's a newly elected first time MP and a Lawyer from the little burgh of Guelph Ontario. Guelph is home to Linamar Corp., a company heavily involved in providing parts for the Automotive Industry. Apparently, Frank is the Liberal member on the Subcommittee on the Automotive Industry of Canada, which is a bit curious given his background, but I suppose this type of thing is common place in Otterwa.

I read the roughly 4 page document put out by the Liberal Party on their concerns regarding the Industry, the gist of which appears to be to recommend a North American working group to discuss strategies for the ailing auto industry. All very well and good I suppose, except for the realities of the Big 3 being American companies and that it most definitely appears to be a high priority item for the Obama admin at this time. So what exactly Frank and Co. think at this point is quite likely not very high on the Obama peoples agenda.

The concern that stood out in the great long 4 pages or so, was this;

This government has been completely negligent in defending Canadian interests and Canadian jobs,” he said.

This was made particularly evident last week, when General Motors told the auto subcommittee that it had committed all of its worldwide assets, including its assets in Canada, as collateral for U.S. loans to keep its American operations alive, Mr. Valeriote said.

“That may mean that this government's loans to GM Canada are going to be unsecured and Canadian taxpayers are going to be on the hook,” he said.

Political rhetoric aside, Frankie is a Lawyer, and I expect can easily understand loan documents and whether or not the government of Canada and thus it's citizens are properly secured in regards to the loans he refers to. Maybe getting some facts/terms would be more useful than writing up 4 pages plus on things that are largely irrelevant at this time?

The US government is going to do whatever it's going to do regarding GM and Chrysler. I don't think Canada's concerns will get much attention at this time, so better to expend your efforts clearly understanding our position than to speak only to be heard. I know a large number of Frank's constituents depend on the Auto Industry for their living. Not just the Linamar employees but the many who travel that awful highway every day to jobs in Milton, Oakville and the GTA, and I expect they want to hear that their guy is doing something. In keeping with that, my suggestion would be to learn all you can about the legal position, as quickly as possible, and to help make preparations if the bomb is dropped. Otherwise, you might be an MP with a very short term of service.

Liberal Party release below;

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