Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Saturday announced a 3.3-billion-dollar rescue package for US automakers based in Ontario.
The package loans three billion Canadian dollars (2.5 billion US dollars) to General Motors (GM) and one billion Canadian dollars (824.4 million US dollars) to Chrysler, Harper said in Toronto at a joint press conference with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"This is a regrettable but necessary step to protect the Canadian economy," Harper said. "Today's announcement is not a blank check."
The Canadian federal government will loan 2.7 billion Canadian dollars (2.2 billion US dollars) and 1.3 billion Canadian dollars (1.1 billion US dollars) will come from Ontario province, the heart of Canada's auto industry, McGuinty said.
"These are extraordinary circumstances that require extraordinary measures," McGuinty said.
The announcement came on the heels of a 13.4-billion-dollar rescue package for US automakers announced Friday by US President George W. Bush.
Under the plan, GM will get 9.4 billion dollars in two installments through mid-January and Chrysler up to four billion this month. The plan could include an additional four billion dollars from February for GM pending congressional action.
Earlier this month, Canadian subsidiaries of the American car companies asked for some 4.8 billion dollars from Ottawa to restructure their operations in Ontario.
Source: AFP Global Edition