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CAW urges government to protect auto sector; reduce loonie, change trade laws


TORONTO — The Canadian Auto Workers union is calling on the federal and provincial governments to work together on new policies it says could help protect and revitalize the country’s automotive sector.

In a 50-page report titled “Rethinking Canada’s Auto Industry” the CAW urges governments to make several major changes, including a reworking of trade policies and intervening to curb the lofty loonie.

The CAW says Canada’s auto industry has endured years of turmoil, and corporations have had “complete freedom and power” due to lax government rules.

The union points to unbalanced trade policies, which it says have made it a “one-way street” of imports over exports with practically every country except the United States.

It calls on Canada to cease free trade negotiations with automaking countries including those in the European Union as well as Japan, Korea and Thailand.

It also suggests the loonie should be brought back down to a “fair-value” level. The union says the moves could include an intervention from the Bank of Canada or the government preventing foreign takeovers of resource assets.