Canadian taxpayers have been spared the financial pain of another government giveaway to an automaker — but not because their public officials have suddenly seen the light and renounced such marketplace perversions.
Five years ago, the governments of Canada and Ontario bailed out Chrysler Canada with a $2.9 billion (Canadian) loan. Canada's conservative Fraser Institute estimates taxpayers will never recover $810 million of that. Yet Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne lately had threatened to end vehicle production in Canada unless more corporate wealthfare was forthcoming.
Both Canada's government, controlled by the Conservative Party, and Ontario's government, controlled by the Liberal Party, were willing to entertain Mr. Marchionne's demands, which he hadn't made public. But resulting controversy — including the head of Ontario's right-leaning Progressive Conservative Party decrying “corporate welfare handouts” — apparently made pursuing more government help more trouble than it was worth for the automaker.
Calling the issue a “political football,” it dropped its demands Tuesday last. Marchionne said Chrysler Canada would be less beholden to government, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Alas, this outcome will remain the exception, not the rule, until governments stop such market-distorting interventions that reward corporate arrogance, turn taxpayers into unwilling venture capitalists and invite further demands.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.