Harper extends $250 million auto fund citing investment benefits

“The federal government announced a five-year extension of its $250-million Automotive Innovation Fund Friday that was immediately deemed by some industry observers as the ongoing cost of Canada’s continued participating in the North American auto industry. Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement at Ford Motor Co.’s plant in Oakville, Ont., alongside federal labour minister, Lisa Raitt,” Scott Deveau wrote for the Financial Post late last week. Deveau continued, “Mr. Harper said the decision was made to extend the funding because, to date, it has returned six times what the government has invested to the Canadian economy. ‘We’re in a globally competitive economy where there’s real fierce competition for the central core of this business, which is the assembly plants and the activities they undertake, because those things spin off a whole wide range of economic activity,’ he said at a press conference. ‘Any analysis of this fund [shows that] what we have invested from taxpayer dollars has been paid back many, many times,’ he added. The Automotive Innovation Fund was originally established in the 2008 federal budget to provide $250 million in federal funding over five years to automotive companies in support of strategic, large-scale research and development projects and other investments aimed at producing greener and more fuel-efficient vehicles. Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

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