November 2, 2007

Record high dollar affects manufacturing sector, says CAW

Toronto, Ontario – The rise of the Canadian dollar is affecting the Canadian manufacturing sector, with hundreds of thousands of jobs already lost and many more on the horizon if nothing is done to slow the dollar’s growth, says Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) president Buzz Hargrove.

On the currency market yesterday, the Canadian dollar traded at 106.14, matching the record set in August 1957, after hitting 106.17 on October 31. The rise has been attributed to a number of factors, including the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to cut interest rates for the second time this year, and the soaring price of oil and gold, two of Canada’s most important commodities.

As job losses continue to mount for Canadian manufacturers who rely heavily on the export market, Hargrove and the CAW blame the federal Conservative government for its lack of political will to intervene during this crisis.

“The Canadian economy still hasn’t adjusted itself from the first U.S. interest rate cut, and now we are faced with a second,” Hargrove said, following an announcement of layoffs at two of Chrysler’s Canadian assembly plants. “We face further job losses in our auto sector and the broader manufacturing sector, and the Harper government continues to stand idly by. At a time when we need leadership, we have none.”

The Chrysler announcement comes on the heels of the recent GM Truck Plant shift loss. The union says that the Canadian economy has lost over 75,000 manufacturing jobs so far in 2007, during a period when the dollar has risen by 28 per cent.

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