OTTAWA, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- The head of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) is calling on Canada and the United States to step in and save the Big three automakers, saying a failure would be "devastating" to Canada's economy.
CAW President Ken Lewenza made the remarks Tuesday as CEOs from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler asked U.S. Congress for a minimum 25-billion U.S. dollar portion of Washington's 700 billion dollar economic rescue package.
Representatives from Ottawa and Canada's Ontario province will also take part this week in discussions in Washington about the future of the industry, which is estimated to employ between 400,000 and 500,000 Canadians.
Most of Canada's auto industry is based in the eastern province of Ontario and the industry contributes to 12 percent of Canada's total GDP.
Mark Nantais of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers' Association said Tuesday Canada must act together with the United States instead of waiting for the United States to take its own measures.
The two countries have been an integrated industry since 1965 and "it makes absolute sense to do it lockstep with the United States," he said.