That old Anne Murray song (the song is old, not Anne Murray...) popped into my mind when I read about the local layoffs at the Magna plants.
850 jobs to be lost in Aurora and Newmarket by next June.
I guess if Chrysler is your biggest customer and Chrysler is not doing well, it stands to reason that their suppliers are going to feel the heat too.
Chrysler is now a private company so we are not privy to their financial situation as we are to those of Ford and General Motors.
One of the ironies of this entire situation is that Canadian car sales have actually been up recently - October was up by just a few percentage points over October of last year.
But up is still up.
And Chrysler is doing relatively better in Canada than they seem to be doing in the US.
But the Canadian market is still one-tenth the size of the US, and our economies, especially our automotive industries, are inextricably linked. As Pierre Elliot Trudeau once famously remarked: if you're a mouse sleeping beside an elephant, when the elephant rolls over, the mouse notices. When the mouse rolls over...
Actually, our automotive mouse does punch above its weight - some 14 percent of North American auto production takes place in Canada, at least partly due to our country's superior pension and health care schemes which lower manufacturing costs, partly due to the weak Canadian dollar during most of the recent decade and which, despite the resurgence in the past year or so is falling back to what most economists seem to feel is a more natural and certainly more competitive level, and largely due to the fact that based on all available data, Canadian car workers are simply among the highest-quality and most productive in the entire world.
Part of the problem with the Magna factories is a big part of the entire problem for the domestic car industry - many of their workers are older, hence are near the top of their respective pay scales. As I outline in more detail in this weekend's planned Carte Blanche column in the print edition of Wheels, one of the main advantages the import-brand car factories had and still enjoy to a degree is that new, young, non-unionized workers in southern "right-to-work" states work cheap and don't care about titanium hips.
While it is always hard to lose a job, I guess we also must understand that things do change. These jobs were not there before Magna showed up, and they brought a lot of wealth to the community, the province, the country.
Now it's time for some other entrepreneur to show up and start something else.