Detroit's Fall Wallops Canada

By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2009 5:39 PM CDT
Employees work on the assembly line at the Chrysler minivan assembly plant in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Dave Chidley, file)
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(Newser) – The collapse of Detroit has turned its Canadian counterpart into a veritable ghost town, the Economist reports. Located just across the Detroit River in Ontario, Windsor depends heavily on the Big Three, and now claims Canada’s highest unemployment rate at 14.4%. But Ontario’s problems go beyond “Detroit North”—tight post-9/11 border security and a high Canadian dollar have strangled cross-border trade, and the recession has killed demand for raw materials.

Canada contributed substantially to the auto bailout, but it looks increasingly like new technologies and markets are the best way to stay afloat. The country is negotiating a free-trade deal with the European Union, and the prime minister is scrambling to find a Canadian buyer for a once-mighty Ontario tech company. But with 76% of Canuck exports going south, cities like Windsor are praying for a laxer border—and an economic turnaround.