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Nova Scotia premier says his government is open to helping Michelin if asked

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's premier isn't ruling out future help for Michelin Canada but Stephen McNeil says any financial assistance will be free of grants to the multinational corporation.

McNeil said Thursday the tire manufacturing giant has not asked for assistance but the government would consider a proposal if it is brought forward.

Michelin had been a good corporate citizen during its time in the province, he said.

"If they see their opportunities for expansion here, then our government would be willing to have the conversation, but there's been no ask," said McNeil.

The Liberal premier was elected last fall after a campaign in which he promised to end so-called giveaways to large corporations.

Asked whether he would break that pledge to keep Michelin in Nova Scotia, McNeil replied: "We've sent a message to companies in this province that were not in the business of giving out free money. We have not ruled out the possibility of being in a loan position with companies."

When prompted for clarification, McNeil said there would be "no grants."

He said the government is sending three cabinet ministers to Pictou County on Friday for discussions with local politicians on how best to respond to the loss of 500 jobs over the next two years at Michelin's plant in Granton.

The company says it will phase out production of small tires at the plant in response to a continuing shift towards larger tires in the North American car tire market.

The Canadian Press

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