BURLINGTON, Ontario (Reuters) -- Canada has no immediate plans to sell its stake in General Motors, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Wednesday following news the U.S. Treasury will sell its entire stake in GM over 15 months, but he said the stake will be sold eventually.
"We've always been clear about two things. One, that we will not have a fire sale - we will not sell the shares without getting the best value we can for Canadian taxpayers - and secondly, that we are a Conservative government. We are not interested in the long term in being shareholders in private corporations," Flaherty told reporters in Burlington, Ontario.
"Over time we do intend to divest. On the timing, I'll have to get back to you."
Canada's federal government and the province of Ontario became shareholders of GM in 2009, when they contributed a combined C$10.8 billion ($10.89 billion) to a bailout to keep GM afloat. The U.S. government provided about $50 billion.
Canada and Ontario's combined 9 percent stake, made up of around 140 million common shares and 16.1 million preferred shares, was worth C$3.5 billion at the end of September.
GM said on Wednesday it will buy back 200 million of its shares from the U.S. Treasury, which intends to sell the rest of its GM stake over the next 15 months, bringing to an end ownership that led to the nickname "Government Motors."
Flaherty said he spoke Wednesday morning with the chairman of General Motors, Dan Akerson, to discuss the sale.
"It is something we will now consider," he said.