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When Sergio Marchionne abruptly withdrew Chrysler’s request for $700-million from the Ontario and federal governments last month – complaining that his subsidy demand had become a “political football” in the province – it seemed to many that he didst protest too much.

Corporate demands for government assistance have always drawn intense public scrutiny, with the pros and cons widely discussed in legislatures and the news media. Mr. Marchionne’s sudden spurning of the hand he sought to feed Chrysler, just four years after both governments bailed out his company, took policy-makers aback. Was he was counting on them to panic and cave?

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