Reality Check: Weir vs. Scheer on Steel
April 26th, 2016
Regina–Lewvan MP Erin Weir is continuing to advocate for local Steelworkers while Conservative MPs Rona Ambrose and Andrew Scheer attempt to use them for a photo-op today.
The last time Conservative MPs visited a pipe facility in Regina was an election stunt at Tesco Mechanical, which uses Chinese-made pipe.
“I thank Ambrose for redirecting Scheer to a facility that manufactures pipe here,” said Weir. “But simply showing up at the right place is no substitute for implementing the right policies.”
The former Conservative government rubber-stamped Evraz’s takeover of IPSCO and approved foreign takeovers of every other Canadian steel mill. By contrast, the NDP proposes stronger and more transparent Investment Canada Act reviews to ensure a net benefit for Canadians.
The greatest threat to steel production in Regina is the dumping of Chinese steel into the Canadian market. The Conservatives allowed our market to be flooded with steel produced by China in violation of internationally-recognized labour and environmental standards.
“The Conservatives continue to cheerlead for so-called ‘free trade’ deals, without regard for labour and environmental standards or Canadian jobs,” added Weir. “Only New Democrats are pushing for ‘fair trade’ policies to ensure a level playing field for Evraz and other local manufacturers.”
In particular, the NDP advocates for stronger trade-remedy measures to remove the unfair competitive advantages created by China and some other offshore producers. Weir is the only Saskatchewan MP to attend the All-Party Steel Caucus in this Parliament.
Based on these consultations with industry, he explained in The Leader-Post (April 16, page B1): “We need the federal government to push for more domestic processing of our natural resources, implement balanced trade policies to prevent the dumping of offshore steel into the Canadian market, and ensure local manufacturers fair access to federal procurement contracts.” At the Government Operations Committee, he questioned the procurement minister about whether the new Champlain Bridge will be built with Canadian-made steel.
Conservative policies on foreign investment, international trade and public procurement are harmful to Canadian manufacturing. Steelworkers support the NDP because New Democrats stand up for working people.