(Democratic Renewal) – U.S. Steel has made its coup de grace against Canadian steel production. It is moving production of high quality steel for the auto industry to the United States, refusing to honour its social obligations to pensioners for post-employment benefits, stopping payment of municipal taxes, and threatening to shut down all production in Canada if the bankruptcy court does not bow to its long list of demands. To add insult to injury, U.S. Steel sent a letter to pensioners threatening that it will suspend all benefits for retirees, surviving spouses and dependents. It is asking for the approval of the Ontario Superior Court to do so.
Steelworkers have vehemently condemned the threat and are seeking a court order to stop U.S. Steel taking production out of Canada. “It’s a reprehensible, fear-mongering strategy from a company that has been on a crusade for years to abandon its obligations to workers, pensioners and our communities,” said USW Local 1005 President Gary Howe. Both will be in court on September 29 after an Ontario judge ordered the workers, the provincial government and U.S. Steel take part in mediation.
In destroying Canada’s Stelco, U.S. Steel has launched an all out attack on Canadian steelworkers, pensioners and Ontario’s manufacturing heartland. At a campaign stop in Windsor this week, Harper had nothing to say about U.S. Steel’s attacks or the unwillingness of his government to stop this foreign monopoly from destroying Canadian means of production, social wealth, jobs, pensions, communities and source of public revenue. Nor did the media bother to ask.
To assist Canadian manufacturing at this point in time requires governments to intervene to deprive monopoly right to destroy what exists. Why has Harper allowed U.S. Steel to destroy much of Canada’s capacity to manufacture steel for the auto sector, a vital component of Canada’s economy? He has the power under the Investment Canada Act, and, as the federal government, has the political obligation to defend Canada’s people, economy and security.
How can such destructive behaviour on the part of a global monopoly be ignored as if it does not exist? Canadians are asking with increasing intensity of feeling: Is this not a direct attack on Canadians’ rights and security? What kind of a government sits idly by while a foreign monopoly threatens to destroy the capacity of the Canadian economy to produce steel for the auto sector?
Time and time again, U.S. Steel has attacked the Canadian economy and the communities of Hamilton and Nanticoke, yet the Harper government claims these are private business decisions and it cannot and will not lift a finger. Meanwhile it bends over backwards to ensure that some of these same monopolies are placed in a privileged position through secret deals, including free trade deals such as the TPP, which Harper admits publicly will have negative consequences for the Canadian auto industry. For the Harper government, anything that defends and upholds public right and specifically the rights of workers and their industries and communities is a no-go, while actions of the monopolies destroying Canadians’ way of life are applauded and assisted.
The people have had enough of Harper’s anti-Canadian behaviour; they refuse to accept any government that cries impotence in the face of the global monopolies’ attacks on Canada’s economy, sovereignty and rights.
Manufacturing Yes! Nation-Wrecking No!
Curtail Monopoly Right! Stop Harper’s Nation-Wrecking Pay the Rich Schemes!