Union leaders, Opposition MPs and even the Chamber of Commerce are pressing the federal government to help Canada’s struggling steel industry. Two Hamilton Members of Parliament, three chambers of commerce and union leaders at the local and provincial levels separately have called for help for the industry and especially for retirees and workers in Hamilton.
NDP MPs Scott Duvall (Hamilton Mountain) and Dave Christopherson (Hamilton Centre) have written to Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains, saying the federal government has stayed on the sidelines too long.
“To date, your government has not been tangibly involved in any way to help protect the jobs, benefits and pensions of current and former employees of USSC/Stelco despite commitments previously made by colleagues and the Prime Minister,” they wrote. “Workers, pensioners, the business community and the City of Hamilton have all appealed for your help. So far, you and your government have been missing in action.”
As a start, they want the government to release the “secret deal” that ended a lawsuit against U.S. Steel for breaking the production and employment promises it made to get government approval for the acquisition.
They also back a call by the United Steelworkers union for a public inquiry into Canadian bankruptcy law they say favours creditors at the expense of workers and retirees, and the 2007 takeover of Stelco by U.S. Steel. Duvall has raised the issue in Parliament several times.
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