February 21st, 2019
NDP: Get Rid of Tariffs – Help Steel and Aluminum Companies and Workers, Now
OTTAWA – After nine months of devastating steel and aluminum tariffs from U.S. President Donald Trump due to the failure of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government to remove them, Canadian companies and workers are left reeling with the costs. Despite the Liberal government’s assurances, the testimony at the International Trade Committee from companies and workers in the steel and aluminum sector revealed that businesses have closed and workers have been laid off as a direct result.
“Despite calls from the NDP for urgent action and for the Liberal government to include all parties in a plan for our workers and businesses, Canadian businesses and workers were left in the cold,” said NDP International Trade Critic Tracey Ramsey. “The Minister continued to say that her Liberal government was prepared, but throughout our study, facts suggest otherwise. Supports are not reaching those who need it most. The entire sector is in an urgent crisis. This government needs to urgently respond to help Canadian companies and workers survive.”
In late August, as negotiations on the new NAFTA were heating up, New Democrats called on the Liberal government not to sign the trade deal as long as the steel and aluminum tariffs remained in place. Despite the NDP’s warnings, the Liberal government signed Canada onto this agreement without first negotiating the removal of these dangerous tariffs. This was extremely disappointing to businesses and workers throughout the country and was reflected by the witness testimony heard at committee. In signing the deal, Canada lost its greatest bargaining chip to remove these illegal and devastating tariffs.
“The steel and aluminium sector has had a very difficult year with no end in sight. Companies are closing shop and workers are losing their jobs. The inaction from the Liberal government is causing stress on families and entire communities,” added Ramsey. “The Liberal government must implement an immediate review of the supports being offered with full consultation with stakeholders and labour. It is vital to address their real needs in a sincere effort to help sustain businesses and jobs throughout our country. Standing by and waiting for Donald Trump isn’t good enough. We must act urgently.”