Doug Millroy: No room for Ross Romano

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Partisan politics should be thrown aside in this country’s fight against the tariffs being imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump, but apparently that is not the case in Sault Ste. Marie.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in the city on Wednesday and led a roundtable with area leaders and stakeholders to discuss steel industry concerns.

There was, it turns out, no room for Ross Romano, who just happens to represent this city as a Progressive Conservative in the Ontario Legislature, not only at the table but in the room.

Romano said when he first heard that the prime minister was going to be in the Sault his family was with him in Toronto for his March break but he arranged to fly back to the Sault for the roundtable, which he fully expected to attend.

He said he contact the office of Terry Sheehan, our MP who happens to be a Liberal, to ask for the details.

“We were told that we would be advised and on Tuesday we called again and were told that the meeting had been moved to Wednesday and that nothing could be done, nothing could be changed. The schedule had been made and at that point it couldn’t be changed.”

I asked him what would have to be changed to allow for him being in the room and he said that was just relaying what he was told.

“They were well aware from last week that I was coming back for the purposes of being here for that event,” he said. “It is unfortunate that I wasn’t asked to be present. I thought that the gravity of the situation and the work that I had put in during the weeks before, both in the provincial legislature as well as working working with state senators on the tarrifs, would mean I should be there.”

He said he would have liked to have attended, even if it were as a spectator.

As our MPP, he should have been there. As Coun. Frank Fata pointed out, Sudbury MPP Glenn Thibeault was there.

But then, he is a Liberal and this obviously was a Liberal event, a photo-op for the prime minister, in Fata’s words.

Fata believes Trudeau’s visit, part of a tour to assure four steeltowns that the government is working on their behalf, was a waste of time.

I think so too. We know the federal government is fighting the tariffs and surely any further information could have been done by a phone call to our mayor, Christian Provenzano, who could have passed on the information to the rest of us.

In regard to the attendance by Thibault, the mayor said it was his understanding that the Prime Minister’s Office invited the Premier of Ontario and that the Premier sent Minister Thibeault as her delegate.

Sheehan himself confirmed that later in the day, saying in an email: “For all the stops to the Prime Minister’s very successful cross country tour to support Steel and Aluminum workers, the Premier of the Province was invited to attend. For Sault Ste. Marie, Premier Wynne designated Cabinet Minister Glen Thibeault to represent the Province of Ontario. I will refer you to the Prime Minister’s office if you have further questions.”

Coun. Matthew Shoemaker, replying to the email Fata distributed to council in regard to Romano’s exclusion from the roundtable, said as it was Sheehan’s event, he could invite who he wants:

That is undoubtedly correct, but I think if you asked any Saultite, Liberal, PC or NDP, a majority would say our MPP of whatever political persuasion should have been there.

Local paramedics are asking for the public’s support in their wage dispute with the city but, from where I sit, without revealing what they are asking the public to support.

Laurie Lessard-Brown, president of Uniforlocal paramedics  Local 1359 who represents 54 paramedics in Sault Ste. Marie, was quoted in The Sault Star as saying the city’s final offer was insulting.

“It is completely unacceptable and embarrassing that the City of Sault Ste. Marie is showing such disrespect to first responders who save lives every day,” she said.

The city’s offer calls for a 1.5 per cent increase in the first year with 0.5 increases in year two and three. The first year increase includes a base pay increase, introduction of shift premiums and paid meal breaks.

Lessard-Brown told The Star the increases proposed by the city would keep the local paramedics paid lower than others across the province for the same work. She said paramedics in Thunder Bay received wage increases of 2 per cent, 2.6 per cent and 2.65 per cent in their three-year negotiated contract.

This, I thought, was where the local paramedics should have told The Star what they were seeking in the way of wage increases so we, the people who will be paying for them, would have something on which to judge the merits.

But as they didn’t offer and I gather The Star didn’t ask, I thought I would.

“What do paramedics in the Sault make in wages. I have been told $34 an hour, $74,000 a year.

“Is this the starting wage or top wage. If it is not the starting wage, what is the starting wage?

“When you are asking for parity, are you asking for parity for cities in the north or in the south as well?

“What is the wage in percentage or actual dollars that you are asking for?

“Do you know what paramedics in Thunder Bay, North Bay, Sudbury and Timmins make? I note you mention the increases paramedics in Thunder Bay got but not what paramedics there made before they got the increases.”

This was the main thrust of the questions I put to Lessard-Brown in an email to prevent further telephone tag. I didn’t receive a reply.

The union was passing out leaflets at a Soo Greyhounds game a couple of weeks back, asking for the public to support them by calling their city councillors, who were listed on the sheet.

They pointed out they:

“Respond to emergent and non-emergent calls – from cardiac arrests to nursing home transfers;

“Attend more calls per ambulance than any service in Northern Ontario;

“Have been working without a labour contract for nearly one year”.

In regard to their claim about attending more calls per ambulance than any service in Northern Ontario, it would have given us a clearer picture if they had provided some numbers to back up their claim.

In regard to their working without a labour contract for a year, join the club. The city’s firefighters have been working without one for four years.

In regard to non-emergent calls, maybe the city could look elsewhere for this. After all, there are companies that handle such transfers as they don’t require the expertise of a paramedic. Maybe something could be set up here, possibly through a cab company willing to expand into this field.

The union claims the city is prioritizing budgets over the needs of the community.

Well, the public does expect the city to attempt to control costs, but I will admit the city does seem more than a little chintzy in what it is offering the paramedics in the way of increases.

However, some may disagree as they make, according to Al Horsman, chief administrative officer of the city, $37.14 an hour, $77,251 a year.

 

15 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t let Frank Fata fool you, he’s a closet Liberal. Check it out!

    “As residents of this great City, we have an important decision to make on Thursday. We must decide who will best represent us at Queen’s Park.

    Our family knows the answer is simple – David Orazietti.

    We’ve made mistakes in the past.

    Do James Kelleher and Carmen Provenzano ring a bell?

    Let’s not make the same mistake again.

    Let’s do what’s best for us, for Sault Ste.Marie.

    Do we really have any other choice?

    My family thinks not.

    Please cast your vote.

    Let’s do the right thing.

    Good luck to all of us.

    Frank Fata”

    https://www.sootoday.com/local-news/frank-fata-talks-about-voting-137161

    • Yes, I voted for Carmen Provenzano, voted for Orazietti, voted for Christian Provenzano. In all cases, I voted for the person who I thought could do most for SSM. “I suspect Mr. Fata endorses whomever he feels helps him politically”. Seriously ??? b, you really should learn how to spell out your entire name. I’m sure with practice, you could memorize every letter.
      Folks, the ones with common sense, can see a wave is coming. And it’s not with the liberals, and I don’t believe the NDP will pull off another Bob Rae moment. Yes, I do vote for the person who can do the most good for SSM. These libs and NDP just want to give away the family farm. And at our expense. You know, the people who pay taxes. You probably will pay taxes too when you grow up, b. Have a nice day everyone.

  2. Would the PC,s invite a LIBERAL to one of their EVENTS? I doubt it. The Liberals were not looking for input so why would they want Romano there ?

    • Ted, your and b need to get educated before you speak. But then look, you can’t even spell out your entire name here. We’re talking about Algoma Steel, the lives that are affected if we don’t work together to deal with this potential disaster that is Donald Trump. Romano has worked on this issue of tariffs and Algoma as much, if not more then MP Sheehan. Look it up !!! This is not about who gets credit folks; this is about the future of SSM and all its citizens. b and Ted; do you own property here, do you have roots with family and friends affiliated with Algoma….you probably don’t. Otherwise, stop spewing bs and go play with your legos. This is an adult conversation that should be happening here. Romano, Sheehan and the Mayor should be working together; the libs should know better. If they really cared, they would. Seriously folks !!!

      • That’s a pretty childish response from an alderman who is supposed to keep an open mind and represent ALL the citizens. Yes…this is an adult conversation and YOU MR. FATA do NOT control the agenda on this site. If you think Doug Ford is good for Ontario so be it..but…please look at his track record and total lack of political experience.

        • All of Mr. Fata’s comments are childish. Everyone is allowed their opinion. Unfortunately he is unable to deal with adult responses. I guess if you don’t agree with him, then your wrong. Sad for a councilman to act like a three old and throw a temper tantrum.

      • Algoma Steel? There is no Algoma Steel, any more.
        That steel mill has been going bankrupt and being resurrected on a regular basis since it opened.

  3. The liberals were clearly using this photo op as an opportunity to score some valuable political points, both federally and provincially. As taxpayers, Algoma employees, and citizens; we all want the best possible out come with Algoma, possible tariffs inflicted on the backbone of our Community, Algoma Steel. MP Sheehan stated “all hands on deck” in his monologue at the round table with the pm. Well, folks, all hands weren’t on deck, an important piece of the political puzzle was missing, with clear intent. Ross Romano, MPP for SSM was not invited, but Glenn Thibeault, liberal mpp, from Sudbury, was there. Seriously folks ???? Let’s get real !!!!

  4. Party aside. Couldn’t Doug Ford have made a call to the PMO? I don’t believe MPP Romano would have added anything of value to the discussions with the PM, as the PM was here as a show of support for domestic producers, and not really looking for input. He is the PM. He has the facts and he has the mandate to govern. Had PM-JT been looking for input, very unlikely he wants PC input. Ontario PCs are all about selling out Canadians and manufacturing. Ross did the Sault a favour and enjoyed his March break in Toronto instead!

    • A typical libtard response.
      Can’t blame you for grasping at straws when we you already know that there will be a PC majority government in our near future.
      The libs have shown that they are not fit to govern a lemonade stand let alone a country.

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