Member of Parliament Terry Sheehan came into the Superior Media Studios to talk about the retaliatory tariffs against the U.S, which come into effect today.
This interview comes just one day after Sheehan returned from Hamilton, another major steel town impacted by the U.S tariffs on steel and aluminum.
The retaliatory tariffs will be hitting the U.S on a number of different markets, including a couple unexpected ones – like pickles.
Sheehan explained the logic, “People are always asking, why the pickles? Well, it just so happens there is a congressperson from a district who has been anti-free trade, not just on aluminum, but on dairy, forestry, agriculture, animals, you name it. And it just so happens in his district, there is a pickle factory. Those tariffs that he so supported that are hurting Canadian workers, he is going to see the effect in his riding.”
But in addition to the counter-blow to the U.S, Sheehan wanted to highlight the positive aspects of the newly implemented measures for Canadian steelworkers and employers.
The Prime Minister announced that $2 billion dollars will be allocated in order to support steel and aluminum workers during this time.
Sheehan said “the Prime Minister listened to steel producers, took their ideas, listened to the unions, stakeholders, and communities to come up with these measures. We had emergency trade meetings and actually implemented those ideas, it was a pretty rapid response.”
Some of the key elements of the program include extending E.I benefits for layoffs, doubling the time someone can be on E.I so that individuals can continue to support themselves and their families, and provincial funding for training and retraining programs so that people can expand their employment opportunities by becoming certified in other trades or professions.
This comes hand in hand with a key point and issue that many Saultites have brought up over the years – the need to diversify our economy.
Sheehan has faith that Trudeau has a plan to end the tariffs, and is supportive of the Sault and other steel towns.
Speaking to the integration of U.S and Canadian economies, Sheehan said, “It (the steel trade) supports Canadian steel workers, but it also supports the mining, coal, and iron industries in states across the river, as well as their transportation and manufacturing industry… There is balance and equilibrium… We want to get back to doing business, and get back to creating certainty through a free trade agreement.”
In terms of steps moving forward, our MP explained that the All-Party Steel Caucus have penned a letter to their American counterparts asking them to continue to work with them to get rid of the punitive tariffs to “get back to the business of consistent, integrated trade that is so helping in building both nations.”
One positive thing that Sheehan has noted coming out of this trade tiff is Canada’s parties working and standing together, in what some would call true Canadian fashion. To this point, he said “I haven’t seen people come together as much as they have on this issue, and it is something I called for right away in the House of Commons… Its too critical for us be taking shots at each other.”
Stay tuned as ONNtv/SaultOnline follow the unprecedented, ever-changing nature of Canada and the U.S’s trade relations.