Op-Ed: Romano Fights for Steelworkers

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Algoma Steel

U.S. steel tariffs are hurting Ontario businesses and workers and need to go. Tenaris has laid off half its workforce. To date, US tariffs have cost Algoma $250 million since they came into effect last year. That’s a million dollars each and every day.U.S.-imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum are hurting businesses, consumers and families here in Sault Ste. Marie and across Ontario — plain and simple. The 17,000 hardworking men and women who work in Ontario’s steel industry don’t deserve this. They need their elected officials to fight tooth and nail for their jobs.

When Minister Freeland visited last week, she voiced support for workers at Algoma and steelmakers across the country. Yet, we learned the same week that the feds have waived tariffs on more American steel imports. The federal finance ministry announced they would waive tariffs on $110 million worth of American steel. This is not the first time this has happened the feds have now waived nearly $400 million in retaliatory tariffs on American steel. These measures harm our Canadian steel industry, and producers like Algoma, while reducing the pressure on the Americans to get rid of their tariffs.

We also learned that the federal government is considering a review of the non-steel retaliatory tariffs, which affect American goods ranging from bourbon to lawnmowers. In February, I stood alongside my colleague, the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Todd Smith, and called for exactly this kind of review. The feds attacked us, but now they’re following our advice – even if they won’t admit it. While the Trudeau Liberals grapple with their pre-election drama, our government is doing our part to support the steel industry and call for an end to tariffs.

In January, we announced $60 million in financial support to ensure Algoma Steel remains competitive and sustainable in a tough global market. Our investment helps to secure thousands of jobs and pensions, and signals that Northern Ontario is open for business.

Minister Smith has written to the federal government, calling on them to implement permanent safeguards – measures that are supported by the Canadian Steel Producers Association and the province’s major steelmakers. Premier Ford has engaged with over 20 of his US counterparts, including the governors of Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky. In late February, he went down to Washington, DC and had the opportunity to meet with US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizier. He made it clear that tariffs are hurting workers and businesses on both sides of the border.

Our government is also providing new opportunities for our steel industry. I had the chance in the legislature last week to ask the Minister of Transportation, Jeff Yurek, about how companies like Algoma Steel can benefit from our historic, $28.5 billion investment in transit. These projects are going to require a lot of steel plate, like the kind produced at Algoma, and the Minister confirmed that Algoma will have a shot at providing it. While this kind of investment does not make up for the losses due to American tariffs, it provides much needed relief after a year of uncertainty.

When the new NAFTA was signed in November, we thought we were done with tariffs. But they remain in place and continue to hurt Ontario workers, families and businesses. Our government will continue to stand up for our steel industry, fight these tariffs, and protect good jobs in Sault Ste. Marie and across the province.

Ross Romano, MPP Sault Ste. Marie

22 COMMENTS

  1. All parties shove off press releases that try to make it sound like it comes from the LOCAL politician. We are not fooled.

  2. Romano fights for steelworkers as his boss announces planes to open up biding to international companies to provide steel for his subways..

  3. And what have you said to the USA who started all this … nothing … it was Trump that Doug Ford illustrated is admiration for… so you Support the new NAFTA deal .. I am sure it favour us over the USA .. have you reached out to different states that are on boarder to support ti drop tariffs.. let’s see the letter .I am sure you and Ford has done nothing to put pressure on Michigan or Illinois or Wisconsin..No you decided to be political and attack our government.. Ross sheep Romano and Doug chickensht Ford

  4. Seldom seen or heard from Ross couldn’t fight his way out of a wet paper sack but he is certainly taking advantage of every photo op now that an election is nearing.

  5. Incase you just want the coles notes from the below article..

    “Smith and Tory MPP Ross Romano were repeatedly asked to clarify that they want Canada to pre-emptively remove all of its retaliatory tariffs in a bid to convince Trump to do the same.

    Both confirmed that was the request and Smith said Ford had previously made a similar demand. The provincial government hopes that removing Canada’s tariffs could be the incentive needed for the U.S. to do the same.”
    This is Ross Romano folks, demanding then not getting his way, then when its someone else’s idea.. its bad!

  6. Its wonderful that this party thinks they are standing up for us, immediately after slashing jobs and cutting healthcare education and being caught in all their own lies.

    Ross you have no rights to point fingers until you and your party can come back and fix all the problems you are causing!
    This is just plain and simple political propaganda

    • Mike Hawk is education and healthcare the right place to make those cuts?
      After making those cuts is it ok to continue to feed money to pad the wallets of the rich?
      I agree that cuts need to be made, but they are digging deeper than they need

    • Mike Hawk so we just make the kids sick and dumb so they cant better themselves and enjoy a society of welfare seeking kids? Id rather we cut a few billion from business subsidies and welfare than education, just because we have smaller class sizes doesnt mean were wrong. It means we care more about our future. But you go ahead and worry about your pocket book

    • Robert Nevitt the kids are already dumb, too busy smoking the devils lettuce to care about learning. Too many businesses already left cause the cost to do business here. You want everyone claiming welfare? Damn liberals ffs

  7. Why are the Liberals so reluctant to stop imported steel from China? What is going on behind the scene? China has banned a product from our western Canada farmers. We owe them nothing.
    Freeland is all talk and no action…just like her boss. Neither of them saw fit to REALLY stand up to Trump and now we have these monstrous tariffs on our steel. I do not always agree with Mr. Romano but this time is is correct.
    Stop importing steel.
    Do not sign the final replacement deal for Nafta until Trump lifts the tariffs

    Are you listening Freeland and Trudeau??

    • Freeland and Trudeau have both already said that… Romano just found a parade to get in front of… The provincial government can’t do squat about it, but he makes it sound good….

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