TORONTO, Nov. 30, 2018 /CNW/ - With thousands of Canadian jobs being eliminated and tens of thousands more at risk from devastating U.S. tariffs on Canada's steel and aluminum industries, it is unconscionable for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sign a new North American trade deal, the United Steelworkers (USW) union says.
"The Trudeau government has abandoned any pretense of standing up for tens of thousands of middle-class Canadian families who see their livelihoods disappearing before their eyes," USW National Director Ken Neumann said today, after Trudeau signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
"Not only have layoffs already begun, but businesses, labour and community leaders across the country have been clear that tens of thousands of additional jobs will disappear due to the absurd U.S. tariffs and the badly flawed USMCA. Still, the Trudeau government refuses to stand up for Canadian families," Neumann said.
"While the prime minister signs Donald Trump's USMCA, scores of families in Sault Ste. Marie face layoffs at steelmaker Tenaris, community leaders in Elgin Country warn of 5,000 jobs losses in their region alone, dairy and poultry farmers across the country are bracing for devastation in their sectors, millions of Canadians will be hit by higher costs for prescription medications, and the list goes on," he said.
"Canadians are right to question how much worse things have to get before this government takes decisive action to defend their interests. What will it take?" Neumann asked.
"On top of the devastation from the USMCA and the U.S. tariffs, General Motors – after receiving billions of Canadian taxpayers' dollars – will shut down one of its two remaining auto assembly plants in Canada, which will further devastate our manufacturing sector and our entire economy," he added. "Still, the Trudeau government refuses to stand up for Canadian jobs."
The USW is calling on Canadian parliamentarians to refuse to ratify the USMCA unless Trump's 'national security' tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum are permanently repealed.
"If the prime minister will not stand up for Canadian families, it is up to parliamentarians to show leadership," Neumann said. "MPs from all parties must take a stand and insist that the USMCA will not be ratified without a guarantee that there will be no tariffs or quotas on Canadian steel and aluminum."
During the USMCA negotiations, U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledged he was using the baseless tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum as leverage to extract concessions from Canada. The Trudeau government has been widely criticized for capitulating to Trump's demands for concessions in the USMCA without insisting that the unjustified U.S. tariffs be lifted.
"Unless the Trudeau government changes course, the ripple effects of its lack of leadership and its record of signing bad trade deals will be devastating to Canada's middle class," Neumann said.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, firstname.lastname@example.org
The USW is the largest private sector union in both Canada and North America with more than 225,000 members in Canada and more than 800,000 members continent-wide. The USW is Canada's most diverse union, representing men and women working in every sector of the economy.