Vale Closure Announcement Unacceptable – Steve Ashton (Thompsom, Manitoba MLA)

Steve Ashton was first elected to the Manitoba Legislature in 1981 for the New Democrat Party (NDP). He was re-elected in the general elections of 1986, 1988, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007. In October 2009, he was appointed as Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation, Minister Responsible for Emergency Measures and Minister Responsible for the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation. His daughter, Niki Ashton, is also a politician and is the New Democratic Party MP for the riding of Churchill.

Vale’s announcement that they are eliminating the surface operation here in Thompson is unacceptable.

Since the 1950’s Thompson has had a fully integrated mining operation.  The development of the refinery and smelter were integral parts of the 1956 agreement that established Thompson.

In good times and in bad times our community and our province have always been there to work with Inco, now Vale. In the process we have developed one of the best mining, smelting and refining operations in the world.

Vale’s announced shut down of the surface operations in Thompson came without any discussion about solutions with key stakeholders or the provincial government. I have never seen a more arrogant and insensitive move.

Ironically when Vale was taking over Inco they promised more jobs. This announcement flies in the face of their commitments.

My message and our message as a province to Vale is clear.

This announcement is unacceptable. Vale needs to come to the table not with announcements that are a done deal but with the approach of working with stakeholders to come up with solutions.

Vale may have bought Inco but the resource is ours. They have no right to treat our community and our province this way. 

A lot of blood sweat and tears have gone into building Thompson. We owe it to those that built this community and to future generations to fight to keep all aspects of the Thompson operation open.