Ottawa is coming under increasing pressure to introduce a Buy Canadian program to accompany its multi-billion infrastructure plan that its proponents claim would maximize jobs and growth by freezing out foreign producers.
Justin Trudeau was in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Friday, where the issue is of particular concern since the city’s largest employer, Essar Steel Algoma Inc., is under creditor protection and trawling for new owners.
Trudeau was asked if the planned infrastructure blitz offered the 115-year-old Algoma plant the opportunity to win business without being undercut by cheap foreign steel. “We are concerned with the practice of dumping into the Canadian market and are working with different levels of government,” he said. “Building new infrastructure requires new steel. There is a strong future for the steel industry in Canada.”
The two areas where the feds could improve the prospects of a happy ending in Sault Ste. Marie are procurement and the trade remedy process.
On procurement, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters trade association has been vocal in calling for Buy Canadian provisions to be introduced to ensure companies like Algoma maximize the work from projects like the Champlain Bridge in Montreal.
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