Randy Hoback would like to see the federal government to do more for the steel industry.
As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads across the country to meet with steel workers and hear their concerns, Prince Albert’s MP, who serves as the critic of Canada-US relations, is levelling criticism that the ruling Liberals aren’t doing enough to make a real difference.
Trudeau stopped by Evraz in Regina on Wednesday. That same day Hoback and the Conservatives put out a press release with their criticisms.
“Today was really interesting,” Hoback said Wednesday.
“He came out to Evraz Steel, and Evraz Steel is best known for making pipe for pipelines. For (Trudeau) to come into Evraz Steel and tell them he has their backs, I find it really ironic and misleading.”
Hoback said Trudeau hasn’t done enough to get pipelines built, with Energy East Northern Gateway and the approved Kinder Morgan pipelines stalling. Building those pipelines would give Evraz more work.
Hoback also fears the Liberals won’t be strong enough fighting steel tariffs being mulled over by the Trump administration in the United States.
“The reality is that threat has been there for two years, ever since Trump got elected. The reality is, a phone call from Prince Minister Trudeau won’t change Trump’s mind. It’s consumers of Canadian aluminum and consumers of Canadian steel products that use them in manufacturing processes to ship around the world.
“That’s what Trump is looking at. He’s not looking at what Trudeau wants, he’s looking at what his businesses require in order to be competitive in the international marketplace.”
The other big concern for Hoback is steel negotiations will go the way of softwood lumber discussions.
“They claimed to have their backs, were unable to do anything and all of a sudden we have a huge tariff. We have to keep working with the Americans.”
The other thing Trudeau can do is make Canada an easy place to do business by not imposing the carbon tax, new regulations, or by changing policies around pipeline approvals, Hoback said.
Hoback comments on Tillerson’s departure, CPTPP signing
Hoback also commented on Trump’s firing of Rex Tillerson; the former secretary of state several was seen as a key ally for Canada. Hoback agreed Tillerson had a more global outlook than others in the administration.
“He was definitely America first, but I think he had abilities to look at things on a broader perspective, and see that a trade agreement would help America,” he said.
“In that sense, we’ve lost an ally and a friend. We need to keep working with the people Trump decides to put in his administration to get them to understand and see the benefits for things like NAFTA, border security and other things around the globe.”
Hoback also praised the signing of the trans-pacific partnership, and indicated he hopes Canada quickly ratifies it and becomes one of the first countries to take advantage of lowered tariffs under the plan.