MP Report - Nov. 30, 2018

Losing good-paying jobs

Canada is losing more more good-paying jobs.

This week was a particularly bad week in terms of job losses. In our region it's the announcement by Hudbay that it is closing the Flin Flon mining operation in 2021. This follows the closure of Vale’s smelter and refinery in Thompson earlier this year.

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Nationally we have seen the closure of the Oshawa GM plant.

What we are seeing is nothing less than the hollowing out of the Canadian economy. We are losing well-paying jobs in key sector such as the auto sector and resources.

What is clear is that the response of governments both federal and provincial to the most recent developments has been totally inadequate.

The closure of the smelter and refinery in Thompson has had a significant negative effect already. Despite this a visiting provincial cabinet minister talked about it being “exciting times for Thompson.“ The City of Thompson was unable to even get a meeting with the premier to discuss its concerns about the mining reserve fund.

Now the community of Flin Flon has been hard hit with the announcement of the closure. While this has been seen as a possibility for a while it will have significant negative impact on the community.

While our communities have been working hard to diversify and find other job opportunities there can be no doubt that the loss of these kinds of jobs has a significant impact.

Governments need to be there in tough times for communities. In Thompson, after the initial announcement of the smelter and refinery closure the then-NDP government immediately engaged with the community. The premier was in Thompson within five days. We worked together to persuade the then Conservative federal government to extend the environment licence which resulted in the delay of the closure.

Not only has this not been the case with Flin Flon, the provincial government has added insult to injury with the closure of the birthing facilities at the Flin Flon General Hospital.

As for the federal government they have been largely absent. They allowed the takeover of Inco that set the stage for the loss of value-added jobs out of Thompson. Despite the fact that the Flin Flon operation is directly under federal jurisdiction they have been largely absent. Even when it came to the Port of Churchill, they sat on the sidelines initially while northern communities worked hard to reestablish the rail service by bringing in new ownership.
As Member of Parliament for our region I believe that governments have to be engaged. They have to be working with communities during tough times.

These are not exciting times, they are tough times for Northern communities. Our region deserves better.

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