It’s unfortunate that Prince Rupert is going to suffer because people in Ontario hold so much of the popular vote.
There surely are other ways of looking at this recent fiasco with the Alaska Ferry Terminal, but that one is the only one that seems to make any sense.
Why else would a multi-million dollar project that would create more work and pump hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of dollars into the local economy be postponed or cancelled because of concern about where the steel is going to come from.
Do you, avid reader, care about whether local contractors who support high-paying jobs and have employees that spend their hard earned money at local stores use steel from the United States?
Do you care whether money for one component of a multi-faceted project stays in Canada enough to see the rest of the money stay in the proponent’s pockets?
To be blunt, I certainly don’t.
And yet our federal government puffed up its chest in support of the Canadian steel industry to such a large extent it was willing to make Canadian companies and workers hardened criminals for working on the project.
A company convicted – yes, convicted – of going against the order by working on the project could face fines up to $1.5 million while individuals could face fines up to $150,000. In both cases, individuals could face up to five years in prison. A summary conviction, meanwhile, would result in a fine of $150,000 for companies and $15,000 for individuals, or two years in prison.
So while the economy on the North Coast misses out on what would certainly be an infusion of cash, the labour movement in Ontario can sleep comfortably knowing they supported their brotheren in the steel industry.
And Ed Fast and the Conservatives can look like heroes to the many in battleground Ontario at the expense of the few here in Prince Rupert.
Clearly, it must be an election year…