NDP says premier failed almost 500 Evraz workers after layoffs

Evraz steel mill in Regina laid off almost 500 people on Friday.

The NDP released a statement Friday that said due to Premier Scott Moe’s “weak leadership,” almost 500 jobs were lost at Evraz.

“Well, we learned this week that the Premier didn’t even try, and now hundreds of Regina families are facing a bleak Christmas,” NDP leader Ryan Meili said in the statement.

During a recent question period, Moe said the layoffs are due to economic challenges felt not just by the province, but by the whole country. He said the layoffs are “very concerning”.

“Not only are they layoffs in our province, they are layoffs in our capital city at this time of year during this pandemic,” Moe said. “The government has reached out and will continue to work with the individuals at Evraz.”

According to Statistics Canada, 2,800 jobs were lost in Saskatchewan in November alone. It shows that 20,800 jobs were lost over the last year.

During a recent question period, Meili said back in August he had joined steel workers at Evraz as they were concerned about the use of Canadian steel in Canadian projects.

“They were raising the alarm at the fact that Canadian steel was being bypassed in important pipeline projects right here in Canada,” Meili said.

One such project was the TC Energy pipeline in Northern Alberta, which had chosen to import steel pipe from outside of the country for it’s 2022 NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) expansion project.

Meili said he called on the premier to get on the phone with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and the leader of TC Energy, to insist on Canadian built steel for the project.

“Steel built right here in Regina, steel that puts the folks that are laid off today [that] would’ve kept them at work,” Meili said.

In response, Moe said the provincial government has always been there to support the energy industry and the subsequent pipeline industry to get sustainable energy to market.

“I have [brought] this up not only with the premier of Alberta but with all of the premiers through our council of federation calls,” Moe said. “We have advocated for every pipeline to find its way through an appropriate approval process and to ensure the costs on that industry and those involved in that industry are not ineffective.”

“This is a government that has always stood up for Saskatchewan workers and that includes the ones at Evraz steel.”

MLA Carla Beck said in the release that under the Sask Party government, the 10 biggest infrastructure projects over the last decade have gone to out-of-province or out-of-country companies.

“Scott Moe needs to step up for Saskatchewan jobs, pick up the phone, and start pushing other provinces and the federal government to use Canadian steel on Canadian infrastructure projects.”

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