P.M. Harper pens 'disrespectful' letter on U.S. Steel, councillor says
Prime Minister wrote three-paragraph response
It wasn’t the warmest response the city could have asked for. It sent a letter to Stephen Harper expressing concern over recent U.S. Steel decisions, and the Prime Minister’s office wrote back with three paragraphs.
Hamilton city hall penned a letter to Harper on Jan. 9 expressing concerns around U.S. Steel’s recent decision to permanently halt steel making in Hamilton. Specifically, the city wanted more information on a confidential deal between the corporation and Ottawa to keep making steel in Canada. It could impact 8,000 pensioners.
Harper’s executive correspondence officer wrote back on Feb. 12.
“I would like to acknowledge receipt of your correspondence of January 9 regarding U.S. Steel and its pensioners,” the letter says.
“Please be assured that the views expressed in the item approved by Hamilton City Council have been noted. A copy of your correspondence has been forwarded to the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Industry, for his information and consideration.
“Thank you for writing to the Prime Minister.”
Committee meets March 7
Given the jobs involved and pensions at stake, it was an aloof response, said Coun. Brian McHattie, a member of the city's steel committee.
“It’s disrespectful to the 8,000 pensioners whose lives could be impacted by U.S. Steel going bankrupt."
Coun. Scott Duvall, steel committee chair, said the letter follows the federal government’s process. But he didn’t love it either.
“You’d think more attention would be given to that issue,” he said.
The letter is just parliamentary process, Coun. Brad Clark said. The province gives the same sort of response and council doesn’t complain, he said.
“These letters are not unfamiliar to this council. We’ve been receiving them for decades.
“Let’s not make a lot out of these letters. Let’s deal with the ministers who are supposed to be dealing with these issues.”
Hamilton’s steel committee will hold a meeting at city council chambers on March 7 with local MPs, MPPs and union officials. It has also invited U.S. Steel.