Romano questions Premiers commitment to Essar Steel and Huron Central Railway

MPP Ross Romano is calling on the Liberal government today in the legislature to justify their lack of commitment to northern steel production and transportation infrastructure.

Back in January, during the Sault Ste. Marie by-election, the Premier attended the city and spoke of the importance of the steel industry to Ontario and to Sault Ste. Marie. As the city’s largest employer, the Premier discussed the on-going Essar Steel Algoma (Algoma Inc.) CCAA protection proceedings and how the inability to resolve this issue quickly has left many worried about the future economic prosperity of Sault Ste. Marie.

Frustrated by the government’s lack of action, Romano called on the Liberals to explain exactly what they have been doing to resolve this three year-long concern since promising to be at the table.

“The municipality is owed millions in back taxes and may be forced to reduce services or increase taxes to cover the loss,” said Romano. “Steel workers and retirees are worried about the status of their pensions,” stating further that the CCAA process has also resulted in a hit to local business while the “whole economy waits in limbo”.

In a follow-up, Romano discussed the vital operation of Huron Central Railway; a short line rail service that delivers product to market in Northern Ontario.

During frequent meetings with MPP Romano, Huron Central expressed their need for infrastructure improvement funding to maintain their operations. A request, they say, the government is not willing to meet.

With Algoma Inc., Eacom, and Domtar consisting of essentially all of Huron Central’s freight operations, the closing of the line would have substantial economic consequences to all of Northern Ontario and may be a further impediment to the CCAA restructuring process.

“Northern Ontario’s economy depends on this train and our workers depend on these jobs. Yet in a time of great need, the Premier turned her back on us.”