iPolitics AM: Morneau to unveil Canada’s next move in cross-border standoff over steel



While the official advisory summoning reporters to one of Hamilton’s largest steel plants for a mid-morning announcement by Finance Minister Bill Morneau is characteristically coy on what, exactly, he intends to unveil, several wire services seem to have gotten a heads up on the details, courtesy of an industry lobby group: A lightning round of consultations on bringing in new “safeguards” to address continuing concerns — particularly, although not exclusively, in the White House — that the Canadian market is still being flooded with low-cost foreign steel.

According to industry lawyer Jesse Goldman, who represents the Canadian Coalition for Construction Steel, the group has been advised that the consultation period will last for 15 days and, as per Canadian Press, “he expects the government to study the information for a few weeks before making a decision.”

A report from Reuters suggests that industry representatives may urge the government to hold off on any new measures until the federal anti-dumping watchdog has looked into the alleged market imbalances.

“We are going to strongly encourage the minister to refer the matter to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal for a full safeguard inquiry,” Goldman told the news agency. 

The official announcement is scheduled to take place shortly before noon at the ArcelorMittal Dofasco plant.

Meanwhile, New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh — who may soon be house-hunting in Burnaby, B.C., in advance of the as-yet-unscheduled byelection in which he reportedly intends to run — steers his just-launched week-long swing through Quebec towards Saint-Hyacinthe, where he’ll join area MP Brigitte Sansoucy for a visit to a local biofuels plant as part of a continuing campaign to “showcase clean energy initiatives” in the province.

He’ll also get a private tour of the Maison de la Famille des Maskoutains, a local social support centre, and host one of his signature “Jagmeet and Greet” meetings at a local coffee shop.

Also out and about today:

Newly promoted Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson heads to Foxtrap Wharf to “share details” of the government’s plan to pour federal cash into local small craft harbour projects during a mid-afternoon appearance alongside local Liberal MP Ken McDonald.

Elsewhere in Atlantic Canada, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBLanc — who held Wilkinson’s post before last month’s cabinet shuffle — has back-to-back funding announcements in his home province: A fresh outlay of financing for the Pointe-du-Chêne Harbour Authority and a “significant” new investment in Opportunities New Brunswick,which he’ll discuss at a joint event in Fredericton alongside the province’s deputy premier, Stephen Horseman, as well as New Brunswick Liberal MP Matt DeCourcey.

Also pulling a double shift on the ministerial circuit today: Transport Minister Marc Garneau, who will start his day-long visit to Monteregie with an update on his government’s efforts to boost rail safety through strategic cash injections, which he’ll deliver at a local train station before making his way to a Mont-Saint-Hilaire employment centre.

After that wraps up, it’s off to Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, where he’s set to address the crowd at the International Balloon Festival.

Finally, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi takes questions from the press following a final round of closed-door discussions with his provincial and territorial counterparts in Iqaluit.

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