U.S. Tariffs & the Liberal Government’s Unpreparedness & Inaction

June 25, 2021

There has been much discussion in recent weeks of the recent move by the United States to impose tariffs of 25 per cent on imported steel and 10 per cent on imported aluminum, citing national security interests. Several weeks have passed since the imposition of the new tariffs, while the current Liberal government has waited to impose tariffs on the United States. Now, Canadians are hearing reports that President Donald Trump may impose a 25 per cent tariff on Canada’s auto industry. If this comes to fruition, TD Bank is warning that 160,000 jobs in this industry are at risk. This raises more concerns for Canadians when the current Liberal government was clearly unprepared for the steel and aluminum tariffs while also being slow to respond with retaliatory tariffs. Canadians are rightfully concerned history will repeat itself when it comes to protecting the auto sector.

The recent action by the United States to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum is unacceptable and represents a serious blow to the workers who rely on this industry to put food on the table for their families. We, the Conservative Official Opposition, stand with workers in this sector and the entire industry. The threat to industry has been looming for a year, causing great uncertainty and a turbulent investment climate.

Just two months ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised workers in Quebec, Ontario, and Saskatchewan that he had resolved the issue. However, the industry is now facing massive new tariffs. It is clear the Prime Minister failed. Canadian workers are left wondering about their jobs and an uncertain future.

Now Canada’s auto sector is under threat by the United States and the current Liberal government still has no plan to deal with those tariffs or to reassure auto workers and their families, as this important sector of the Canadian economy is at risk. The Prime Minister unfortunately missed an opportunity by failing to provide any measures in his latest Budget that would prepare industry for this possibility. Conservatives warned him that his government was unprepared for this development.

This is yet another cost to the Canadian economy, which has already witnessed billions in foreign investments leave the country under Prime Minister Trudeau, and critical pipeline projects, such as Northern Gateway and Energy East, being shut down by the current Liberal government. Canadians have every right to be concerned that the current government has failed in being prepared and taking swift action when important Canadian industries and jobs are at risk.

In contrast, we the Conservative Official Opposition, will always put Canadian workers first. Our support is only reinforced when confronted by protectionist measures from our trading partners from around the world. This is the leadership Canadians expect and deserve.