With pipeline disputes and tariffs bringing a cloud of uncertainty over the steel industry, the Saskatchewan NDP believe it knows a way to create jobs here in the province.
Standing with members of the steelworkers union for Evraz, party leader Ryan Meili called for pipeline expiry dates where a company would be forced to replace the pipeline after a certain amount of time.
“We’d use an evidence-based formula based on the location, the materials that are being transported, the materials of construction and, of course, the age of the lines to set a priority schedule of replacement.”
He said this is a great chance to give Evraz workers employment opportunities throughout Saskatchewan.
One of the reasons the NDP are calling for this action is due to the recent tariffs and auditor’s report into pipeline safety, which indicated there wasn’t enough safety evaluations being conducted within pipelines.
Mike Day, president of the United Steelworkers Local 5890, agreed something like this should be considered because safety specifications have changed over the last number of years and steel quality has improved.
“Why are companies constantly running pipelines until there’s a leak or spill, you wouldn’t expect to run a 50-year-old car without problems,” Day said.
Meili said the pipe being replaced can be recycled at Evraz and used in future projects, making it an environmentally friendly approach as well.
Since Evraz still does not know how the tariffs will affect projects and orders they have going to the states, so it’s a wait-and-see approach for the workers.
“It’s a bully tactic by Donald Trump,” Day said. “We’ve just got to keep going and doing our job until we know anything different.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government will be introducing their own tariffs on July 1 in retaliation against the ones imposed by Trump.
Day agrees with the prime ministers choice to not back down.
“(Trudeau) had to stand up to him … Most Canadians are in full support of going against what Donald Trump is saying.”
Meili also showed support for the stance Trudeau has taken.
“Trump is trying to push us around and he’s unpredictable, he’s taking steps that really undermine a centuries-old relationship and, I think, steps that destabilize the peace of the world,” Meili said.
He said if the government were to impose a plan like this, it would be the first of its kind in Canada.
Sask. Party believe plan is ‘irresponsible, irrational’
Provincial Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre responded to the proposed plan during a media conference calling it “An irresponsible, irrational plan.”
She said it’s ironic Meili would bring pipelines up because he has voiced opposition to them in the past.
Eyre brought up the potential cost being an issue, saying it would cost $50 billion for SaskEnergy to replace all of its pipes. She said all the private companies would also face massive costs if something like this was enforced.
“He admits himself that this is untried, that it’s untested, in short this would be an unprecedented move and it would put Saskatchewan at a severe competitive disadvantage.”
Eyre noted there are already safety precautions in place for pipelines.
She said Energy and Resources has been inspecting pipelines since 1954 and always follows up on any incident that is reported.
She said this year, the ministry has already conducted 5,000 pipeline, well and facility inspections.