After productive meetings and negotiations last week in Washington, Terry Sheehan stands proud as the tariffs on Canadian steel are lifted.
“Our government has worked tirelessly to protect Canadian steel, and the Sault was instrumental in seeing the end of these tariffs,” Sheehan said, “I have to sincerely thank Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Freeland for taking the concerns of Saultites seriously, and getting the job done.” Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland visited Algoma Steel last month to speak with steelworkers about the tariffs.
Sheehan has made his presence felt in Washington as Co-Chair of the All-Party Steel Caucus, and as a member of both the Industry and International Trade Committees since the imposition of steel tariffs last year.
Last week in Washington, Sheehan and his fellow MPs met with 40 Congressional Representatives, Senators, and staff to discuss the impact of the tariffs on both sides of the border. While there, Prime Minister Trudeau called President Trump over the phone to talk tariffs, followed by a personal visit from Minister Freeland to the White House only 4 days after Sheehan departed Washington.
When asked whether this was part of the government’s negotiating strategy, Sheehan said that he has always looked for opportunities to show American leaders the reality of the tariffs and get the best deal for the Sault.
“I told the Americans what everyone in the Sault is thinking – we’re a border community, and Algoma Steel and Tenaris together are some of the largest steel producers in Canada. We have a history of friendship with the twin Sault across the border, and we are a perfect example of how integrated the Canada-US relationship is on a local level. We’re proud to freely trade Sault steel with our American friends.”
Sheehan said he learned that the Americans were feeling the sting of the 232 tariffs and Canada’s $16.6 billion in counter tariffs.
“US industries rely on Canadian steel just as much as we rely on them. We import things like coal and iron to manufacture steel, and then we export our steel back to the US so they can make the things they need. The tariffs have been hurting this system since day one, and I’m glad our American counterparts are finally recognizing that. A free steel trade means job creation for Saultites, and I will always fight for that.”
Sheehan’s Canadian delegation to Washington made it clear that retaliatory tariffs would not be lifted until the steel tariffs were removed. This was crucial to winning the hearts and minds American leaders. This contrasts the provincial Conservatives led by Doug Ford who called for the federal government to drop retaliatory tariffs back in February.
“Doug Ford’s Conservatives seriously jeopardized our negotiating efforts purely to win political points. I was honestly appalled when he called for retaliatory tariffs to be dropped because these tariffs were supported by our steel workers, and ultimately helped us reach a deal. The Ford government didn’t do its homework and it could have seriously hurt the Sault. I’m glad I was part of the solution,” Terry said.
Terry credits Sault steel workers, the steel industry, local politicians, and many other community and business leaders and organizations for helping with the tariff victory.
“We only could have got this done with the support of steel workers and the broader Sault community. We really came together to support the steel industry because we all know how vital it is to our city.”