The Canadian Institute of Steel Construction says the federal government is giving away hundreds of thousands of jobs to China with its assurance against trade barriers for the LNG Canada and Woodfibre LNG projects.
On August 9, finance minister Bill Morneau announced that Woodfibre, which is moving towards a final investment decision in the coming weeks, will be exempt from duties on imported fabricated steel.
The same had previously been announced for the $40-billion LNG Canada project, which is now under construction near Kitimat.
“These two LNG projects will be modularized, meaning they will be built in smaller shippable pieces with all the equipment and components preinstalled,” CISC said.
“The modules will be connected on site, requiring very few construction workers. Essentially, in doing so, the largest project ever in the history of Canada will be handed over to Chinese businesses and workers.”
CISC CEO Ed Whalen said that if done in Canada, these two projects would have created hundreds of thousands of construction jobs for all trades across the country.
CISC said the duties on fabricated structural steel were implemented by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal after proof that China, South Korea and Spain were found to be illegally dumping into Canada. An appeal of the decision is currently still pending in the Federal Court of Appeal.
“For the Government of Canada to call their own fair trade process a trade barrier is dumbfounding,” CISC CEO Ed Whalen said in a statement.
“This…will send shock waves across all Canadian industries contemplating future capital investment and their viability in Canada.”
The argument that Canada does not or can’t do module construction work is false, CISC said.
“Canada has been assembling modules for many years with the projects like those in Alberta. What is true is that international oil and gas companies want the lowest cost, China’s illegal dumping and subsidizing provides that, the Government of Canada will offer the legal framework to allow this to happen and Canadian construction workers no longer have access to projects in Canada,” CISC said.
Image: Workers install a construction module at the Surmont 2 SAGD project in northern Alberta in summer 2012. Photo by Joey Podlubny/JWN