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Friday, July 30, 2010

Tony Clement Gives Away Natural Resources to Bust Union in Sudbury

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

In deciding what will be eventually be edited into my book, the chapter on Anthony Peter Panayi aka Tony Clement, would be incomplete if it did not include his selling off of Stelco to a Brazilian firm with no safeguards for the community or workers.

Companies with strong unions pose a threat to the neoconservative agenda, so Clement works on the side of the companies who will help to "knock them down a peg or two".

Steelworkers Local 6500 president John Fera is lashing out at Vale Inco, calling it a “third world employer,” as the midnight July 12 expiry date for the union's collective agreement draws closer. ... “We've seen nothing by pushback from this company, and quite frankly, we're fed up with it,” the release stated.

“Our federal Conservative government must have been sleeping when they sold us out to Vale instead of protecting our non-renewable natural resources that now belong to Brazil. (1)

Then when the sale went through -
Less than three years after winning a $19-billion “dream” acquisition of Inco, the head of Brazil's Vale SA has made a shocking assessment of its Sudbury operations: They're unsustainable at current cost levels. The comments from Vale chief executive officer Roger Agnelli come amid simmering tensions between the company and unionized workers in Sudbury.

The Brazilian mining giant is demanding major concessions from 3,300 workers there; contract talks have broken off and a potential strike looms as the Sudbury operations endure a two-month summer shutdown in response to dismal nickel prices.

...Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement initially demanded answers from Vale for violating its Investment Canada Act commitments but later said he was satisfied that Vale was not targeting Sudbury with its job cuts and mine shutdowns. (2)
And of course Clement did nothing on behalf of the workers, siding with the corporation:

Canada will not take any action against Brazilian miner Vale over cutbacks at its Sudbury mining operations, Tony Clement, the Industry Minister, said yesterday. Vale announced in March it would cut 423 jobs at its Canadian operations and shut its Sudbury, Ont., facilities for eight weeks, sparking questions from Mr. Clement over whether the company was violating agreements it signed when it bought Canadian nickel miner Inco in 2006. "At this point, we're not going to be proceeding with any action with respect to Vale Inco," Mr. Clement told reporters in Ottawa. He said the company did not seem to be targeting Canada in its cutbacks. (3)

And with friends in high places, Vale held out while workers suffered.
SUBURY, Ont. — Striking Vale Inco employee Rod Price says he's "lost everything," and so have many of his colleagues.

"The banks are taking our houses, our vehicles. A lot of us are using the food bank, and as time goes on it's getting worse," Price said, his words coming as puffs of steam through the holes in his balaclava on a frigid day on the picket line.

"Guys are upset, hurt, crying. They don't know what to do with themselves."

More than 3,000 employees of nickel miner Vale Inco have been on strike since mid-July, and after seven months living off of $800 a month in strike pay, the repo man has come knocking.

"We've got people losing homes. We've got families breaking apart. We can't make our payments," said worker Pat Digby, braving a wind chill of -25C to picket at the front gate of Vale Inco's smelter in the Sudbury neighbourhood of Copper Cliff. (4)

So it should come as no surprise that while the workers finally settled, many losing pensions after their homes, Vale is now recording a huge profit.

Net income at Brazilian mining company Vale probably soared nearly five-fold in the second quarter on higher iron prices, as a new quarterly pricing system allows it to vastly increase the sale price of its ore. The world's largest producer of iron ore is expected to post net income of $3.83 billion when it reports second-quarter earnings after markets close on Thursday, according to the average estimate of six analysts -- an increase of 384% over the previous year.

Vale this year moved to a quarterly pricing system after the aging annual benchmark mechanism unraveled amid quarrels with China -- the world's largest buyer of the metal. The year-on-year jump was helped by the global economic recovery that boosted commodities prices from mid-2009 levels, as well as by higher sales volumes of iron ore and pellets. Profits likely soared 139% from the previous quarter, driven by an increase of around 100% in iron sale prices as a result of moving to the quarterly system. (5)

So how are you liking neoconservatism so far? And yet the government is still going through with massive corporate tax cuts.


1. Vale Inco a 'third world' employer: union, by Sudbury Northern Life Staff, June 27, 2009

2. Globe and Mail, June 2009

3. Ottawa will take no action over Vale's Sudbury cutbacks, Clement says, National Post, 2009

4. Vale is still holding out with no help from Clement for the workers, Canadian Press, 2010

5. Vale profit soars in Q2, By Brian Ellsworth, the Sudbury Star, July 23, 2010


  1. This is very interesting, considering the following quote I'd like to provide from Wikipedia about Mr. Clement's attitude towards Vale Inco & Sudbury.
    The comment he makes at the end certainly exposes his attitude up very well.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia...

    "On October 30, 2008, Clement was sworn into the office of Industry Minister.[10] This includes the appointment to the Office of the Registrar General of Canada.
    He came under fire in July 2009 when, in an interview with the Sudbury Star regarding a strike at Vale Inco's operations in Sudbury, he characterized Vale's 2006 takeover of Inco as having saved the company from imminent bankruptcy, and the city of Sudbury from becoming a "valley of death".[11] Former Inco CEO Scott Hand noted that at the time of the takeover, Inco was in fact a very stable and wealthy company which was the target of one of the most hotly-contested bidding wars in recent Canadian business history, and that the company had not made any announcement suggesting that any jobs in the Sudbury area were under threat.[12] He backtracked from the comment on July 24, calling it a "boneheaded" way to express the point he had been making.[13] When asked if he was apologizing, however, Clement replied: "I think, you know, apologies are for tragedies."[14]