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Canada's finance minister joins tea party, talks about Essar Algoma (5 photos)

There's no request for assistance for Essar Steel Algoma currently under consideration by the federal government, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said today, sporting dangerously new shoes and addressing a rapt audience of the Sault's brightest journalists and and even-brighter preschoolers.

Some really important metrics from today's visit to the Early Years/Best Start Hub at Holy Cross School by federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau:

  • number of yum-o-licious cookies baked for today's visit by Sarah Nelson, the 13-year-old chief executive officer of Sarah Bug's Bakery: 100
  • monthly increase in child benefit payments received by nine out of 10 Canadian families since July 20: $190
  • words spoken by Minister Morneau today in response to reporters asking about Essar Steel Algoma and the steel industry: 343
  • concrete commitments made by the minister regarding our steel mill: 0

There's no request for assistance for Essar Steel Algoma currently under consideration by the federal government, Morneau said, sporting dangerously new shoes and addressing a rapt audience of the Sault's brightest journalists and even brighter preschoolers.

"Our goal is to ensure that the economy is successful," Morneau said. "At this stage I don't have any comment on any specific proposal as I haven't seen one."

Should a prudently managed federal government be expected to bail out cyclical industries like steel?

"I don't have any overarching theme that says that we should do any certain thing absent the specific situation. But broadly, it's about making sure that our economy is healthy, which is really about thinking about how we can improve the lives of Canadians, improve the opportunities for the next generation of Canadians to have the kinds of jobs that will allow them to be successful and raise their families."

Would the federal government be willing to turn the $30 million loan it extended to Essar Steel Algoma one year ago into a grant?

"With respect to any specific initiative, there's no request like that on the table. We recognize that it's important to consider our industries and make sure that we're creating the conditions for success."

"Thinking about how we trade is an important issue. We also are working with our partners around the world, and in the case of my recent meetings in China with the G-20 countries, to ensure that industries work well around the world. We look at countries that are creating excess capacity in industries and we're trying to work to make sure that doesn't result in unfair trading for companies here in Canada."

Our goal is to create a healthy economy where industry, where organizations can thrive by providing goods and services to Canadians and exporting abroad. That's the frame of reference that we take."

"Our goal, obviously in the case of a company like Essar Steel, is to reinforce the importance of the steel industry in Canada. What we're doing, investing in infrastructure, will have impacts broadly but it also will have specific impacts for industries like the steel industry. We'll also be focussed on how we can ensure that there's fair trading regimes in Canada. So that will ensure that companies like Essar Steel are able to manage their situation well. And over the long run, we expect that our investments will make a difference for the economy and create jobs."

The following announcement about today's visit was issued by the federal Department of Finance:


Government of Canada's plan for a strong middle class brings real change to Sault Ste. Marie

August 10, 2016 - SAULT STE. MARIE, ON - Department of Finance Canada

The Government of Canada knows that a strong middle class means hard-working Canadians can look forward to a good standard of living throughout their lives and a better future for their children.

The government's plan puts people first in making smart, necessary investments to grow the economy today while positioning Canada as a leader of tomorrow.

It recognizes that when you have an economy that works for the middle class, you have a country that works for everyone.

Today at Child Care Algoma, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Terry Sheehan, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie, highlighted key measures from this plan that put more money in the pockets of Canadians who need it most, so they can buy healthier food, pay for their kids' activities, and live more comfortably in retirement.

As one of its first actions, the government cut taxes for nearly nine million middle-class Canadians.

Single individuals who benefit will see an average tax reduction of $330 every year.

Couples who benefit will see an average tax reduction of $540 every year.

Since July 20th, thanks to the new Canada Child Benefit (CCB), nine out of ten families with children have been receiving more in child benefits from their government.

On average, those families will receive about $190 a month extra for the 2016-17 benefit year.

This new program will lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty.

Compared to the child benefit system it replaces, the CCB is simpler, more generous, tax-free, and targeted to those who need it most.

Minister Morneau also highlighted the historic agreement in principle to strengthen the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

Delivering on a commitment to Canadians to help them achieve their goal of a strong, secure, and stable retirement through an enhanced CPP, the government will boost the income replacement from one quarter to one third of pensionable earnings, and raise the maximum amount of income subject to CPP by 14 percent to a target of $82,700 by 2025.

Minister Morneau underscored the Government's commitment to bringing real change to Canadians in every stage of their lives - helping our children, our parents and our grandparents.


"When you have an economy that works for the middle class, you have a country that works for everyone. The Government's plan puts people first and ensures that the middle class and those working hard to join it can thrive, both today and in the future. It puts more money in their pockets to spend on things that matter most to them, whether it's helping with everyday costs like groceries or providing their children the opportunity to go to summer camp. We know that Canadians work hard and deserve the chance to succeed in every stage of their lives, from childhood to parenthood, to retirement." - Bill Morneau, minister of finance

"The investments our government has made through the Canada Child Benefit, the middle class tax cut and the recent Canada Pension Plan enhancement will make a significant difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and their families, many of whom live right here in Sault Ste. Marie. It was an honour to host Minister Morneau in our beautiful city, and I'm glad we had the chance to visit with parents and kids who will benefit from these investments. Like him, I'm proud to be part of a government that makes the needs of middle class families - in Northern Ontario and right across the country - a priority and that helps provide them with the means to succeed and to accomplish their dreams. - Terry Sheehan, M.P. for Sault Ste. Marie