Ensuring Resource Sector Jobs for Canadians

August 28, 2010, 3:40 PM EST

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CAW/TCA Joint Council delegates are demanding federal, provincial and municipal governments ensure resource sector companies in Canada provide job opportunities for Canadians.

More than 800 delegates to the CAW/TCA Joint Council in Montreal unanimously endorsed a resolution calling on employers that want to extract, process and make use of Canada's natural resources be required to demonstrate they are providing net benefit to Canadians and their communities.

With Canada having an abundance of natural resources, including oil, natural gas, forests, mineral deposits, hydro-electric generating capacity, water, fisheries and other resources, the problem is acute for many Canadians and their communities.

Canadian governments at all levels have clear responsibilities and the power to address the issues affecting these resource sector industries in substantive and significant ways. A resolution on the need to protect Canada's natural resources states it's clear that developing and supporting value-added industries would help lead the recovery of the economy.

The problem is that Canada has largely given up its sovereignty over the production and export of our oil and natural gas resources and has allowed over-exploitation of its fisheries and other resources.

Delegates learned about the growing power and super profits among mining and metals sector companies around the globe. In fact, mining and metal sector companies opposed to a tax on "super profits" in the mining sector in Australia helped orchestrate the demise of Australian Labour Prime Minister Kevin Rudd earlier this year.

Global mining giant Xstrata's decision to close its profitable smelter in Timmins, Ontario resulting in the loss of 670 good jobs within the community was raised as an example of the terrible impact these resource sector company decisions can have on workers, their families and the communities. CAW Local 599 and community partners fought back in Timmins using the slogan "Our Resources Remain Here" yet the closure has gone ahead.

CAW/TCA Joint Council delegates were urged to bring back to their communities the message that the natural resources of Canada belong to the people of Canada. They heard about the need for job and other protections for Canadians if foreign companies buy Canadian resource firms.

"We have to put Canadians first, we have to put our communities first," said CAW Local 1075 President Paul Pugh.

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