Page 54 - C.M. (Clem) Anson and Steel
ISSUE : Issue 28
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1981/6/1
(Then they announced they were going to build a new mill at Contrecoeur.) Well, I was all for that. It wasn't a steel plant. It was me that put forth the proposal orig? inally. I wrote a report saying that the Canadian steel industry, the user part of the industry, some 507o of it, was now grown into flat-rolled products--sheets and that type of thing. And this was grow? ing continuously, that percentage was. In the States it had gone up to over 70% of the steel production going into flatrolled products. And I said if we wish to contin? ue as a successful industry, we should get into this flatrolled business. We had none. And I said this should be established in Upper Canada, using Sydney Steel. (You didn't see building this mill up there as any betrayal of Sydney?) No. It was addi? tional facility permitting you to broaden your market by being able to produce flat- rolled products which we could not produce in any of our plants. (There must have been those who suggested that perhaps this new rolling mill should be built right here in Sydney.) I don't recall that ever being suggested. Because the idea of this was to increase the demand for Sydney steel, at the same time to eliminate the freight handicap under which we had to op? erate. If we rolled flatrolled steel here, where would we sell it? It would all have to go to Upper Canada. There was no flat- rolled steel used in the Maritimes. You'd not be able to make the stuff here and ship it to the consuming market, which was west of Montreal, mainly--car industry mostly, refrigerators, stoves--we'd never be able to compete with the rolling mills in Montreal or in Hamilton, which was the main competition. And Algoma--they had a flatrolled mill. (The rolling itself had to be done up there?) Oh, yeah. I felt that to protect our primary steel market we must have capacity up there in the flat- rolled business. So I was asked to draw up a complete pro? posal. Got the best people in as consult? ants. And we did draw up the proposal to put a flatrolling mill near Montreal--we hadn't picked the actual site. It was to cost 63 million dollars. Of which approxi? mately 10 million dollars would be spent right here in Sydney to increase capacity of ingots here, to roll those ingots down into flat blooms, eventually to be rolled into flat products in the mill, wherever it would be established. That report went to the president and the directors of Hawk? er-Siddeley. Then I was called up to a meeting of the Board to consider this. Sir Roy Dobson said that he'd talked with people in Eng? land and they said the job could be done for 35 million. I said, "In the first place, there's nobody in England who ever built a mill of this type." I told him I had got the best brains on the plan I put before him. And he wanted to fire me, didn't like the way I talked to him. Any? how, I made the proposal, and it was ap? proved. And I started to get in touch with people who had tendered for various parts of the plant. Thank God I had not sent out any orders. Because a month later, I got word to stop it. It was stopped. Then some years later, after I was out of it, they decided to put a mill there, which they did at Contrecoeur. And a bad job they made of it, because they didn't have the right people. (And the 10 million dollars that was to go into the Sydney steel plant, was that still part of it?) Oh, no. (The plan they later went with left the Sydney plant out altogether.) Yes. They didn't do anything here. (Some people feel that there, and even ear? lier, it was in the wind that Hawker-Sidde? ley was going to give up on the Sydney steel plant.) That could be. I don't know. (What the Union said was that the workers increased output and that eliminated jobs, and they thought those jobs should be re? placed by expanding production facilities here--making more finished or closer-to- finished products here in Sydney. Make more jobs here by diversifying the prod? ucts here.) Where are you going to sell them? (You didn't feel there would be a market if they came finished from here?) Our main problem was to build this plant up so that it could operate efficiently-- because God knows it had not been that way. I'm not talking about labour. Using those materials that I spoke about--the iron ore and coal we had--that did not permit of any great efficiency • Matter of fact, they had 5000-odd men working at that plant at one time. (It got boiled down to 3000?) Nearer 4000, I suspect. You had to. Going the way they were, they'd have ended in re- Beyond ihe texibook ' lie whole other vyorlds of knowledge.. .fascinating realms, absolutely absorbing. Like a frog's smile.. .if frogs smile.. .an important question sometimes for a young mind. These days, we are better able to help your children and our students answer questions like that. (' To all those who have contributed to that storehouse of resources.. .on behalf of the fertile minds that have helped to grow.. .tliank you. Nova Scotia Department of Education Hon. Terence R.B. Donahoe Gerald J. McCarthy Minister Deputy Minister (54)
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