Page 46 - "Parade of Concern" for Sydney Steel
ISSUE : Issue 58
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1991/8/1
vice industries that were supporting the coal and steel, or were supported by the coal and steel. (And this was the kind of pressure you would bring to G. I. Smith.) Right. (And hoping that he and his government would care enough about Cape Breton, to take a leap that no government had ever taken be? fore.) Yes. (And was he pressured from the federal level, or was he just told, "If you make this decision, you'll be funded"?) I think the federal government was scared to death that, for God's sake, don't get involved in that! You know, they couldn't from a political point of view. But Allan Mac? Eachen- -you know, whatever you say about him, he did have a strong social con? science, and he did feel he had a respon? sibility for Cape Breton. And he and Tom McKeough, I'm positive--behind the scenes --worked very closely together. Quality Cameras Building, corner George & Dorchester Streets. PEOPLE YOU CAN TALK TO. Now, they wouldn't come out. But I know that right af? ter the takeo? ver, the fed? eral govern? ment bought the coke ov? ens. Well, the federal gov? ernment needed a coke ovens like I needed a hole in the head. But it was a way of giv? ing several million dollars to the provin? cial government immediately, to help them with the takeover. I forget what the amount was, but it was 5 or 6 million dollars. And that money was immediately given to the provincial government to use in their take? over, running the plant. And there were other things the federal government did. The federal government had just made loans to the steel company for the building of a new wharf system down in the Pier. And that was owed to the federal government. And that was written off immediately. So there were a number of things like that, that the federal government were able to do--indirectly--that helped pay for the takeover. And those things were worked quietly, I think, by Tom McKeough and Allan MacEachen. (And you feel, then, G. I. Smith always knew he'd have this.) I don't know if he knew it, but he was hop? ing for it. (Was the Parade of Concern the only--what would we call it?--kind of act that was taken? Was it the only performance?) No. It was constant on TV and radio for two months. We tried to get as much.... Pro? grams- -I don't know what the programs were then, because, remember, this is '67. And television certainly wasn't as developed as it is in 1990. But programs similar to "The Journal"--that type of program--we made sure we got someone on that.... And on the CTV--whatever the leading programs were at the time. And that type of thing. (And ra? dio, here?) Oh, radio right across the country--right across the country. And it was easy to hit the company--it was a foreign company--to be fair. You know, it was foreign ownership, and look what they did to us. And that lent itself for commu? nity support. And they had no consideration for us whatever. And their announcement was so blunt that it helped our cause. (The word "public ownership"--had that come up yet? Is that a term that we were using? Or were we simply saying the provincial government should run the plant and keep it going?) I think that in the first instance, that's what it was. The provincial govern? ment- -you have to take it over and keep it going. Now, what will happen down the road, we don't know. We're not even considering that. But it was the immediate. (So it wasn't any long-range promise you were looking for from the government.) No, no. (If they chose to operate it for a few months and find a new buyer, a private buyer--you didn't care.) We were not even considering that. (So it wasn't a question of, "We don't want it to be an independent entrepreneur running it.") No. (You didn't
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