300 Alberta industrial jobs to be lost at Celanese

Alberta Federation of Labour President Kerry Barrett was highly critical of the lack of any government industrial strategy in the wake of the announced closure of the Celanese Canada plant in Edmonton.

"Up to 300 Albertans are going to lose highly-paid industrial jobs as Celanese moves its operations to low-wage countries," charged Barrett, "yet the Klein government continues to embrace free trade and globalization and refuses to construct a pro-active industrial development policy."
"The employer is simply closing its Alberta operations and moving production to its Mexico plant," said Barrett. "It is making this move despite staff cuts and real sacrifices by the workers to keep the plant in operation."
"For years, the Alberta government has relied upon the energy sector to carry the provincial economy, said Barrett, "but their lack of any commitment to long-term planning or to any kind of industrial development plan is now costing hard-working Albertans their jobs."
Barrett pointed out that the current government has focused far too much on resource export and far too little on building a healthy value-added industrial base. "There must have been something the Alberta government could have done to prevent this plant closure," said Barrett. "But, as usual, this government has done nothing before the fact and will doubtlessly do even less after the fact."
"This plant-closure should come as a wake-up call to Albertans. Why was there no government action before the closure? Why is there no government help for the displaced workers? We have a right to expect answers to these questions," said Barrett.
"Maybe it is time for Albertans to reconsider who should be governing this province and what public policies would best serve them," said Barrett. "If the state-owned Chinese mining company can be praised for buying Canadian mining giant Noranda, isn't it time to consider an Alberta crown corporation to make use of the province's natural energy wealth for the benefit of all?"

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