Cape Breton Steel

Publisher:  GATT-Fly, Canada
Year Published:  1977  
Pages:  8pp  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX418

This profile tells the story of the Sydney Steel Corporation (SYSCO) in Cape Breton and reveals one of the most important causes of unemployment and industrial shutdowns in Canada today. It traces the foreign ownership and control over Cape Breton Steel beginning with its original Boston investor H.M. Whitney in 1900 until the final takeover by the province of Nova Scotia.

Abstract:  This profile tells the story of the Sydney Steel Corporation (SYSCO) in Cape Breton and reveals one of the most important causes of unemployment and industrial shutdowns in Canada today. It traces the foreign ownership and control over Cape Breton Steel beginning with its original Boston investor H.M. Whitney in 1900 until the final takeover by the province of Nova Scotia. This occurred when the last private owner, Hawke Siddeley, announced on Black Friday, October 13, 1967, that the parent company, Dominion Steel Corporation (DOSCO), could no longer "afford to pay."

Since the creation of SYSCO in 1968 as a provincial crown corporation, growth has been limited and stability threatened. The federal government has provided insufficient funds for rehabilitation, labour-management relations have not improved, and the only marketing permitted has been that of rails and unfinished steel. In addition, a new steel complex, which would be controlled by the German and Dutch multinatinal partners of CANSTEEL, has been proposed at Gabarous Bay.

Noting that diversification and production for a regional market were rejected last March by SYSCO's newly appointed president Tom Kent, the article points out that a smaller plant like SYSCO, which is near the necessary raw materials and substantial markets, may be more 'efficient' than a larger plant without these advantages. It would also pave the way for a steel industry owned and controlled by Maritimers and be to the advantage of everyone in Atlantic Canada.


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