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Politics, Life and Journalism in Northumberland County, Ontario

Viceroy closing Port Hope operation

As municipal, provincial and federal officials scramble to find ways to keep Viceroy Homes, in Port Hope, from closing its doors and sending more than 100 unionized workers to the unemployment lines, there are some concerns that need to be raised beyond the obvious.

First, how was it nobody knew what was going on? With all the politicians claiming complete surprise at the announcement earlier this week, as well as highly paid economic development officers lounging around, it seems unbelievable that a major employer was able to come to this decision without someone having an inkling.

Next, it is a killer to see that this company, like so many other Canadian firms, was sold to a foreign investor and suddenly is pulling up stakes. When will MP Rick Norlock and his Tory buddies learn that selling off Canadian corporations to foreign investors is bad? There is no loyalty and there is no interest in helping the Canadian economy. It will not matter how many dollars taxpayers throw at these companies, we lose. Those dollars will flow out of the country in the long run. However, we can’t let our friends in Port Hope down. The plant must be saved.

Finally, it is no coincidence this all happens with union negotiations occurring in the background. Workers struggling to keep decent wages, fair working conditions and protect their members from the ravages of a global economic meltdown are met with disdain and reproach. Crushing unions will not help the economic recovery. And, corporations cannot justify this kind of open hostility. Still, no level of government will stand up for working class people anymore. It is merely a mad rush to vilify unionized workers at any costs through smear campaigns and propaganda. Now, more than 100 people will suffer.

All this shows the fragility of this economic recovery. Norlock and the Tories have nothing to boast about when it comes to this kind of reality. Even if he finds a program to help Viceroy stay open, it was his government’s policies that put the company in jeopardy. Also, MPP Lou Rinaldi needs to smell the coffee and take more interest in what is going on in his riding rather than serving his political ambitions at Queen’s Park. Finally, municipal leaders and economic development officers need spill some blood. We pay far too much money to allow this one to go by the boards. Somebody needs to step down or be fired for incompetence.

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4 Responses to “Viceroy closing Port Hope operation”

  1. Robert. Your article is missing much of the details not unlike the politicians you describe. Viceroy’s operations are not “pulling up stakes” and leaving the country but merely moving them to the their BC operations. This isn’t an instance of “union busting” as you suggest (but does look shifty) but a decision of economics. The Port Hope factory was operating at 20% of production and bleeding cash. Its BC operations is operating at 50% of operations and actually making a small profit. It only makes sense to close a losing part of the company and merge it with a more productive one. Workers will be offered the opportunity to join the BC operations. There is not going to be a total closure of the company in Port Hope. The administrative offices will remain and there is a construction company in the works. All this information is freely available and easy to find if one just does a simple search like I did. While it is sad to see a smaller community lose many jobs its not as bad as you purport them to be. I to am not impressed with the policticians and their reactionary actions after the fact. My point is though, there is much more to this story than you have reported on. Try in the future to maintain some balance.

    • Thanks for the insightful comments. None of the information you provide was part of the public record when the initial story broke, which was the basis of my comments.

      Also, this was a commentary, hence I do not feel the issue of balance is as important, since I am expressing my opinion and raising questions. This is the role of a j-blogger as compared to when I would act as a reporter publishing on a news site. However, balance is always a important. I think your contribution helps provide that element.

      Again, thanks for the comments.

  2. Someworker
    You display a lot of knowledge about the situation we would like to hear more but the “simple search” you refer to and in fact beat Robert over the head with, for not doing as part of a factcheck, doesn’t yield the results you claim to be there. For example google “Viceroy homes closing” and get nothing but MSM reports. Go to the Viceroy homes website and see nothing, not even a press release even though there is a page for press releases. Please supply the internet sources for your claim so that we can in fact support your argument.

  3. Cobourgladdie: I saw your post to “someworker” and I couldn’t resist–perhaps my simple search skills would prove superior! Nope, I couldn’t find near the level of detail “someworker” posted (although one local article did state that operations would be consolidated in B.C.).

    However, I did run across this: http://www.ripoffreport.com/Viceroy-Homes-Limited/Builders-Contractors/VICEROY-HOMES-OFFERS-VERY-POOR-43F3Z.htm#43f3z

    Let’s hope “someworker” is just a pr pro doing his job and not one of the “employees” described at the BC plant in that link 😉


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