The Honourable Lynne Yelich Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification
As Canadians, we can be proud of our country’s solid economic fundamentals. It is important to keep in mind, however, that Canada’s future prosperity depends not just on meeting the challenges of today, but on building the dynamic economy that will create opportunities and better jobs for the future.
In order to meet the challenges of the past two years, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) invested in more than 1,000 projects across the West as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, helping communities reduce the impacts of the economic downturn.
Looking ahead at the opportunities for tomorrow, WD ’s investments are helping western Canadian companies to compete at a global level and develop cutting-edge technologies for future commercialization.
For example, WD is supporting the Toxicology Centre at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon to assess the commercial viability of a new technology that could contribute to cleaner, more economical oil sands extraction processes.
WD also helps small- and medium-sized enterprises improve productivity, get products to market, and expand global trade and investment opportunities. A WD investment is helping with the development and delivery of the Access to Supply Chains program, a two-year pan-western pilot project. This program assists women entrepreneurs access the resources they need to move their products and services to customers.
One of my key priorities is helping Western Canada maintain international competitiveness. This year, I attended the 2011 DSEi (Defence and Security Equipment International) Exhibition in London and Agritechnica 2011 in Hannover, Germany, where I met with multinational companies that have significant business interests in the western Canadian economy. I took the opportunity to tell them about our strong agriculture industry and the vibrant and growing western Canadian aerospace and defence sector.
I am confident that WD’s range of programs and activities create a foundation that builds the prosperity and competitiveness of the West. Together, we are working to build a stronger West for a stronger Canada.