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Notes for an address by
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada,
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and
Minister of Western Economic Diversification
Corresponding Document: News release (2008-03-20)
Check Against Delivery
Thank you Assistant Deputy Minister Doug Maley.
Good afternoon everyone.
It is an honour to be here on behalf of the Government of Canada and Western Economic Diversification Canada.
I would like to begin by acknowledging my fellow platform guests:
Since our nation was founded, ports have played a crucial role in Canada’s economic vitality and the quality of life we enjoy.
Today, with increased trade and investment with emerging economies in the Asia-Pacific, there are opportunities for a new kind of port—one that is multi-modal, located inland and capable of moving materials and products to anywhere in North America.
Port Alberta has the potential to transform the Edmonton region into a major North American warehousing and distribution hub that combines air, rail and road transportation infrastructure with potential links to the rest of the world.
Every region in Alberta stands to benefit from linking Alberta’s manufacturing, energy and value-added industries with a centralized trade and transportation centre here in Edmonton.
For western Canadian businesses, Port Alberta also promises expanded trade opportunities with the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of North America, resulting in more jobs and a higher standard of living for western Canadians.
The Edmonton region, in particular, has the potential to become a major inland transportation and trade hub between Asia and North America.
That is why I am proud to announce that the Government of Canada, through Western Economic Diversification Canada, is investing $1.5 million to support the building blocks – research, partnerships, and plans – that will contribute to developing a strong and vibrant Port Alberta.
This investment will help develop a blueprint that will bring the Port Alberta concept to life and create an industry-led council to provide leadership for the initiative.
It is important to highlight the strength of the partnership that has been forged around today’s announcement, and to mark what can be accomplished when different community stakeholders come together to improve our region’s economic competitiveness.
Western Canada and Alberta are well positioned—both geographically and economically—to take advantage of the changing dynamics in the global economy.
Our Government realizes that Canada can secure a larger share of Asia-Pacific container traffic if we can demonstrate that we have the ability to move products efficiently to their final destination.
The Government of Canada is proud to support the Edmonton region in developing this vital inland Port to take advantage of emerging Asia-Pacific Gateway opportunities.
Investments such as this help strengthen Canada’s position as a fast, efficient, secure and reliable commercial Gateway to North America.
Last May, I announced a $75 million federal investment on behalf of the Honourable David Emerson toward an interchange project in Edmonton under the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative.
In fact, our Government has committed more than $1 billion to the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative since 2006.
My department, Western Economic Diversification Canada, is also working with the four western provinces to enable them to capitalize on new opportunities in the Asia-Pacific Rim.
This includes a WD investment of $30 million towards the creation a container terminal at the Port of Prince Rupert in British Columbia.
The terminal, which opened last September, now offers the fastest shipping route between North America and Asia.
For example, CN has estimated that the route between Shanghai and the Port of Prince Rupert is up to 58 hours faster than out of other North American sea ports.
WD’s contributions to the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative have also included providing strategic advice and consulting with stakeholders across the West about how best to leverage economic opportunities from these investments.
As Prime Minister Harper said at the International Conference on Gateways and Corridors last May, “At the dawn of the 21st century, no country in the world is better positioned than Canada to prosper in the emerging global economy.”
Canada is building a competitive Gateway economy that is grounded in partnerships among different orders of government, industry and economic development organizations.
Partnerships, such as the one involved in developing this strategic plan for Port Alberta, will lead to a strengthened Asia-Pacific Gateway.
Today’s announcement represents an important step for all of us who are committed to the success of the Port Alberta initiative, the Edmonton region and Western Canada.
On behalf of the Government of Canada and Western Economic Diversification Canada, I would like to thank the project partners, which include the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, Edmonton Airport Authority and Edmonton Economic Development Corporation.
I would also like to thank the City of Edmonton, which has been a strong advocate for this project since the beginning.
Your collective vision, hard work and commitment to making Port Alberta a reality is a testament to this region’s capacity to implement a project of this magnitude.
Our Government is proud to support your efforts through today’s investment.
I wish you every success as you move forward.