Winnipeg - June 18, 2010

Supplemental content

Speech by the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, on behalf of Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway at an Event to Mark the Start of Construction of Various Road Improvements Around CentrePort Canada

Based on a transcript.

Thank you very much. I appreciate your presence here today, but I am also speaking to citizens in Manitoba who may not yet know what an important project this is. I want to specifically recognize the Premier here today and the Mayor of Winnipeg. I want to also recognize Councillor [Grant] Nordman who is here. Thank you. This is in and about your ward, Councillor, so thank you for being here. Reeve Alice Bourgouin, thank you for being here as well. You’ve been a strong supporter of this, working from the rural side together with the City of Winnipeg. It’s commendable what your Council has done.

And of course I want to thank Kerry Hawkins for his work. I want to recognize you for the work that you have done in moving this project along. And I also want to thank of course Diane Gray. You’re doing an excellent job. You served with distinction with the Provincial Government and now you’re doing an excellent job here. So thank you very much.

I want to celebrate the progress that we’re making which I think many Manitobans still don’t realize the significance of what is going on here, not only today but over the next couple of years. What we’re celebrating today is the result of collaboration, partnership and the pursuit of a common goal to make CentrePort Canada one of North America’s most important trading centres. CentrePort Canada was created to harness Winnipeg’s strategic location as a hub for both north-south and east-west flows of trade to attract investments and manufacturing, warehousing and distribution around the J.A. Richardson International Airport.

This will create advantages for businesses. It will provide opportunities for workers and it will increase Canada’s competitiveness on the world stage. That’s why CentrePort Canada is one of the key projects that our government supported through the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, and that’s why we’re investing in infrastructure projects that will make CentrePort Canada an attractive destination for international businesses and development.

Our government understands the significant impact of taxes on the international competitiveness of Canadian business and has taken concrete steps since 2006 to strengthen Canada’s business tax advantage for trade. Now some of the more well-known advantages include the lowering of the GST which is fully recoverable for business and doesn’t apply to exports. But our corporate tax rate will be the lowest among the G7 countries by 2012 and we already have the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment.

As announced in Budget 2010, we are committed to eliminating all remaining tariffs on manufacturing inputs, machinery and equipment by 2015, which will make Canada a tariff-free zone for manufacturers. Also, Canada has three targeted tax and duty-deferral programs that are among the most business-friendly incentive programs for export-orientated business anywhere.

Canada’s foreign trade zone-type programs for businesses are the Duty-Deferral Program and the Export Distribution Centre Program and Exporters of Processing Services Program. Taken together, these tax and duty benefits are similar to the advantages provided by foreign trade zones in other countries. But unlike foreign trade zones overseas, which tie businesses to a location that may not be ideal for them, Canada’s foreign trade zone-type programs offer companies the advantage of geographical flexibility. In other words, export-oriented companies can enjoy the benefits of foreign trade zones anywhere in Canada.

So these initiatives will then attract businesses, create jobs, build trade and boost the economy. So the benefits of the trade and tax policies will not only be felt here in Winnipeg but throughout Manitoba and Canada. So that’s why I believe it’s very important that we invest in the infrastructure to take advantage of these tax and duty benefits that we have here in Manitoba.

CentrePort Canada is definitely a key component of Canada’s economic prosperity as we emerge from the recession. The government’s contributions to infrastructure projects supporting CentrePort Canada total approximately $190 million towards the five projects with total costs over $460 million. So today as we symbolically break ground on the first stage of the development for the four-lane divided expressway known as CentrePort Canada Way and key upgrades to Highway 75, this work will have numerous benefits for both the general public and commercial traffic. What’s efficient for people is also efficient for trade.

So I just wanted to stress, ladies and gentlemen, because I think, and I apologize for going on too long, but I think it’s very, very important that people right across Manitoba understand what the significance is of what is going on here, and I want to thank our partners in this - the municipalities, the Province and of course, the corporations that are spearheading the movement here.

Thank you very much.

Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway