Prince George, B.C.- September 10, 2010

Supplemental content

Speech by Richard M. Harris, Member of Parliament for Cariboo-Prince George, at an event to announce better access to CN intermodal facility for shippers in Northern BC.

Based on a transcript.

Thank you everybody. I’m here today on behalf of the Honourable Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board of Canada and the Minister responsible for the Asia Pacific Gateway and all of the things that happened to make it such an economical highway for Canada’s trade with Asia.

Today we’re going to celebrate the opening, the completion of the River Road project. This is part of the Economic Action Plan in connection with the Gateway portfolio. I want to particularly mention the city, acknowledge their participation in this. It’s something that is just another example when levels of government work together, things happen. I’m sure that Brian [Brian Skakun, acting Mayor for Dan Rogers, Prince George] and Cam [Cameron Stolz, Prince George City Councilor] and Dave [Dave Wilbur, Prince George City Councilor] will be acknowledging that this was an important project to get done for the city of Prince George and indeed for the entire region. It’s a great day for the entire region right from Prince George, Cornell Williams Lake out to Prince Rupert.

Of course the folks that live east of us who ship goods out from Edmonton, they all come through Prince George. There’s going to be a lot of activity in this area. So this kind of work contributes to job creation - there’s got to be people to build these projects. That’s happened and it helps the region’s economic present and future. It ensures that we are competitive with all of our overseas competitors, our competitors that are shipping overseas to those markets.

It really gives Prince George a leg up on our competitors when it comes to taking advantage of the Asian market.  As you know our government is continuing working with the municipal governments such as the city of Prince George to invest in infrastructure programs all across the country because we recognize what a hugely critical role infrastructure plays in the development of opportunities and to be able to take advantage of those opportunities that are created.

Projects like this attract business. They create jobs. They build trade and of course they boost the economy. That’s what the Economic Action Plan has all been about over the last two years as we’ve faced some global challenges. Cam mentioned about the amount of tax dollars that come back to the riding over the past four years and I want to say that driving up from Williams Lake this morning it is a solid highway of projects right from south of Williams Lake right up into Prince George, the new bridges and the four lanes and the Scales project, this project here, driving past the Outport project, all of this.

I have to say and I’m proud that it’s truly unprecedented in this region to have this many things going on at the same time in the same time period creating so much employment and bringing so much economic opportunity to the area. I’m really proud to be helping to bring these kinds of benefits back to the people in the form of returning their tax dollars back to the area.

All around the globe people are talking about Canada’s success story, how we’re leading other countries out of the global financial challenges. For the third year in a row I see the World Economic Forum has announced that Canada’s banks are the soundest in all of the world. That’s something we can be proud of.  That’s another thing that encourages foreign investment into our country and encourages people to not only send their money but to bring their expertise to Canada as well and knowing that they have a fairly stable economy and a stable country, a stable government, stable economy to operate in.

We’ll continue to look at the benefits that our Economic Action Plan is delivering and certainly this project here we provided over $3 million for this project. I think it was $3.5 and then because we came in under budget I think at the end of the day it’s going to be about $3.2 million. It’s always nice to get a project done on time and under budget and save some money. I think we’ve done that.

What this project is going to do, as many of you know it’s going to provide access to the CN facility by local industries creating pulp and lumber. You can see some boxcars over there being loaded into containers.
I would suggest that if you come down here a year from now and if you see what’s happening, compare what you see today with what’s going to be happening a year from now and even two years and three years and five years from now, this is going to be just a hub of activity because it’s going to open the Asian markets to our industries to make it so much easier for them to ship into Asia, those lucrative Asian markets.

River Road has been in need of improvement for many years. I know the Mayor and Council agree that is going to be a wider road now. It’s going to be safer. It’s even got bike lanes on it. It’s a continuous east west route in the city of Prince George. There’s a recreational area down here that I think will get more use now that’s better access and also a more reliable alternate route to highway 16, the Yellowhead Highway and highway 97 north.

It’s clear to see that these improvements are already starting to stimulate the local economy and improve the access for all of this area for local users. We can look forward to seeing a lot more improvements to the Asia Pacific Corridor. That’s so important to our part of the country. Minister Day, Stockwell Day is the lead Minister on that portfolio and I tell you what, he’s got a good handle on it.

Once again thanks everybody for coming today. I know that you appreciate what this project will mean to our city and to our economy. Again I’m just proud to be part of our government that’s able to share and deliver a lot of your tax dollars back to make this possible. Thank you very much.

Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway