I want to give greetings to all of the various dignitaries who are here today for this important event. First of all, to Premier McGuinty, it would be remiss of me if I didn’t use the opportunity to publicly congratulate you on your re-election. MPP Jeff Leal and MPP Laurie Scott, I’m told are here, as well as Mayor Bennett, Mayor Fallis, Warden Jones and Mr. Hunt.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is truly a great day for Peterborough, and, as Prime Minister, I offer my thanks and congratulations to all of you who worked so hard to make it happen. Special thanks to my own colleagues, Members of Parliament Dean Del Mastro and Barry Devolin. They’ve been working hard to create jobs and growth in Peterborough city and county, and on our side, it’s because of their strong advocacy on behalf of their region and on behalf of their constituents that we have a reason to celebrate here today. Thank you Dean and Barry for that work.
Ladies and gentlemen, flying in to any place is the perfect way to get the big picture, quite literally, and the picture coming in to Peterborough Airport is now a lot bigger than it was just 14 months ago. I think Harry Oakman, the aerial photographer who was a key figure in the history of this airport, would be proud if he could see what you have done with his old grass strip. The airport now has a longer runway, a new terminal, more room for industrial development, and better facilities all around.
That means it’s now the kind of airport needed to serve an important regional centre like Peterborough, and more important, it’s now the kind of airport that can support economic growth in Peterborough city and county for years to come. And friends, that’s where the real big picture comes in.
This project is a great example of the investments we’ve made to create jobs and growth in a time of global economic instability. Through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, in collaboration with the province and the city, we’re helping create jobs when they’re needed most, and, in the process, laying the foundation for long-term growth.
In the short term, the expansion of Peterborough Airport is expected to create 135 jobs, and add $16.5 million to the regional economy each year. But because of its expanded airport, the region is now better equipped to attract new investments, and to expand existing industries over the long term, including in its growing aerospace and aviation industries.
More than a dozen international aerospace companies have signalled potential interest in the airport’s increased capabilities and what Peterborough has to offer, and Flying Colours, the airport’s largest tenant, can now maintain and modify larger Bombardier aircraft. I understand the company also has plans for future expansion into Boeing and Airbus products.
But expanding Peterborough Airport is only one part of our efforts to create jobs and growth here in Eastern Ontario. We’re investing in the Eastern Ontario broadband network, and supporting business and community initiatives through the Eastern Ontario Development Program. Here in Peterborough city and county, through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, we’ve invested in roads and bridges, including improvements to Highway 115, the new Health Sciences Centre at Trent University, and the restoration of Market Hall.
Friends, as you know, our government’s number-one priority is to help create jobs now, and to support long-term economic growth for more jobs in the future. We will remain vigilant and active to protect Canadian jobs and the Canadian economy. We will keep taxes down. We will focus government spending on priorities. And we will keep opening and expanding new markets, to help create jobs and prosperity for all Canadians. These policies have served and are serving us well.
Canada’s economy has created more than 650,000 net new jobs since July 2009. That’s the strongest record in the G-7, and, according to the most recent forecast of the International Monetary Fund, Canada will have the strongest overall economic growth among G-7 countries over the next two years. But Canada will also continue to feel the effects of instability in the global economy, so we need to stay focused – to protect Canadians, to promote our advantage, and to plan for our future.
That’s why our government is implementing the next phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, including important job-creating measures like the Hiring Credit for Small Business, and that’s why we will continue to support new opportunities here in Peterborough city and county, and from coast to coast to coast.
Congratulations once again to everybody. Thank you.