1 March 2010
Vancouver, British Columbia
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Good morning ladies and gentlemen.
Greetings to my cabinet colleagues, Ministers Stockwell Day and James Moore, as well as Lower Mainland Members of Parliament Ed Fast, Nina Grewal, Alice Wong, Russ Hiebert, Andrew Saxton and John Weston.
Also with us today are Mayor Malcolm Brodie of Richmond, Mayor Lois Jackson of Delta, Mayor Dianne Watts of Surrey, and acting Mayor Selina Robinson of Coquitlam.
And special greetings, of course, to Premier Campbell.
Congratulations to you, Premier, and through you to all British Columbians on the tremendous success of the Winter Olympic Games.
Of course, the athletes represented our country brilliantly, but so too did Vancouver and Whistler.
You – and all of British Columbia – also gave us a gold medal performance as hosts of the biggest and best Games ever. Our entire country thanks you for doing us all so proud.
And thank you also, Premier, for your government’s role and your role.
I don`t say this often enough, but I do appreciate our partnership. I especially appreciate the fact that although you are responsible for this great province, and though our governments sometimes disagree, I can honestly say that you put Canada first.
It was evident at these Games and it has been evident in other international forums and I, and all Canadians, thank you for that.
I believe that the success of these Games will pay dividends for B.C. and for Canada long into the future.
Among those who came and the hundreds of millions watching the Olympics on TV, people around the world got a glimpse of the extraordinary beauty of this province and the generous hospitality of British Columbians.
There will be many who will now want to experience it first-hand.
They will come to ski, hike, explore and experience "super, natural" British Columbia. And today’s announcement will help them do just that.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am very pleased to announce that the Government of Canada, in partnership with the Government of British Columbia, is investing in fifteen new, separate transportation infrastructure upgrade projects in this province.
On Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, and throughout the interior,
construction crews will be busy this summer working to improve high-priority roads, highways and bridges.
They include a dedicated lane for the Highway 99 Rapid Bus from King George Highway to Highway 91, which is great news for commuters
in Surrey and White Rock.
Also included are two projects on the Trans-Canada Highway, repairing and upgrading a bridge and overpasses near Hope and in the spectacular Fraser Canyon near Boston Bar to improve driving for residents and travellers alike.
And no fewer than six Forest Service Roads, which are so critical to logging,
recreation and small communities in the B.C. interior, will also undergo
substantial upgrades and improvements.
The immediate beneficiaries of all these projects will be the B.C. workers,
businesses and communities who get jobs and opportunities associated with this construction. And when the work is complete, British Columbians
and travellers from across the country and around the world will benefit
from the province’s safer, more efficient transportation network.
The investments we are announcing today bring the total number of B.C. infrastructure projects under our Infrastructure Stimulus Fund to more than 400.
They’re a big part of our national Economic Action Plan, designed to create jobs and stimulate economic activity and help Canada ride out the global recession.
And the success of our Action Plan in doing just that is a tribute to the outstanding cooperation between local, provincial and federal governments.
Rising to the challenge of the worst global downturn in half a century,
we have worked together to moderate the harmful economic impacts,
to keep people working, and to ensure a speedy, robust and durable recovery.
In this, the second and final year of the Economic Action Plan,
British Columbians and all Canadians will reap the economic and employment benefits associated with some 12,000 stimulus projects
now underway across the country.
This unprecedented investment in national infrastructure will see us
through the global recession and it will lay the foundations of economic growth and prosperity for years to come.
But our recovery will not be achieved through government action alone.
Much also depends on the confidence, resilience and perseverance of our people. Fortunately, Canadians have all these characteristics, in spades.
And they have just received a timely reminder and boost
from the success of our athletes at the Vancouver and Whistler Winter Olympics. The Games have given Canada a jolt of energy and confidence
that will serve us well through 2010 and beyond.
Later this year Canada will host a visit by Queen Elizabeth II on Canada Day, and the G8 and G20 Summits of the world’s leading economic powers.
Like the Olympics and Paralympics, these events will highlight Canada’s stature on the world stage. Collectively they will send the message that 2010 is Canada’s year, and our future knows no bounds.
Mark my words, ladies and gentlemen, someday historians will look back at Canada’s growing strength in the 21st century and they will say it began here on the West Coast, with the best Winter Olympic Games the world had ever seen.
Congratulations once again.