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Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I’d like to begin by thanking Mayor Roy-Marinelli for her presentation. I’d also like to welcome Quebec Premier Jean Charest and the ministers accompanying him, and to recognize the Member of Parliament for this district, Stephen Blaney, who is working tirelessly for his Lévis constituents.
Greetings also to our Minister responsible for Greater Quebec City, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie, Josée Verner; to Public Works Minister Christian Paradis; to Economic Development Minister Denis Lebel; to John Baird, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities; and to Senator Michel Rivard.
Ladies and gentlemen. Next week I’ll be in London meeting with world leaders to discuss the global recession and coordinate our actions in response to the situation. This recession, which began when our neighbours to the South were hit by a major financial crisis, has now spread all over the globe. And Canada, a country built on trade, is no exception.
But Canada was one of the last countries to enter this global recession, thanks in particular to our solid banking system. And our economy’s relative strength, in relation to other developed countries, gives us reason to be confident that when the recovery comes, we’ll be able to emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.
And to ensure that we emerge stronger than ever, all governments must take concrete, effective and targeted steps to stimulate and sustain our economy during this global recession. That is why two months ago, almost to the day, our Conservative Government tabled one of the most important budgets in our nation’s history: Canada’s Economic Action Plan. Our Action Plan contains important measures to kick-start our economy:
- We’re cutting the taxes paid by individuals and businesses.
- We’re assisting Canadians who are buying their first home or doing renovations.
- We’re supporting struggling industries.
- We’re protecting pension plans.
- We’re ensuring that financing is available in the Canadian economy.
- We’re helping those who have lost their jobs by extending EI benefits.
- We’re helping workers in transition who want to upgrade their skills.
And these are just some of the initiatives taken by our government to deal with the crisis.
But I’m here today to talk more specifically about a key plank in our Economic Action Plan: fast-tracking investments in construction, in particular the building of highways, bridges, viaducts, science labs and other public infrastructure. Across the country, our government is working closely with provincial governments to cut red tape and to ensure that projects that create jobs get underway quickly.
I’m pleased to announce today that our Government will partner with the city of Lévis and the Government of Quebec in the expansion and improvement of the Desjardins filtration plant, right here in Lévis. The work will begin shortly. Improvements to the Desjardins water treatment plant, here in Lévis, will create well paid jobs and will enhance the quality of life of the citizens of this city.
I’d like to thank Premier Jean Charest, who has played an important role in paving the way for the necessary agreements to allow job-creating projects, like the one here in Lévis, to proceed full steam ahead throughout Quebec.
And over the coming weeks, you’ll see our government making other announcements as part of our Economic Action Plan. We are taking short-term action on our economy in a way that will serve our long-term needs.
In this period of global economic recession, we are building on our solid record and investing in initiatives that will drive growth for many years to come. While the world wrestles with a recession, we Canadians are looking to the future. By making investments like the one in Lévis, we are seizing opportunities to revitalize our economy, to create jobs and to ensure that when the recovery comes, our economy will emerge stronger than ever.