Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks at the Canadian Transformational Infrastructure Summit
Hello everyone. I want to start by congratulating everyone who took part in the challenge. You’ve all done amazing work as part of this initiative. I also want to specifically thank a few people who are here with us today. We’ve got David Walmsley from the Globe and Mail, my colleague, our Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, and finally, thank you to Kilian Berz and Jim Leech for inviting me to join you at the Infrastructure Summit.
The people in this room know that infrastructure projects are about more than just adding a new subway line, fixing an old bridge, or buying houses or buses. For the people of Toronto, the Portlands Flood Protection Project means flood protection and a revitalized city space for generations to come. For parents living in Calgary, the Green Line means less time in traffic and more time at home. For families in Gatineau, the Rapibus extension will improve air quality by reducing the number of cars on the road.
Infrastructure is about growing our communities. It’s about making our towns and cities better places to live, not just today, but for generations to come. But in order to do all that nowadays, public and private sector investors have to modernize our approach to infrastructure planning. Our world is constantly evolving, and the rapid pace of change is disrupting existing models. Some of our big cities have had their populations double and their boundaries expand. As a result, the demand for things like affordable housing and efficient transit remains high.
Meanwhile major advances in technology have completely changed the way governments and businesses respond to these changes effectively and efficiently. To meet demand, we have to constantly innovate and consider the bigger picture.
That is exactly what you…what you did here at the Infrastructure Summit. Your presence speaks to your commit to transform how we approach infrastructure projects, and of course talk about them. And this is a very important discussion that we need to have, not only among members of the same sector, but across the different sectors. With citizens, civil society and stakeholders. We have to involve as many people as possible in the discussion because we need diverse perspectives to better respond to the demands of citizens and achieve the best results.
To modernize infrastructure planning, our government adopted a challenge approach similar to the one featured here today. As part of the Smart Cities Challenge, the Government of Canada invited communities across the country to develop an ambitious plan to improve the lives of their residents. Local businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs were asked to work across sectors to imagine creative solutions to the problems we’re facing. The most promising designs will then receive funding to bring those ideas to life.
Part of our infrastructure plan was to help move new projects forward more quickly and grow our communities now, not ten years from now. And that’s why we created the Canada Infrastructure Bank. The Bank is a way for us to leverage private capital and help our dollars go further. And on that point, I would like to say hello to Pierre Lavallée, the Bank’s President and CEO, Janice Fukakusa, Chair of the Bank, and Jim Leech, Special Advisor for the Bank.
You can applaud them, they’ve been working very, very hard.
We are confident that with their vast experience and their knowledge of investment and the sector, this new project will be a very successful.
And while we’re off to an exciting start, we know that we need to keep up the momentum. The possibilities are endless when it comes to propelling ourselves towards the future, especially when you consider the latest technologies.
Yesterday, I met with the Prime Minister of Estonia, who shared his county’s experience with digital governance. They have harnessed the latest technology to promote transparency, empower citizens and improve government services, and this is just one example of the transformative power of technology. It can be applied to virtually anything, including infrastructure planning.
But while we continue to innovate and to create, we can’t lose sight of the very real impact these changes have on Canadians. Businesses and governments cannot neglect the responsibility they have towards the people who work for them or those who elect them. The Government of Canada made significant investments in skills training so Canadians can take on the jobs of tomorrow. This is the challenge faced by countries around the world, and that’s why we decided to make it a central focus of the upcoming G7 Summit, which will take place next week in Charlevoix.
Leaders will be called on to innovate, to be creative and to learn from one another. I will also add that the theme of gender equality and gender-based analysis have been integrated across all themes, activities and results of our presidency. Whether in terms of the economy, jobs or the environment, the solutions proposed not just by G7 members but indeed by all leaders of every sector must promote the participation and empowerment of women. Infrastructure is no exception. All efforts…must align with our commitment to modernize our approaches and propel our country into the future.
And I look around this room. I see people who share our government’s ambition to make our towns and cities even better places to call home. Canada needs people like you who are ready and willing to innovate and seize new opportunities. So keep up the great work, know that this government shares your enthusiasm for the future, and once again, thank you very much for inviting me here today to be part of this celebration, the CapInfra…CanInfra Challenge.
Thank you, friends.
Thank you so much!