Statement Article from  Infrastructure Canada

Cabinet Retreat, Atlantic Trip and Toronto Speech

January 28, 2016

It was a couple weeks after we all returned to work from a short break over the Holidays, and it was the last week before our return to Parliament. What a whirlwind of a week it was. It started with a very productive Cabinet retreat in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, where my colleagues and I had the opportunity to look ahead and plan for the Parliamentary session, but also for the years to come in order to make sure we build the economy Canadians need for these challenging times. Of course, for us at Infrastructure Canada, this means doubling our infrastructure investments over the next 10 years to build vibrant, inclusive and sustainable communities. It also means investing rapidly in order to get the economy moving and create good quality jobs now. It's a great challenge we have set for ourselves, and it won't always be easy, but working together it's one we will meet.

After the Cabinet retreat I headed to Fredericton and Halifax where I got to meet our provincial and municipal partners from all four Atlantic Provinces. Here is a short summary.

Meeting our partners face-to-face in Atlanic Canada

From my perspective, meeting and consulting with our partners is crucial to achieving our vision of creating economic growth and sustainable communities across Canada. All communities have pressing infrastructure needs and engaging them early and continuing that dialogue is vital to the success of any long term plan. The first stop was Fredericton, where I met with New Brunswick's Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Roger Melanson and his team to discuss their needs and priorities.

It was a short stop but as always, the people of New-Brunswick proved to be very welcoming.

We then headed to Halifax! My first meeting was with Newfoundland/Labrador's Transportation and Works Minister Al Hawkins to discuss the St. John's wastewater project as well, the ongoing need for social housing and long-term care facilities.

Shortly after meeting with Minister Hawkins, I met with Nova Scotia's Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Geoff MacLennan and Minister of Municipal Affairs Zach Churchill to discuss the New Building Canada Fund priority projects that have been identified by the Province.

We were then met for lunch by the Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy, Paula Biggar, and PEI's Deputy of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy John MacQuarrie to discuss a series of issues including the province's updated infrastructure plan.

For my final meeting of the day, it was a pleasure to meet with Halifax Mayor Michael Savage and his colleagues. During the meeting, Mayor Savage took me through a detailed presentation on Halifax and some of the infrastructure priorities – such as wastewater infrastructure – that the city has identified.

My visit to Atlantic Canada, while short, was very productive and allowed me to better understand the priorities of the Atlantic provinces as well as the on-the-ground pressures that communities are facing across the region. The knowledge and expertise our partners bring to the table is crucial to building a plan that meets actual local needs and creates strong communities over the long term.

After my visit to Atlantic Canada Came to an end, I had the pleasure of visiting Toronto to participate in a Civic Action meeting with mayors from across the GTA who were gathered to speak about the future of our cities.

Following an informative and dynamic discussion with Civic Action GTHA, I headed over to the Toronto Regional Board of Trade to deliver opening remarks and participate in a roundtable discussion focused on infrastructure investments, innovation, and technology. My speech touched on our government's commitment to partnership, highlighted our key focuses for investment, and outlined our plan to get infrastructure investments into the economy immediately to create economic growth and jobs, while also ensuring that we are laying the foundation for long-term and strategic investment in communities.

During the afternoon, I toured Regent Park with Toronto Mayor John Tory where we discussed the state of Toronto's social infrastructure and where we could work together to invest strategically in projects that will make a difference for all Torontonians.

Overall, my visits to both Atlantic Canada and Toronto were extremely informative. I learned a lot about the challenges faced by these communities and regions, and was struck by the dedication and enthusiasm that all of our partners have for their communities. We have a lot of work to do and the way to do it is in partnership.

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Hon. Amarjeet Sohi Infrastructure Canada Transport

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