Speech Article from
Archived - Remarks by the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport to the Association of Canadian Port Authorities' annual general meeting and conference
Nanaimo, British Columbia
August 19 , 2013
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Thank you for that introduction.
It’s great to be back at ACPA, among so many people I know.
As a Cape Bretoner and a former president and CEO of the Toronto Port Authority, maritime issues are in my blood. So I was honoured when the Prime Minister asked me to be Minister of Transport.
As minister, I am aware of the challenges we face in ensuring that our transportation network is safe, secure and efficient and environmentally responsible.
As you may know, two days after I was sworn in, I travelled to Lac-Mégantic to meet people affected by the terrible tragedy that struck their community, to listen to them and to provide my support.
While Canada has one of the best transportation safety records in the world, Lac-Mégantic is a sobering reminder that our work to strengthen safety in all modes of transportation is ongoing.
The theme of this conference is ‘Building partnerships’ and it is very relevant to transportation and safety since it’s only by working together in partnership that we can we make Canada’s transportation system safer and more secure. I am here to talk about some of the ways we are doing this.
World-Class Tanker Safety System
Last March, my predecessor, Denis Lebel, announced a series of actions to establish a world-class tanker safety system.
We will increase tanker inspections this year so that all foreign tankers in Canadian waters are inspected on their first visit, and again each year after that.
We will expand the surveillance and monitoring of ships by air through the National Aerial Surveillance Program.
The Canadian Coast Guard will establish an Incident Command System to respond more effectively to incidents and integrate its operations with key partners.
We will review pilotage and tug escort requirements to see what enhancements may be required to deal with growing traffic levels.
The Port of Kitimat will be designated a public port with all the associated safety and traffic control standards. We will also review other ports to see if similar designations are needed. We will conduct scientific research on non-conventional petroleum products, such as diluted bitumen, to better understand these substances and how they behave in the marine environment in the unlikely event that a spill should occur.
The Canadian Coast Guard will ensure the installation and maintenance of aids to navigation that warn of obstructions and mark the location of preferred shipping routes. It will also develop options to enhance our current navigational system.
The Safeguarding Canada’s Seas and Skies Act, which was tabled in March, will require terminal facilities to submit pollution prevention plans, and streamline penalties so polluters can be fined more easily. It will also strengthen the authority of Transport Canada inspectors and remove legal barriers that would prevent response organizers from acting in an emergency.
Finally, we created a tanker safety expert panel to review our current preparedness and response capacity and made recommendations on possible improvements. Captain Gordon Houston, the former president and CEO of Port Metro Vancouver, was asked to chair this panel and has been consulting with stakeholders regarding tanker safety.
The new safety measures, the Act and the panel underscore the Government of Canada’s commitment to protect the safety of Canadians and the natural environment of this country.
On another note, since we are talking about safety and security, I am pleased to announce, on behalf of my colleague, the Honourable James Moore, that the government has provided a $2-million repayable contribution to AXYS Technologies. The contribution was made through Industry Canada’s Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative that encourages strategic research and development resulting in innovation and excellence in new products and services.
This contribution will help AXYS develop applications that collect, analyse and display sensitive maritime data to enhance port and harbour security. Users of the applications will be able to monitor potential criminal threats in real time and will benefit from the company’s proven record of successful research and development in marine environment monitoring.
Security and transportation between Canada and the United States
Ensuring the security of our transportation systems is key to strengthening the Canada-U.S. trade relationship.
To build prosperity through trade, businesses and governments on both sides of our shared border must have confidence that our transportation systems will work together to meet our mutual security needs.
That is why Canada and the United States are working closely together to implement the Beyond the Border Action Plan.
Under this plan, we are developing a joint cross-border approach to help maritime commerce recover faster after a major disruption. Port Metro Vancouver played a major role in piloting this very successful approach.
Also, as part of En Route to Intelligent Mobility -- the $30 million Intelligent Transportation Systems Strategic Plan for Canada --, the Government of Canada committed to advancing the development and deployment of innovative technologies across Canada. One of these projects, the Commercial Vehicle Preclearance System for compliant vehicles will reduce the number of times vehicles need to stop at inspection stations, saving time and reducing fuel usage.
Finally, the Port of Prince Rupert is participating in a pilot project to improve the efficiency of shipping international goods by rail through Canadian ports to American markets by eliminating duplicate screening of containers as they cross the Canada-U.S. border.
Protecting Canadians and communities involves protecting the environment. That’s the thinking behind the world class tanker safety system I discussed earlier.
According to the Shipping Federation of Canada, shipping has the lowest environmental impact and highest level of energy efficiency of all forms of commercial transportation.
The Government of Canada is doing its part to support sustainable transportation at ports.
Through our Clean Transportation Initiatives, we are working with businesses and port operators to develop technology that coordinates the arrival of container vessels with that of trucks.
This addresses a concern that ports face of having too many trucks idling in queues, waiting to load or unload goods.
Also, through the Shore Power Technology for Ports Program, we are enabling ships to turn off their diesel engines while docked and connect to an electric power supply at the port facility. The installation of shore power in ports such as those in Vancouver and Halifax helps to protect the environment and the health of Canadians, strengthens our economy, creates jobs, and positions tourism and trade in these cities to take advantage of growth opportunities. We look forward to working with other ports to develop similar projects.
Partnership and Prosperity
Partnership and prosperity are inextricably linked.
The transportation system has allowed us to connect widely-dispersed communities, unlock our wealth of natural resources and move people and goods across the country and around the world.
But like any system, it relies on many parts to function together.
That’s why partnership – the theme of this conference – is so important.
Partnership is fundamental to the kind of resiliency that Canada has demonstrated during the global recession.
Since introducing our Economic Action Plan in 2009, we have recovered more than all of the output and all of the jobs that were lost during the recession.
We have also created over 965,000 net new jobs and have demonstrated the strongest job growth among G-7 countries.
Partnership is also a key to Canada’s focus on growing international trade to support our recovery and future growth.
The globalization of markets and production is increasing the demand for Canada’s natural resources.
Maritime shipping plays an essential role in getting those resources to market and fuelling the economy.
Gateways and ports
Partnership is also the key principle of our National Policy Framework on Strategic Gateways and Trade Corridors.
This is our main blueprint guiding how our transportation hubs and networks move goods into and out of the country. It is helping us improve our efficiency and adapt to the needs of globalized supply chains.
The gateway and corridor model allows the federal government to work with the private sector, other governments and other nations to strengthen our transportation system and Canada's international trade links.
And it is a plan that we are backing with significant resources.
Since 2006, we have invested more than $2.7 billion in over 80 projects through the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative and the Gateways and Border Crossings Fund.
Let me mention a few projects that we are supporting.
Right here in Nanaimo last month, we announced a short sea shipping project to modernize the Assembly Wharf area and rehabilitate an aging dock. This project will benefit marine and land-based users by increasing efficiency and reducing congestion.
In Vancouver, there is the South Shore Corridor Project. One of its objectives is to separate road and rail traffic, and add new signage and technology. So beyond its transportation benefits, the project will enrich the lives of people in the surrounding community by improving traffic control and pedestrian access in the area.
The result will be a win-win: the port and connecting networks will gain more efficient transportation and trade; and nearby communities will get safer roads and economic spin-offs from the port.
At the Port of Montreal, we have made investments that will optimize its container-handling infrastructure and provide navigational aids to increase marine traffic in the St. Lawrence River Channel.
In Atlantic Canada, we are supporting the South End Terminal Expansion and Richmond Terminals Multipurpose Gateway Improvements at the Port of Halifax, as well as funding cruise terminal improvements at the Port of Saint John. We have also been working with CPAs in marketing the Atlantic Gateway at major trade shows in North America, South America and Europe.
Conclusion – where we go from here
Our partnership with the 18 Canada Port Authorities across the country has helped Canada to modernize our transportation system, strengthen marine safety, protect the environment and maintain social license.
But markets around the world evolve. We must stay one step ahead of these changes.
The demand for a reliable, efficient, safe, and environmentally responsible transportation system continues at a time when governments are balancing their books.
The transportation business has already demonstrated its ability to adapt to such challenges.
During the recession, the transportation industry re-thought its strategies and practices and became more competitive than ever.
So the challenge now is to continue this momentum.
This will mean finding new approaches and new opportunities, so in all sectors, we can continue our efforts to increase trade and strengthen the economy.
I am truly confident in the talent you bring to facing this challenge.
I look forward to working with you, our partners. Together we can strengthen our national ports, promote your services to the world and build our country’s economic future.
I wish all of you the best for a successful conference.
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