Speech Article from  Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Archived - Investing in Regional Diversification Funding Announcement – Stratford Economic Enterprise Development Corporation

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Speaking Points

Gary Schellenberger,
Member of Parliament for Perth–Wellington

Stratford, Ontario

July 2, 2015

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Good morning everyone. I'd like to welcome you here today.

One of the best parts of being an MP is seeing the great work done by organizations and businesses in my community. I'm truly honoured to be here today to make an announcement that will have a positive impact so close to home.

Through Economic Action Plan 2015, the Canadian government remains committed to supporting what matters to Canadians: job creation and prosperous communities.

That is why our Government has cut taxes for job-creating businesses; invested in research and development; expanded markets for Canadian businesses abroad; committed unprecedented support for job-creating infrastructure; and established the framework for the responsible development of our natural resources.

Transforming ideas into high value goods and services means more opportunities for businesses to develop and grow—creating jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity.

Through FedDev Ontario's Investing in Regional Diversification initiative, our Government is supporting the long-term development of stronger, more diverse economies in southern Ontario communities. What I like most about this initiative is that it leverages unique regional assets and local expertise to attract new investment and opportunities for economic growth and development.

Ladies and gentlemen, the creative economy here in Stratford provides us with a rich set of assets and expertise to draw upon and drive local economic growth.

In addition, the City of Stratford is a leader in technology adoption to nurture innovation.

The City has made vast technological investments in digital infrastructure. For example, the online “Freezone” provides visitors and residents with free Wi-Fi access to municipal and tourism sites, and economic development and hospital information, to name a few.

The City of Stratford is creating an accessible community that integrates the old with the new.

Take for example the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Just a few years ago, I was here on behalf of Minister Goodyear, to announce the Government of Canada's support for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival's Digital Book. This project brought together the traditional art of theatre performance with the emerging digital media industry in the region by using digital technology to create digital content that enabled the Stratford Shakespeare Festival to connect with new audiences.

This city has taken the essence of innovation and applied it to all aspects of life for residents and businesses in Stratford, from education to arts and culture, from small- and medium-sized businesses to international corporations.

And they're doing it again.

The City of Stratford is leveraging the region's existing cultural and digital industries and knowledgebase with the goal of creating a new film industry. A new film industry for the surrounding region means more jobs and a stronger, diversified economy that is creating a more prosperous community.

The contribution we are making today will help the Stratford Economic Enterprise Development Corporation, SEED Co. in collaboration with the Stratford Festival, to deliver a project that aligns with the City's aim to diversify its creative economy by growing the digital media sector.

There are many steps and many projects that will come together to make this endeavour a reality, and today I am here to announce our support for one such project.

SEED Co., in partnership with Melbar Entertainment Group and the Stratford Festival, is delivering the Stratford Festival HD project—a first of its kind in Canada. The Stratford Festival HD is a three-year project that will see the digitization of nine live theatre performances from the festival. This will be made available to national and international audiences via the internet, television and cinemas. The project will also include educational tools such as interactive games and quizzes developed and imagined by students at the University of Waterloo, specifically for the education market to be used as teaching aides for students.

New York's Metropolitan Opera has found incredible success with a similar project, aimed at diversifying its offerings and reaching new audiences.

Digitizing live performances means that you can experience the Stratford Festival both at home and away. It means that the Stratford Festival can take innovative steps to engage with new audiences.

So ladies and gentlemen, without further delay, I am pleased to announce that through FedDev Ontario, our Government is providing up to $3 million to SEED Co. to carry out the Stratford Festival HD project.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Harper, our Government is proud to support organizations such as SEED Co. who strive to create collaborative partnerships and deliver projects for local and regional economic prosperity. Given SEED Co.'s economic development mandate and its strong relationship with both the City of Stratford and the Stratford Festival, SEED Co. is uniquely positioned to leverage these relationships to successfully deliver the Stratford Festival HD project.

As Canada stands poised to turn 150 years old, the Government of Canada is taking steps to ensure Canada is taking full advantage of the opportunities of the digital age. Digital Canada 150 is our Government's plan to take full advantage of the digital economy as we celebrate our 150th anniversary in 2017. It encompasses initiatives that connect and protect Canadians, provide economic opportunities, and build on our Government's successful measures for a more connected Canada. This project in particular aligns with the Government of Canada's Digital Canada 150 strategy. It creates and makes accessible Canadian content that will allow us to celebrate and share our history, arts and culture with a global audience.

I look forward to seeing great results from the Stratford Economic Enterprise Development Corporation and partners of the Stratford Festival HD project.

Thank you.

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