Thank you very much.
Thank you for that warm welcome.
Good day, everyone.
Greetings to all of mycolleagues.
Thank you, Minister Glover,Shelly, for your kind introduction.
Greetings to everyone, toMinister Candice Bergen, Joy Smith, Bob Sopuck, James Bezan, Joyce Bateman, RodBruinooge, Lawrence Toet, all of my colleagues, Steven Fletcher.
Also to our distinguished guests,to Premier Selinger of Manitoba, I’m delighted you could be here, to MayorKatz, of Winnipeg, Diane Gray, President and CEO of CentrePort, and Rick Suche,President of Fort Garry Fire Trucks, who are our hosts.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll bebrief.
As you know economic growth andjob creation remain our Government’s number-one priority.
And to build prosperity at homeour Government has worked extremely hard to develop Canada’s trade linksabroad.
In particular we’ve expandedCanada’s network of free-trade agreements.
This has been a huge effort butit has been well worth it and the results are dramatic.
When our Government came tooffice Canada had free trade agreements with just five countries.
Last month we reached anagreement in principle on a wide ranging trade deal with the European Union.
And I want to thank you, Premier,for your government’s support for this agreement.
Once this agreement is ratifiedCanada will have free-trade agreements with 42 countries.
And as a result Canadian businesswill have privileged access to markets representing more than half the globaleconomy.
Indeed Canada will find itselfuniquely positioned as common ground between Europe and North America.
Well, trade between the EuropeanUnion, the United States and Mexico remains subject to tariffs Canadians willhave preferential largely tariff free access to all of them.
Thanks to NAFTA and free tradewith Europe, Canada is open for business on two continents.
And this will help make us apreferred destination for investment.
It is a unique and a massivecompetitive advantage for this country.
However for hard working Canadianfamilies to realize the full benefit of this opportunity that our Governmenthas created it’s imperative that goods be able to move easily.
This means more than justremoving bottlenecks.
First it means building up ourports including inland ports such as CentrePort that allow easy transshipmentof freight between rail, road and air.
Originally conceived as part ofCanada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway strategy, CentrePort will also serve the growingEuropean commerce that our free trade deal will make possible.
CentrePort brings together threemajor railway lines, a trucking hub and an international airport and in aCanadian first, it does all this within a federal foreign trade zone.
This offers a custom bondedwarehouse, reduced red tape and it facilitates duty and sales tax relief.
These CentrePort facilities arealso connected to CentrePort Canada Way, a highway link to the rest of thecontinent that our Government has invested in in partnership with thegovernment of Manitoba.
For ease of transshipment thisbrand, new four-lane divided highway runs immediately beside where the commonuse rail facility will be built.
It also allows Centreport toexpand in the future as it links previously inaccessible lands to the rest ofthe development.
But above all this fast road tofortune will allow truckers to reach the desired industry standard of fiveminutes to 55 miles per hour.
No traffic jam coming out of thegate.
Thus without further ado, let’smake it official.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m verypleased to announce that CentrePort Canada Way is now officially open.
Now, friends, Premier, and Diane,after a ribbon cutting like that, I feel we should be maybe playing the PaulBrandt song, Convoy.
At least that’s what I wasthinking as my teeth were chattering.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like toclose with this.
Winnipeg is in the middle ofCanada.
And now with our new free-tradelinkages Canada is now in the middle of the global economy of half of theworld’s economy.
Clearly the opening of CentrePortCanada Way is a major milestone for this inland port.
Investment in this expresswayseeks to create more opportunities for Canada when it comes to internationaltrade.
It seeks to help Canadians fromacross this land to capitalize on global market opportunities by enabling themto ship their goods from a modern, efficient terminal
here in Winnipeg.
By supporting both the highwayand the inland port our Government is leveraging Winnipeg’s location and assetsto great jobs and prosperity here in Manitoba and ultimately across thecountry.
And please, everyone, let’s thankboth our hosts today, CentrePort earlier and our hosts here at Fort Garry FireTrucks for all their cooperation and hospitality.
It’s a great organization.
So what we are seeing here todayreally is a great encouragement.
It should remind all of us thatfor Manitoba and for Canada, big things are on the way.
Thank you very much.