During the 2015 campaign, I went door-to-door in Thunder Bay—Rainy River to hear directly from you about your priorities for our community. One thing I heard over and over was the need to invest in local infrastructure. Infrastructure is the bedrock of strong communities, and it has the power to revitalize, strengthen, and improve the everyday lives of all Canadians. That’s why the Liberal Party platform committed to double investment in infrastructure across the country in order to support economic growth and make our communities stronger, greener and more inclusive. It’s also why I campaigned on a promise to work hard to deliver the infrastructure Thunder Bay—Rainy River needs to ensure our community remains one of the best places in the country to live, work and raise a family.
Our government is delivering on our infrastructure commitments through our $186 billion Investing in Canada plan. Recognizing that modern infrastructure is much more than roads and bridges, our plan also makes historic investments in affordable housing, public transit, cultural spaces, and green and disaster mitigation infrastructure.
It was great to spend last week in the western part of Thunder Bay—Rainy River touring infrastructure projects such as these, and promoting Infrastructure week. I went to visit the Norbord OSB Mill in Barwick to discuss economic development and the importance of taking care of the environment. I heard directly from workers about their role and leadership in growing the economy of our region. I toured the facility, and learned more about the work they are doing, and their partnerships with Indigenous communities in the region, like Manitou Forest Products in Emo. Their work in our region has created more than 600 well-paying jobs, and they are an example of a company that has worked hard to build a positive trading relationship with companies in the United States.
I also went to tour New Gold in Rainy River District. I was so impressed with all of the work they have done in the past year and the quality of the infrastructure they have built. 25% of the mine`s employees are Indigenous, and they offer high quality training to their employees in order to ensure that our region is home to highly skilled workers.
May 17 was the grand opening of Rainy Lake Square in Fort Frances. A $655,000 FedNor investment for the town of Fort Frances made it possible to build this outstanding social space that will support sustainable economic and business development, as well as tourism in the city. The Government of Canada is committed to helping small businesses become more competitive and successful. This square will bring new business and vendors to the area in a space everyone in the town can enjoy. This community hub will provide a unique safe space for people to come together to enjoy live entertainment as well as support local business owners. Our government is proud to support this initiative that complements and supports Fort Frances’ buy local and eat local movement. In addition, the square will draw more visitors to the downtown area which will improve foot traffic for existing businesses. It is an all-around win for the community!
As you may be aware, our government recently signed a long-term agreement with the Government of Ontario for the next ten years of infrastructure funding. Through this agreement, more than $11 billion will be invested in green infrastructure, community, cultural and recreational infrastructure, and in designated support for rural and northern communities.
By making smart investments in the infrastructure Thunder Bay—Rainy River wants and needs, our government is helping to build strong foundations for economic growth, creating good, middle-class jobs and ensuring our community is a place where everyone has access to the opportunities they need to thrive. I look forward to continuing to work with other local leaders to support projects that will make a real difference in our community.