By Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, MP for Edmonton Millwoods
On July 18th, 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed me Minister of Natural Resources. This sector is a source of tens of thousands of good,middle class jobs for Canadians from coast to coast to coast and I am grateful to have been given this responsibility. I look forward to working on this important file and making sure that we develop our natural resources in a responsible manner while ensuring we find new export markets – we need to ensure we’re getting the best price for Canadian resources. Together with industry partners and Canadians, I believe we can build a cleaner, greener Canada.
When I was initially appointed as Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, I was reminded of the importance of being locally focused. A new bridge does not just connect two sides of a waterway; it connects communities and brings people together. I like to think of my work there as symbolic of the work our government is doing in so many places – bringing people, communities and ideas together.
I was particularly proud that our government delivered on its commitment to double federal infrastructure investments. We developed a program that responded to the needs of towns and cities, provinces and Indigenous communities. We made the effort to consult extensively on local priorities. Our plan is making a real difference in communities across Canada, helping build the infrastructure that Canadians need to live happy and healthy lives.
All told, I personally approved over 4,100 infrastructure projects with a combined investment of over $39 billion dollars. What do these numbers mean to Canadians? Better transit systems that help people get to work, greener buildings, cleaner drinking water, and modern recreational facilities for families.
It was a great privilege to work with municipal, provincial and territorial leaders to implement our Investing in Canada Infrastructure plan. As a former City Councillor and bus driver, I saw first-hand the impacts of our investments in local public transit to build stronger communities for Canadians. It really was my life coming full-circle. My wife Sarbjeet often joked, I went from paying for the bus, to driving the bus, to paying for the bus again!
We put a major focus on innovation, with a focus on evidence-based policy and data. In the coming weeks, we will see the results of a survey program we developed with Statistics Canada called the Core Public Infrastructure Initiative that will give us much needed data on the state of infrastructure in this country. We also successfully launched the Smart Cities Challenge, which encourages communities to collaborate with the private sector and civil society and use technology to solve our biggest infrastructure challenges.
We launched the Canada Infrastructure Bank, which will marry public interest and private sector capital to build projects where it makes sense. It will also free up public resources to fund important projects that Canadians need.
Another highlight was witnessing the amazing progress on the Champlain Bridge in Montreal. Once completed, the Champlain Bridge will provide a safe and reliable connection between Montreal and the South Shore that will benefit tens of thousands of commuters. Finally, I am incredibly proud of one of our last achievements: breaking ground on the Gordie Howe International Bridge in Windsor, a crossing that will increase trade between Canada and the United States by easing congestion at our busiest land border crossing.
I am grateful for the incredible team at Infrastructure Canada; together we laid the foundation for a better country.
As I look ahead in my new role, I am excited by the challenges and opportunities in front of us. Canada’s Natural Resources sector is one of the most innovative and vibrant of our economy. It creates thousands of good, well-paying middle class jobs and is a source of pride for many Canadians, particularly in Alberta.
Together, we will lead the way towards a cleaner, more prosperous economy where Canada reaffirms its place as a global leader in the natural resources sector.