The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence waterway is a 3,700-km corridor that flows directly into the commercial, industrial, and agricultural heartland of North America.
The Port of Thunder Bay is the starting point of the seaway system, which travels southeast and connects to major centres such as Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City.
History has shown this natural connection to be a major factor in the growth of our regional economy, and it will continue to be a vital asset into the future.
However, the recent announcement of $24 million of federal support for the Port of Churchill (Manitoba) has brought to light the competitive challenges faced by the Port of Thunder Bay in its efforts to expand business.
The ongoing provision of taxpayers’ money to subsidize operations at the Port of Churchill presents a direct disincentive to the Port of Thunder Bay in attracting new business.
These effects are compounded further by the additional services that are provided at either minimal or no-cost to the Port of Churchill, such as rail infrastructure maintenance and ice-breaking.
It is certainly unfair that one port receives such significant government support while others, such as Thunder Bay, are forced to operate without comparable assistance.
I have contacted the minister of transport to express my frustration with this lack of equality and to ask for his intervention to address this issue.
The opportunities for the Port of Thunder Bay are immense and represent a significant positive impact to the growth of our regional economy.
I will continue my work to assist in any way possible to support economic development in Thunder Bay-Rainy River.