Freeland on keeping Alberta’s trucking industry strong 

eAwaz Canada News

Alberta –

I first want to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in southern Alberta. The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.

I am so glad to be here today in Calgary, and really glad to be here at Bison.

My first visit to Bison in Winnipeg in 2018 is one that was very important to me and one I remember very clearly. I went there because we were in the midst of the NAFTA negotiations. Throughout those negotiations it was really important for me, for us, to have a “Team Canada” approach and to talk to Canadian businesses—especially the Canadian businesses for whom cross-border trade was really important. And so, it made a lot of sense to go to Bison.

And what I remember the most from that visit was the people at Bison talking to me about how their drivers were just as diverse as Canada is. And how their drivers were facing real challenges at the Canada-US border, of a kind that they hadn’t faced in the past.

And it was important for me to know about that. I raised it directly with US officials. And it also said something really meaningful about this company and about the care you have for each other, and for the safety of everybody here.

The work being done here—whether it’s by the operations team, the mechanics, or the truckers, and it was also great to meet a woman trucker today—is the work that keeps our economy moving, that keeps our shelves stocked.

During COVID we had an important lesson in this country as to the work that is truly essential. And the work that is truly essential is done by health care workers, by people who work in grocery stores, and it is absolutely done by truckers. I am glad to recognize that today and to say to all of you: thank you very much.

Businesses like this one drive our economy. And I think that Canadians have learned to appreciate them even more over the past two years.

As we’ve seen through the pandemic and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the past two years have shown us how important it is to have stable and predictable supply chains.

Now, Canada’s economy has made a remarkable recovery from the COVID recession, thanks to the hard work of people like the ones who are here today.

Our real GDP is 2.3 per cent higher than it was when COVID first hit. Our unemployment rate, at 4.9 per cent, is the lowest it has been since 1976, when we first started tracking comparable data.

Even as we deal with the very real challenges that the global economy is facing right now—elevated inflation, interest rates that are going up—it is important for us to take real comfort in the reality that Canada has a very strong economic foundation as we face these global challenges.

Over the past week, I’ve been meeting with workers, business leaders, and mayors across western Canada.

The next few years are a tremendous opportunity for us to continue investing in this incredible part of our country, and to help create even more good paying jobs for people in western Canada—for people here in Alberta.

We know that maintaining strong, reliable supply chains is essential to our ability to do that. Continuing to invest in our national trade corridors is essential in our ability to do that.

Businesses need to know that they can count on getting the goods they need, when they need them—and it was great to meet some of the dispatchers and customer service people here who are in charge of precisely that. And businesses need to know that they can reliably ship their products across the country, across North America, and around the world.

And that is why for our government—for me—being in close contact with the trucking industry is so important, especially now as the global economy is recovering from the COVID recession, from lockdowns, and from supply chain snarls.

We fought very hard to protect NAFTA and Canada’s trading relationship with the United States. And that is a relationship that absolutely depends on you. It depends on truckers moving goods across the border at all hours of the day and no matter what the weather.

We really believe in helping great Canadian businesses like this one continue to hire and grow by making it easier for you to attract skilled workers from across the country and around the world.

By working together—the federal government, the provincial government, municipalities, workers, and businesses across Alberta—we can make sure that Alberta’s economy continues to grow and continues to create even more good, middle class jobs.

I am really proud to have been born and raised in Alberta.

And I want the great people I have met here—and across the province—to know that our government will continue to be a partner for Alberta and the remarkable workers and businesses in this province.

Thank you very much.