Speaking notes for the Honourable Marc Garneau Minister of Transport – Gold-Headed Cane presentation Ceremony at the Port of Montreal
January 4, 2016
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Thank you for inviting me to join you at this long-standing ceremony here at the Port of Montreal.
I want to first congratulate Captain Jun Eric Aljo Dalipe and the crew of the Vigorous for earning the Gold-Headed Cane.
As a former Royal Canadian Navy officer, I know how important tradition is to marine activities.
I hope that this tradition, which began over 175 years ago, reminds us all of the fundamental role of marine transportation in the development of Montreal.
The Port of Montreal is at the heart of this city that many of us call home.
The importance of this port, which is connected to more than 140 other ports around the world, is summarized by its slogan: trading with the world.
I am proud to have been appointed Minster of Transport and I plan to maintain a good relationship with Canada’s marine transportation sector.
I’m well aware of the important role that marine transportation has always played for Canada and its economy.
More than 7 billion dollars a year in Canadian trade travels through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway.
Annually, the Seaway supports more than 100,000 jobs in Canada.
Ports along the St. Lawrence and in Eastern Canada are part of a marine sector that is growing and which will always play an important role in the economy of this region.
The Port of Montreal is the Seaway’s only container port.
It is also the second busiest port in Canada – after Vancouver – and the fifth busiest on the East Coast of North America.
Most of the ports along the St. Lawrence are not in direct competition with each other. Rather, they serve complementary functions within the region as a whole.
To maintain their importance in Montreal and the surrounding areas, ports must continue to find ways to improve and develop in the marine transportation market.
This is why the Port of Montreal is planning for new technologies to increase the efficiency and safety of its activities and improve its links to other modes of transportation.
The port has another project that I think is important: reducing its environmental footprint.
I know that last year, port representatives announced the installation of a shore power distribution system, which enables vessels to connect to the electrical system on land.
This will help vessels reduce their emissions, which will be beneficial for our planet in the years to come.
This system also aligns with the government’s commitment to investing in marine infrastructure while taking into account the surrounding areas to protect both the public and the marine environment.
I congratulate the Port for its importance in the past and for what, I am sure, will be a productive, safe and responsible future.
Thank you again for inviting me today.
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