OTTAWA ? Jay Hill, Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River and Official Opposition House Leader, said today he won?t let Prime Minister Paul Martin forget his pledge made at the Liberal convention on Sunday to support re-development at the Port of Prince Rupert.
?It might be just another empty spur-of-the-moment remark to impress Liberal delegates or another hollow attempt to ?woo the West?,? said Hill, ?But now that he?s said it, I?m not going to let Paul Martin forget his promise to improve and expand the Port of Prince Rupert, as well as the highways and rail lines leading to it!?
The Prime Minister committed at the convention to support BC ports and transportation, even if it means the province must receive a disproportionate share of federal infrastructure money. In conjunction with mayors and businesses across northern BC and as far away as Ontario, Hill has been urging the federal government to support plans to re-develop the Port of Prince Rupert. Industry and commerce in Prince George-Peace River are keen to access the expanded port to facilitate mining, oil and gas, forestry and agricultural exports.
?In the short-term, firmly establishing the Port of Prince Rupert as a critical trade conduit is necessary to relieve overall transportation congestion in Western Canada,? Hill stressed. ?In the long-term, a world-class port in Prince Rupert, which is 30 hours closer to Asian markets, will significantly boost exports and the BC and Canadian economies.?
Last November during Question Period in the House of Commons, Hill was also able to extract a commitment from Transport Minister Jean Lapierre to support the future of the port. Lapierre has now said the federal government will introduce legislation to allow federal investment in ports, including $40-million towards the container port at Prince Rupert.
Hill concluded, ?Given the string of broken promises, delay and dithering by the Martin Liberals, I?ll be pleasantly surprised to see them follow through and support our west coast ports. In the meantime, I?ll continue to raise this issue on behalf of my constituents and BC.?