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Speeches

Western Canadian Shipbuilding Summit

May 23, 2012
Vancouver, British Columbia

Notes for an address by

The Honourable Lynne Yelich
Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification

Opening Remarks for the Western Canadian Shipbuilding Summit

Corresponding Document: News Release

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Thank you Andrew for the lovely introduction!

Good morning everyone.

I am very pleased to be here today on behalf of the Government of Canada, along with my colleague, Parliamentary Secretary Andrew Saxton, who is also the Member of Parliament for North Vancouver.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Seaspan and Irving for joining us today to meet with Canadian companies and let them know what opportunities exist, in British Columbia, across the West and throughout Canada.

I’d also like to offer my thanks to all of you for coming out today to investigate growth opportunities for your companies.

Our Government’s National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy has been important and welcomed news for western Canadians.

Today is evidence of that.

We have nearly 360 companies represented here today.

And I am extremely excited that over 320 of those companies have offices or are based in Western Canada.

But there are opportunities here for all of Canada.

In this room we have representatives from sea to sea to sea. All of you interested in shipbuilding opportunities and creating jobs for Canadians.

Your response has been overwhelming.

Originally this was planned as a much smaller event. But as the registrations continued to come in, we quickly realized we needed to think bigger, and we did.

I have received correspondence from a carpet manufacturer that has been providing the Canadian Navy with wool carpet for 20 years, another from a company that does spray foam and coatings, and yet another that handles gaskets, pipe connectors and valves…

It is clear… As Andrew mentioned… The opportunities are endless!

When I look out at this full crowd, I can’t help but be excited for Western Canada. For the opportunities that await us as a region.

However, whether you have joined us from Victoria, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, or further still, I assure you, you have travelled here to the beautiful city of Vancouver for good reason.

Today’s event is All Hands on Deck to ensure you leave with the information you need to compete for opportunities in shipbuilding.

My goal today is simple. I want to set you up for success!

Everyone here today should take away at least two things:

  1. First, you should leave this room with your own checklist of what you need to do to take advantage of these opportunities.
  2. Second, I want you to leave with a network of contacts that will help you navigate the process ahead.

Whether your business focuses on design, fabrication, or coatings, it is clear that Canadian expertise has a role to play in building the next generation of the equipment our men and women in uniform need to do their jobs.

As mentioned earlier, after a rigorous, independent process – free from politics – our Government announced the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy just less than two years ago. Seaspan and Irving were selected – a BC shipyard won this significant contract on merit.

This strategy will generate thousands of jobs and significant economic benefits in shipbuilding and related industries across Canada.

Many of you in this room may have the chance to capitalize on opportunities available through the strategy by offering your specialized expertise, skilled labour and products.

For me, as Minister of Western Economic Diversification, it is imperative that Western Canada is positioned to reap the benefits.

Shipbuilding is an important industry in Western Canada, and it is equally important that businesses are aware of the opportunities that are available.

… and my department will continue to ensure western Canadian companies know how to take advantage of key business prospects.

To help make this happen, I announced Western Canada’s Shipbuilding Action Plan in February.

Today is just one part of our overall plan. Today is not a one-day, one-shot deal.
As part of our Action Plan, my department is also busy:

  • Coordinating Shipbuilding Bootcamps across Western Canada that will help businesses like you navigate federal procurement processes.
  • Planning supplier development tours that will showcase Western Canada’s shipbuilding capabilities and link western businesses to the key decision makers.
  • Making strategic investments that further develop and grow Western Canada’s shipbuilding industry; and,
  • Advocating as the champion for Western Canada’s shipbuilding industry to promote its strengths and ensure its long-term competitiveness.

As you know, this past October, Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards and Irving Shipyards were selected to construct the non-combat and combat work packages respectively under the Strategy.

Today, you will get previews of those opportunities from Brian Carter, President of Seaspan Shipyards and Adam Spence, Director of Supply Chain at Irving Shipyards.

You will also hear from several different organizations that have the information you need to succeed.

Our Government is committed to ensuring that Canadian companies succeed in today’s competitive global environment…

As we move forward, the number-one priority of our Government is creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity….

Our shipbuilding strategy is doing just that.

As the Prime Minister has said, when you see the fine ships you’ve built carrying Canada’s flag to the ends of the earth, you will be glad that you had a part in doing it.

I want to thank you all for your participation today, and extend my congratulations to everyone who has worked to make this event a reality.

Together, we are working to build a stronger West for a stronger Canada.

Thank you.
Merci.