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Speeches

National Bee Diagnostic Centre Grand Opening

September 05, 2012
Beaverlodge, Alberta

Speaking notes for

The Honourable Lynne Yelich
Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification

Funding Announcement

Check Against Delivery

Thank you Chris (Warkentin). [Member of Parliament for Peace River]. Good morning everyone. It is a pleasure to be here today in beautiful Northern Alberta!

To begin, I would like to acknowledge my fellow platform guests: Mr. Ross Sutherland, Deputy Reeve for the County of Grande Prairie; Ms. Marie Logan, Chair of the Rural Alberta Development Fund; Mr. Don Gnatiuk, President and CEO of Grande Prairie Regional College; Mr. Mike Paradis, Owner of Paradis Honey Ltd.; and Dr. Bruce Rutley, Director of the Centre for Research and Innovation at Grande Prairie Regional College.

Since Chris made the funding announcement for this project last October, I’ve been pleased to follow its continued development and progress. And I’m excited to have the opportunity to join all of you this morning here in Beaverlodge to celebrate the completion of this important facility.

But today’s milestone is about much more than just a new building. At its heart, the achievement we are commemorating today is truly a testament to the foresight and commitment of a wide range of contributors. From the leadership of Grande Prairie Regional College—which has played an invaluable role in spearheading this initiative and generating broad-based support…To the technicians, scientists and staff of this facility who will be on the front lines of serving western Canadian beekeeping businesses while promoting the health of honey bees… The opening of the National Bee Diagnostic Centre is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication—coupled with a collective vision and common purpose that is shared among the diverse representatives and organizations here with us today.

This Centre will fulfill a critical role in fostering the growth and competitiveness of beekeeping businesses throughout Western Canada. With the prairie provinces responsible for producing 80 per cent of Canada’s honey crop—and Alberta alone producing 40 per cent of the national output—there can be no better location for this new Centre than here in the heart of Canada’s beekeeping industry.

Whether it’s performing diagnostic services for businesses, detecting and diagnosing the health of honey bees, or determining how to prevent or reduce the loss of honey bees during the winter, this facility will be unique in its ability to focus specifically on the needs of beekeepers and offer a wide range of services and resources—all under one roof.

But the long-term impact of this initiative will ultimately extend far beyond this region or even Western Canada. For example, through their pollination of fruit, vegetables and canola, bees are estimated to help increase agricultural production by two to eight times, with an approximate value of $2 billion dollars annually.

So by taking this critical step towards nurturing a healthy and vibrant bee population, we are helping to generate significant and tangible economic outcomes for Canada’s agricultural sector. These are benefits that will support job creation, growth, and long-term prosperity in communities throughout the West.

Our Government is very proud to have invested in establishing the National Bee Diagnostic Centre. In addition, we are pleased to provide ongoing support for this initiative through the expertise and resources extended by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Beaverlodge Research Farm and the National Bee Management Research Program.

Through investments like this, we are working to ensure that western Canadian businesses have every chance to succeed. Our economic leadership will continue as we take targeted actions to support job creation and economic growth.

Economic Action Plan 2012 focuses on the drivers of growth and job creation—innovation, investment, education, skills and communities—underpinned by our commitment to keeping taxes low, and returning to budget balance over the medium term. And with a comprehensive and forward-looking agenda, Economic Action Plan 2012 will allow Canada to meet the challenges of an uncertain global economy and emerge from them stronger than ever.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to congratulate everyone involved in this initiative. I look forward to hearing about the positive outcomes that are realized as a result of this collaborative endeavour.

Together, we are building a stronger West for a stronger Canada.

Thank you.