lisa raitt and jean d'Amour

This automn, PortInfo interviewed ministers of both governments, federal and provincial,
Mrs Lisa Raitt, Federal Minister of Transport, and
Mr. Jean D'Amour, Provincial Minister of Transport and Implementation of the Maritime Strategy


Mrs. Lisa Raitt, Federal Minister of Transport

lisa raitt

In recent weeks, we had a chance to talk with the Federal Minister of Transport, Mrs. Lisa Raitt. She took the opportunity to tell us about the review of the Canada Transportation Act. 

You are about to conduct a statutory review of the Canada Transportation Act. What are the main objectives of this review?

On June 25, 2014, an arm’s length review of the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) was launched. The CTA review is an opportunity to examine our legislation and policy frameworks, to ensure they are up to date and contain the right measures for modern times.  It will look at how we can ensure that the national network has the capacity and is nimble enough to meet medium and long-term demands. The Review provides a unique opportunity to consider how the national transportation system can best be leveraged to enhance competiveness support Canada’s continuing economic growth.

With respect to ports, the CTA Review will provide an opportunity to examine the governance and service delivery models for Canada Port Authorities and identify how they can be improved. Ports, together with stakeholders, and the CTA panel will develop ways that we can work together to address these matters and help Canada map out its transportation plans for the future.

You have appointed an experienced panel for this important exercise. What are their functions and schedules? And how can marine industry stakeholders contribute to this extensive consultation procedure?

Acting under the authority granted to the Minister of Transport by the Act, I appointed the Honourable David Emerson to lead the review based on his broad experience as an executive in the private sector, as well as his recent experience in leading the Aerospace Review.  

I also appointed five advisors who will provide the broad range of specific expertise necessary to assist the Chair in his conduct of this comprehensive review.

The Review will be supported by a dedicated Secretariat drawn from Transport Canada and other federal departments. Engagement and advice from all interested parties will be essential to the Review’s success.

The Review is being guided by specific terms of reference provided by the Minister of Transport.  You can see the terms of reference on our website.

On September 22, 2014, the Chair of the CTA Review extended an invitation for interested persons to review the discussion paper on the CTA Review website at www.tc.gc.ca/eng/ctareview2014/discussion-paper.html#conclusion and those interested are encouraged to provide submissions to the CTA Review Secretariat before December 30, 2014.

Interested parties can contact the Secretariat at:

350 Albert Street, Suite 330
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N5
(613) 998-8405

How can the Port of Montreal and its partners in the Montreal logistics chain contribute more to the economic development of their region and of Canada?

The St. Lawrence Channel and Seaway system is a key factor in the federal government’s Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway Strategy. This strategy promotes an integrated transportation system that connects all modes of transportation in the Ontario-Quebec region, in order to build an efficient transportation system that will support our international trade agenda.

The importance of the Channel and the Seaway system to North American markets can’t be overstated. Within a day by road or rail, goods have access to approximately 135 million North American consumers. More than half of Canadian exports and close to three-quarters of our imports move through this region.

For Canada to maintain its competitive advantage, the Channel and the Seaway, as the entire Ontario-Quebec corridor must respond to the evolving needs of shippers and trade in the 21st century. To help meet these evolving needs, our Government has pledged over 4 billion dollars to transportation projects in Ontario and Quebec that support Canada’s international trade agenda.

In Quebec, we have made investments to improve or modernize ports in Sept-Îles, Saguenay, Montreal, Trois-Rivières and Québec. Supporting the development of these ports and the transportation networks that connect to them is a sound investment, based on the growth in this region’s marine transportation sector.

Ports are integral to our economic growth and prosperity, be it at the local level, creating jobs through infrastructure improvements that help to expand the trade and business opportunities at the port, or at the national level, as strong, vibrant, efficient ports attract new business and help to promote exports of Canadian goods. The power of collaboration, engagement and public-private partnerships is very important to achieve a common goal.

Our Government is extremely proud of our aggressive trade agenda, one that I believe the Port of Montreal and logistics partners can benefit from directly. Once brought into force, the Canada-European Union: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will be by far Canada’s most ambitious trade initiative, broader in scope and deeper in ambition than the historic North American Free Trade Agreement. It will open new markets to our exporters throughout the EU and generate significant benefits for all Canadians. The agreement could significantly increase trans-Atlantic trade, benefiting ports across Eastern Canada.

As well, Montreal, the leading container port in Eastern Canada, already has strong trade connections to Europe. Given the location of the St. Lawrence - Great Lakes Corridor, ports in this region will become increasingly attractive, not only for shippers to reach Canada, but to reach destinations throughout North America.

How do you see the future of marine transportation in the coming years? And how do you see Canadian marine transportation evolving on the international chess board?

The government must respond to global change and ensure our transportation networks can meet global demands. We must anticipate markets for Canadian businesses and products and make sure they are open to Canadians. To this end, our Government has concluded free trade agreements with 10 countries in less than seven years, and is negotiating with 30 more. In addition to the Canada-EU trade agreement, we’ve also agreed upon a Canada-Korea trade pact, the first such agreement in the Asia-Pacific region.

To pursue our ambitious trade agenda, we are supporting these agreements with transportation initiatives here in Canada (For example: Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, Strategic infrastructure investments, Atlantic Gateway and Trade Corridor).

These initiatives demonstrate our resolve to pursue this trade agenda by strengthening marine transportation and the networks that feed it. We are investing in long-term structures as simple as overpasses at ports to facilitate movement of goods and people in all modes.

At the heart of these plans is the will to create the right conditions for an efficient, competitive and sustainable transportation system to move Canadians and Canadian products. We will continue to support the important role that ports play in this system.

Thank you very much, Minister.


Mr. Jean D'Amour, Provincial Minister of Transport and Implementation
of the Maritime Strategy

Jean D'Amour

Before the election, the current MNA for Rivière-du-Loup, Jean D’Amour, led the team that drafted the Maritime Strategy at the request of Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard. Minister D’Amour has kindly agreed to meet PortInfo to discuss the Quebec government’s Maritime Strategy.

Minister D’Amour, first of all, thank you for granting us this interview. The Montreal Port Authority and the readership of this e-newsletter, PortInfo, are confident that your government’s Maritime Strategy is a trump card that will contribute to Quebec’s economic development. Would you share with us the vision behind this strategy?

I am delighted to speak to you and address your readers from the marine industry. The vision of the Quebec government’s Maritime Strategy is first and foremost an economic vision.

Together, the Maritime Strategy and the Plan Nord form the two key challenges of economic development, along with job consolidation and job creation. We take a concerted approach. Ultimately, the Maritime Strategy will be the result of broad consultation. In recent months, I made the rounds of all actors in the marine transportation industry. All were invited to be heard. All were called upon: not only the ports, but also this industry’s institutions and organizations as well as economic stakeholders such as local development centres, the CLDs. 

The Maritime Strategy is backed by a vision that spans 15 years, which is to say, until 2030.

What are the main stages in implementing the Maritime Strategy?

The new free trade agreement with Europe is a golden opportunity that opens a world of possibilities. We must be ready.

The consultation period ended on September 15th. We made a simplifying effort and regrouped the 11 pillars of the Strategy so we could narrow them down to five. We are currently doing preparatory work for the upcoming budget.  

Our readership is large and diverse:  importers, exporters and international shipowners. What message would you like to get across to them about the importance and vitality of the marine industry in Quebec?

I come from the Lower St. Lawrence region, I was mayor of Rivière-du-Loup, and I can tell you that the river is important for all regions of Quebec, large and small. The St. Lawrence River is a tremendous blue highway that connects us to the world, that opens us and connects us internationally, and we fully intend to invest in it like any other transportation infrastructure. We’ve always been a bit timid in this area. Now it’s time to go as far as possible, and be up front and open about it. Time to take action to maximize the importance and vitality of the marine industry. As I mentioned earlier, the Maritime Strategy we want to deploy will extend over a 15-year horizon, i.e. until 2030. That’s the “long-term” commitment that we are taking on behalf of the maritime industry in Quebec.

You recently visited the Port of Montreal. What role do you foresee for the Port of Montreal in the development of the Maritime Strategy?

That’s right, I recently visited the Port of Montreal and I spoke at length with its CEO, Sylvie Vachon, a very dynamic person. She explained to me the Port’s development plans for its land in Contrecoeur. Because of its importance, the Port of Montreal is obviously at the heart of the Strategy due to its strategic positioning, its location, its infrastructure and its great vitality. It is a hub, a major player. It will have a large role to play in the Maritime Strategy.  

Thank you very much, Minister.