Nanaimo-Ladysmith Liberal candidate Michelle Corfield, federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau and volunteers make calls Wednesday night at Corfield’s campaign office. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Liberals say Nanaimo’s port important to economic diversification

Transport Minister Marc Garneau campaigned in Nanaimo-Ladysmith on Wednesday

A nationwide review of all Canada’s ports is meant to modernize, not interfere, said the federal transport minister.

Marc Garneau was in Nanaimo on Wednesday night campaigning with Nanaimo-Ladysmith Liberal candidate Michelle Corfield and the minister said the ports modernization review will bring “possible changes to governance and other factors” but won’t take away the autonomy that port authorities have.

“It’s not something where we’re going to say, ‘we’re going to change this port this way,’” Garneau said. “What we’re looking for are changes and modernization that will apply to all 18 port authorities across the country.”

He said while there’s some federal government oversight, ports “basically chart their own course” while growing in ways compatible with communities and for the betterment of local economies.

“We encourage them to develop in the areas where they can create business for the port where they can help the local economy, and I think Nanaimo is an example of a very active port authority that’s doing good things,” Garneau said.

He suggested that the federal government is a willing partner in helping ports realize opportunities, and he pointed to the vehicle processing plant that recently began operations on Nanaimo’s assembly wharf.

“This is a need that has been filled by Nanaimo and it’s because of their initiative and their decision to look at how the government could help, and to apply for it, and to receive that help,” said Garneau. “That help is because it creates jobs, it creates long-term stability for the port. so we’re very open to that.”

RELATED: Transport Canada will review all port authorities, including Nanaimo’s

RELATED: Nanaimo’s vehicle processing centre officially opens

Corfield is Port of Nanaimo chairwoman, but has stepped aside from that role for the byelection campaign. She said the Liberal government worked well with ports, pointing to environmental assessments, fisheries modernization and renewal of the Transportation Act and Navigable Waters Protection Act.

“All of those things help us understand where the government’s going nationally, to enable us to create strategic plans and ultimately business plans and develop businesses that are meaningful to the local economy while matching a national interest,” Corfield said.

She sees potential for “extreme growth” in economic diversification in Nanaimo-Ladysmith and some of that can happen at the port, she said, with short-sea shipping and generally diversifying marine traffic.

story continues below

“There are always opportunities when you’re looking for them and … certain markets change, so you’re looking for new opportunities,” Garneau said.

He pointed to the $2-billion national trade corridors fund for infrastructure, which he said will improve the movement of goods. Removing bottlenecks is necessary to ensure opportunities and participation in trade with foreign markets, said Garneau.

“If we don’t, they’re going to be looking somewhere else,” the minister said. “We’ve got to have an efficient transportation system and I think we’re well on our way – in the second-biggest country on Earth, which is not an easy challenge – but I think we’re well on our way to improving our trade corridors so that we can get those goods out of our ports to foreign markets in a reliable and efficient way.”

The Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection is May 6. Candidates include Corfield; Bob Chamberlin, NDP; John Hirst, Conservatives; Paul Manly, Greens; Jennifer Clarke, People’s Party of Canada; Brian Marlatt, Progressive Canadian Party; and Jakob Letkemann, National Citizens Alliance.

Advance voting will be April 26-29. For more information on how and where to vote, click here.

RELATED: Candidates face questions on Nanaimo doorsteps about supportive housing and crime

RELATED: Health minister talks opioid crisis in campaign stop in Nanaimo

RELATED: Fisheries and oceans minister spends Earth Day in Nanaimo

RELATED: Climate action can’t be a partisan issue, say Greens

RELATED: PPC leader Bernier works to build party’s profile in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

RELATED: NDP say affordable housing ‘fundamental’ to their campaign

RELATED: Scheer rallies Conservatives in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

RELATED: Prime Minister Trudeau comes campaigning in Nanaimo

RELATED: NDP leader comes to town to launch campaign in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

RELATED: Greens see climate as central issue in Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith NDP candidate officially opens office, talks reconciliation

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates will critique budget on byelection campaign trail

RELATED: Candidates hit the campaign trail as Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection called

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Police ask for tips about suspects who allegedly stole from Nanaimo furniture store

RCMP release images from surveillance footage following theft from The Brick

V.I. Raiders build ‘team environment’ at main camp

Nanaimo-based junior football team held camp this past weekend in Parksville

B.C. Ferries crew member’s medical emergency causes cancellations

One sailing from Horseshoe Bay and one sailing from Departure Bay cancelled Monday

Nanaimo Highland dancers ‘reel’ successful at nationals

Brigadoon dancers competed in Moncton, N.B., earlier this month

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Protection from spills falls short

Letter writer can’t imagine bringing bitumen to our ‘salmon sea’

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Nanaimo tubber sets all-time record at bathtub race

Justin Lofstrom completes course in fastest-ever time

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Police ask for help locating missing men last seen in South Surrey

Jeep that Richard Scurr and Ryan Provencher were in has been located unoccupied in Logan Lake: RCMP

Islanders have new cancer screening option with $6.5 M diagnostic suite in Victoria

The Gordon Heys Family PET/CT Suite was unveiled at the BC Cancer Centre-Victoria

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Surrey court clerk files human rights complaint related to concussion

Deborah A. Ryane claims her employer discriminated against her on basis of mental disability

Most Read