STRATFORD, ON, Jan. 27 /CNW/ - Statement from the Chair of the Southwest
Economic Alliance (SWEA), Stratford mayor Dan Mathieson, in response to
today's federal budget. The Alliance represents business, industry,
universities and colleges, municipalities and government organizations in
"Today's budget is good news for Southwest Ontario. It is good news for
our communities, for our citizens and for our economy.
Southwest Ontario is at the centre of $750 billion a year in trade with
the United States. We have 2.5 million people and almost 25 per cent of
Ontario's jobs, and yet we have faced some serious challenges - the U.S.
economic slowdown, an aging border and transportation infrastructure, and a
faltering auto sector - without a coordinated national response.
Today's announcement of the creation of an economic development agency -
something our region has been pushing for years - means that our voice has
been heard. This means coordinated strategies can be developed that not only
focus on our problems but more importantly, leverage our strengths: our
universities and colleges, our skilled work force and our entrepreneurial
Alone, this announcement would not have been enough to move our region
back on the path to prosperity. But the budget's focus on infrastructure and
job creation, its focus on growing the capacity of our colleges and
universities, and its focus on retraining mean that it contains a series of
measures that go to the heart of some of the more urgent needs and
opportunities we face.
A few weeks ago I was in Ottawa meeting with members of Parliament and
officials, making the case on behalf of our region.
We put on the table our priorities: an economic development agency to
drive economic growth and modernization; accelerated investments in our
infrastructure to create jobs and lay the foundations for a more competitive
economy; and investments in skills so that we would retrain to retain our
Today I can say that the government has delivered. But it is the first
step. Tomorrow we must begin the work of putting all of these pieces together
so that we can bring economic security and prosperity back to our region. SWEA
is ready to sit down with the federal and provincial government to begin this
For further information:
For further information: Massimo Bergamini, Interchange Public Affairs,
(613) 290-5317 or firstname.lastname@example.org