SWEA economic summit supports "strategic and effective investment" in
Southwest Ontario

LONDON, ON, Feb. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - The following is a statement by Serge Lavoie, President of the Southwest Economic Alliance (SWEA), following the group's economic development summit today in London, Ont.

"Today's presentation by the Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management at the Ivey School of Business provided important insights and information that will help us think strategically about regional economic development and how we can coordinate our efforts to move forward together.

This study represents the first time that the diverse perspectives of economic development agencies and professionals from across the region have been analyzed with an eye to identifying common themes and areas of strategic convergence.

The creation of FedDev last year by the federal government was a critical step in developing a new vision and a new way forward for our region. The creation of the agency supports the longstanding economic development efforts of the Government of Ontario.

Our meeting today is the start of a dialogue that will feed into the efforts of both the federal and provincial governments. This study along with the fruit of our discussions today will provide fresh perspectives and ideas for them to consider as they work with their regional partners to deliver strategic direction and investments.

Southwest Ontario is a dynamic and diverse region with a bright future. This economic diversity has served it well through the economic downturn and will serve it well through the recovery.

SWEA's role is to help shape that future by bringing together people and organizations to forge a common understanding of the region's economic challenges and opportunities. From that we hope to develop a more strategic approach to supporting regional economic development.

As the presentation showed, a common thread runs through all the economic development plans in the region: the elements of the new economy are there; what is needed are strategic investments and a supportive policy framework.

Today's discussions will also inform our Feb. 17 pre-budget conference call with Southwest Ontario's 22 Members of Parliament. When inviting the MPs to this briefing, SWEA's chair, Mayor Dan Mathieson, stressed the importance of developing a common understanding of the economic development needs of Southwestern Ontario, especially as Parliament prepares for a new session and budget.

We see next week's dialogue with our MPs as an important next step in the ongoing effort to transform the economy of Ontario's Southwest. With financial restraint very much on the horizon, we need our MPs to be our advocates and our champions. I know we can count on them."


For further information: For further information: For a copy of the report please visit: www.swea.ca; For more information or to arrange an interview: Serge Lavoie, (519) 859-7763

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