A maritime strategy to put Quebec back on track

Quebec City, March 7, 2014 – Philippe Couillard, Leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, today unveiled the first maritime strategy in Quebec’s history, which will seek to maximize the entire potential of the St. Lawrence river and estuary. It will stimulate economic development in all Quebec regions along its banks and coasts, from Gaspé and Îles-de-la-Madeleine to Montreal, with detours by Sept-Îles and Rivière-du-Loup, passing by the Montérégie.

This ambitious maritime strategy will give birth to new vectors of economic growth and will provide new impetus for several industries. It is a cornerstone of the Quebec Liberal Party’s new job creation policy. 

This project will see the creation of 30,000 new jobs between 2015 and 2030. It will generate private investments of more than $4 billion as well as public investments of more than $3 million in infrastructures. It will generate financial benefits superior to $3.5 billion for the Quebec and Canadian governments.

We have the opportunity to restart our economy together by exploiting in a responsible fashion Quebec’s maritime potential. For example, the combination of NAFTA and Free Trade with the European Union will enhance the importance of Quebec as a driving force in transatlantic transport. It is an opportunity that we must seize now to drive our economy.

- Philippe Couillard

Objectives of the maritime strategy include:

  • To seize all opportunities for the development of maritime transportation stemming from Free Trade with Europe and the expansion of the Panama Canal.
    • To do so, we and the federal government will favor investments in port facilities in Quebec and the creation of a high-value-added logistics pole.
    • We shall develop intermodal transportation and coastal traffic and breathe new life into Quebec’s shipyards, with the combined goal of fostering economic growth and the reduction of the hydrocarbon emissions related to the transport of goods and people. 
    • We will improve the ferry services, notably those intermediate services
  • To take advantage of all opportunities emanating from the rapid expansion of the cruise industry
  • We shall invest in  infrastructures by establishing an Office of Maritime Tourism to develop all tourism offer partnerships that are public-private or private-private.
  • We also shall seize all opportunities arising from the development of maritime and environmental  technologies.
  • We will enroll Quebec firmly in the blue economy by investing in our research and marine technology institutes to foster innovation and lead up to the commercialization of new products.
  • To transport our merchandise in a safer and more ecological manner.
  • We are promoting maritime transport, in a sustainable development perspective, in a bid to reduce hydrocarbon emissions. The rail industry consumes nine times more energy than the marine industry, while trucking consumes six times as much as rail.
  • To assure the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture.
  • We will work hand-in-hand with the fishing industry towards new product development with a view to expanding exports to new markets.
  • To ensure the availability of qualified and skilled manpower through the expansion and promotion of training programs and by supporting our training centres. 

This ambitious project seeks to maximize the potential of the majestic St. Lawrence in the great Liberal tradition of mobilizing projects, in the same vein as Robert Bouassa”s James Bay and the Plan Nord of Jean Charest. It will allow Quebec to seize unique development opportunities while positioning itself more advantageously in the global marketplace.

This strategy is good for good creation, good for the economic development of our regions, our public finances and the environmental protection of one of the most beautiful watercourses in the world. The government that I am proposing to lead will assume the leadership necessary to bring this ambitious strategy home safe.

"We will mobilize all cast members of the maritime sector – the federal government, municipalities, the socio-economic actors, research centres, colleges and universities – to drive the sustainable and ongoing economic development toward new horizons,” Mr. Couillard said.

The Quebec Liberal Party is the only one to affirm this priority and is the only one capable of carrying out such an enterprise to renew our economy. Thus, together, we’re taking care of real business.