Liberal leadership candidate Kevin Falcon spent two days in Prince Rupert last week to talk to government and business leaders and to wine and dine local party members so that they will help make him the next Premier of British Columbia.
On Wednesday Falcon hosted a large dinner for current and potential Liberal party members as well community leaders at the North Coast Convention Centre. There he portrayed himself to the Prince Rupert Liberal members as someone who is and has been intimately involved in the development and expansion of the city’s port.
The fact that as Transportation Minister he was involved in the provincial efforts to containerize Fairview Terminal, was a main talking point at his Prince Rupert
“To see the great success that it has become is a great personal pride for me, because it was a vision I really, really believed in. That this is the top port in North America and one of the top 10 in the world in terms of container growth is a testament not just to the port, the administrators and the vision, but to the longshoremen who work here,” said Falcon during an interview at Fairview Terminal.
Falcon dedicated the vast majority of his half-hour speech to members at the dinner to the port, leaving only about five minutes at the end to mention other topics such as health care and education. During this speech, Falcon promised continued investment in northern BC and to see that development anchored by the Prince Rupert port. And in order to keep up with the rising demand for shipping, he promised that Ridley Terminals would receive millions in provincial investment.
“Ridley Terminals today is almost at capacity. They are shipping record traffic through Ridley. The biggest challenge they have now is: what are they going to do to handle all the other export opportunities like wood pellets and all the other potential export opportunities? They’re looking to the future saying, ‘what can we do?’,” he said.
“I’ll tell you what we can do. It will cost $100-million, but rail and road infrastructure investment in Ridley will open up opportunities not in the tens of million, not in the hundreds of millions, but in the billions [of dollars],” says Falcon.
He also promised to use his position as Premier to promote the port in international markets, as a cost effective alternative for exporting goods to the US, and for importing raw resources such as lumber and
When he finished his speech, Liberal Party members have him a standing ovation.