Senate Speech: "Economic Development Edmonton"
Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
2nd Session, 36th Parliament,
Volume 138, Issue 36
Tuesday, March 21, 2000
The Honourable Gildas L. Molgat, Speaker
Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, I wish to say a word about Edmonton, inspired by the outstanding annual luncheon meeting of 1,361 people last week where Economic Development Edmonton showcased an economic vitality that is the envy of the rest of Canada. If honourable senators get the idea that I am bragging about my hometown, they are right, but it is hard to be modest when you consider the following:
- Edmonton's total GDP growth in 2000 will be 4.1 per cent, the strongest gain among large Canadian cities. The construction industry will grow 7.6 per cent.
- Edmonton currently has the second-best employment growth in the nation at 2.8 per cent and was rated by Industry Week magazine as the best Canadian city for productivity.
- Edmonton was rated by the Places Rated Almanac as number one in Canada for the lowest cost of living.
- Edmonton has been rated the best major city in Central to Western Canada and the United States in which to locate a business and has the lowest costs for Class A office space in the world.
- Edmonton has been named one of the top-three smart cities in America in a competition of 350 cities.
- On top of all this, Edmonton has 1,687 sports fields, 17 public swimming pools, not to mention a world-class institution in the University of Alberta.
Honourable senators, of course the international oil sector boom, with its related oilsands projects, impacts favourably on Edmonton's economy, but Edmonton is also moving ahead because of the development of knowledge-based sectors, public/private alliances and continued enhancement of the educational, training and research institutes.
"We like doing business here," says Bobbie Gaunt, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company of Canada.
In Edmonton, there exists a very high quality of life and low cost of living, combined with a skilled and diverse workforce that includes a significant number of potential employees who speak both English and French. MO< Economic Development Edmonton, led by Gary Campbell and Jim Edwards, two great community leaders who work alongside Mayor Bill Smith, is putting Edmonton on the map. They are, in fact, blowing our cover as Canada's best-kept secret, but I guess we cannot hide it any longer - especially with 5 million visitors to Edmonton last year and even more in 2001 with the World Championship in Athletics brings representatives from 200 countries. I know honourable senators want to learn more about Edmonton, so run - do not walk - to your computers and go to Economic Development Edmonton's innovative new Web site at http://www.ede.org.