Vancouver to benefit from $100 million in federal funding to support trade-enabling infrastructure

Vancouver Fraser Port Authority announced that it has received a commitment for over $100 million of funding from the federal government’s National Trade Corridors Fund to support infrastructure projects.

“As a Canada Port Authority, our job is to make sure the port is ready to handle Canada’s growth in trade, but we are also undertaking a number of projects beyond the port to improve the flow of goods and seek to alleviate the impacts of growing trade on local communities,” said Robin Silvester, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s President and CEO. “With this federal funding, we are able to take on five new projects that will enable us to continue this critical work.” The five funded projects include three infrastructure projects in Richmond and Surrey to reduce interactions between the community and road and rail activities by building overpasses and making other improvements in operations. Additional funding will support two studies that will look at how to move goods more efficiently throughout the Lower Mainland.

The funded projects were identified in the Greater Vancouver Gateway 2030 Strategy, a strategic plan developed by the Gateway Transportation Collaboration Forum. The forum is an ongoing collaborative effort to ensure the Greater Vancouver gateway is ready to manage growing trade, and its membership includes Transport Canada, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, TransLink and the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council.

Federal government contributes $47.5 million to help reduce container movements through Halifax’ downtown area

Federal government contributes $47.5 million to help reduce container movements through Halifax’ downtown area

By Tom Peters

The age-old issue of large trucks hauling shipping containers through the busy, narrow streets of downtown Halifax may soon be addressed in a major way.

The federal government recently announced it is investing $47.5 million for two projects that will increase capacity at the Port of Halifax to move Canadian goods to international markets, and secondly, upgrade the Windsor Street Exchange, a main access route to the port. The federal government is working in collaboration on these projects with the provincial and municipal governments plus CN, the rail provider, and the Halifax Port Authority (HPA). (more…)

Does Canada have a strategic plan to enhance its fleet of icebreakers?

Does Canada have a strategic plan to enhance its fleet of icebreakers?

By K. Joseph Spears

Since Canada is an Arctic nation, there is a strong requirement for icebreaker capability in our Arctic waters. The Canadian Coast Guard, operating within Fisheries and Oceans Canada, is tasked with providing the necessary icebreakers in support of its own mandate and other government operations (search and rescue, hydrographic work and resupply, to name just a few). These are hard-working ships, with experienced crews who often work in hostile environments. Interestingly, former CBC  National news anchor Peter Mansbridge, a former Churchill, Manitoba resident, described his time aboard Canadian Coast Guard heavy icebreaker’s CCGS Louis St. Laurent in the Northwest Passage as among his most cherished moments in broadcasting. Yet, Canada’s icebreakers are old, with the average age of Canadian icebreakers being just shy of 40 years, which adversely impacts their operational readiness and reliability. (more…)

Canada and China: two nations claiming sovereignty over disputed ocean space

Canada and China: two nations claiming sovereignty over disputed ocean space

By K. Joseph Spears

What is old is new again. United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the recent ministers meeting at the Arctic Council in Helsinki, Finland, talked about Canada’s claim to the Northwest Passage, and stated: “We recognize that Russia is not the only nation making illegitimate claims. The U.S. has a long-contested feud with Canada over sovereign claims through the Northwest Passage.” (more…)

Canada’s Arctic Policy—the search continues

Canada’s Arctic Policy—the search continues

By Joe Spears

In an April 2016 article, Breaking Bread and the Ice in Washington, I examined Canada’s evolving Arctic policy under the then new and shiny Trudeau government. The Joint Arctic Statement communique was unveiled with great fanfare at the Obama White House in Washington, DC. Four years into the Trudeau mandate, the world has seen many changes, the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and we are still awaiting a Canadian Arctic policy. It is clearly not a priority. (more…)

The Arctic Ocean Basin – is it really Putin’s playground?

The Arctic Ocean Basin – is it really Putin’s playground?

By K. Joseph Spears

During the long running Cold War, the Arctic Ocean Basin had strategic military significance: The airspace was potentially important for overflights of strategic bombers and later, intercontinental ballistic missiles – the ocean space for subsurface operations of submarines of the United States and her allies, and the Soviet Union.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the breakup of the Soviet Union, the strategic significance of the Arctic Ocean Basin diminished. The Arctic was an afterthought in the thinking of most defense planners for decades. However, with melting sea-ice and a fast warming Arctic, there is now greater interest in the region because of its greater accessibility, and the importance of the region to both Russia and near-Arctic states such as China. (more…)