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VANCOUVER, B.C. — Transport Minister David Collenette has identified key transport challenges facing Canada and launched a process to engage Canadians in developing a new transport plan.

The Minister made the announcement during a speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade yesterday.

“Building a network that moves people and goods across a vast and difficult terrain has been a central preoccupation of Canadians,” he says. “Our goal is to have the best national transportation system in the world, and I am committed to gathering ideas and opinions from Canadians on how we can achieve it.”

“The work of the Canadian Transportation Act Review Panel and other policy development activities will serve as building blocks for this process,” says Collenette. “To succeed, the Government of Canada will need the insight and contribution of its partners from the transportation industry, academic community, shippers and provincial, territorial and local governments.”

To this end, the Minister and senior Transport Canada officials will hold a range of consultation sessions over the next 12 months. These will begin with Ministerial round table discussions later in the spring and summer.

The transportation challenges identified by the minister include the following needs:

— Preserving and improving Canada’s global competitive position;

— Building the capacity to innovate and the skills to support the knowledge-based economy;

— Ensuring the uninterrupted movement of people and goods;

— Ensuring mobility in our urban centres;

— Ensuring that our transportation system is environmentally sound and sustainable;

— Ensuring the system remains among the safest and the most secure in the world;

— And, ensuring maximum accessibility to all Canadians.

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