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September 22, 2020 | A Corridor to Prosperity?

Stewart Muir is founder and executive director of the Resource Works Society, a Vancouver-based group open to participation by British Columbians from all walks of life who are concerned about their future economic opportunities. He is an author, journalist and historian with experience on three continents including a financial editor of The Vancouver Sun responsible for mining and markets coverage. Since Resource Works was established in 2014, the group has gained international recognition for its practical approach to the public challenges of responsible natural resource development and use.

What if Canada had a dedicated nation-wide “corridor” for infrastructure: road, rail, power, telecom, cyber and pipelines?

What if Canada had a dedicated nation-wide “corridor” for infrastructure: road, rail, power, telecom, cyber and pipelines?

It’s a vision of the non-profit, non-partisan C2C2C Unity Corridor Foundation:

“A safe, secure and sustainable nation-wide infrastructure pathway will link the country, open vast, under-serviced areas and connect northern communities, creating opportunities and benefits for people in all regions of Canada.”

The foundation says it would address Canada’s national infrastructure deficit, eliminate provincial trade barriers, strengthen our ability to access global markets. and “make First Nations key partners.”

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And it sees more than just a geographic facility. ‘We believe a nation-wide corridor. . .   can unite the country, and create social and economic opportunity for people in all regions of Canada.’

Here’s what it has in mind, at an initial cost of $200 billion:

  • A 7,000-km corridor connecting 10 provinces, three territories, three oceans and numerous First Nations, that would take decades to build “from sea to sea to sea.”
  • A multi-purpose corridor linking ports and intermodal facilities, and connecting with existing infrastructure;
  • Efficient, environmentally-friendly movement of people, resources, telecommunications and more;
  • Development of innovation and a less carbon-intensive economy through interconnecting Canadian hydro resources, electrifying passenger/freight rail, creating safer, more efficient pipeline systems, developing energy-efficient cloud storage, accessing critical, rare earths and metals, and realize increased benefit from natural resources

The foundation sees that initial cost of $200 billion being followed by additional costs as components are added.  But it also a potential $500-billion increase in GDP – every year.

And it sees:

  • 10,000 temporary construction jobs
  • More than 10,000 permanent direct jobs
  • Over 100,000 permanent indirect jobs

The foundation plans to launch in November 2020 a series of introductory webinars. And it aims to work with governments and First Nations ‘to develop an implementation strategy that would enable the first phase of construction to commence by 2026.’

“It’s the basis to reinvigorate investment, provide empowering partnership opportunities for First Nations and grow population—making Canada one of the most attractive countries in the world to live, work, and play.”

A founding member is ESG consultant Jerry Demchuk of Calgary, who says: “Limited infrastructure capacity has weakened connections with global value chains and restricted access to world markets.

“At a time when our economy must adapt to a low-carbon society, and the evolving ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, our current infrastructure is overloaded, which is causing us to be vulnerable to disruption, limiting the ability of our economy to work to capacity, and inhibiting future growth.”

Another supporter is Bud Smith, former BC cabinet minister and a member of the Resource Works Advisory Council.

There’s also another (if less sweeping) proposal for an infrastructure energy corridor, that of BC First Nations entrepreneur Calvin Helin and his Eagle Spirit Energy Corridor. It would, for starters, connect Alberta’s oilpatch to a port in BC (or possibly Alaska) to move oil and products to overseas markets. It would begin with natural-gas pipelines and two oil pipelines, and has support from 35 First Nations along the proposed route.

Meanwhile, those who think of “infrastructure” as roads, bridges, water mains, sewers, and municipal recreation facilities, could heed the 2019 warning from the Canadian Infrastructure Report Card: It found nearly 40 per cent of our roads and bridges, and 30 per cent of our water infrastructure facilities, are in only fair, poor or very poor condition.

In 2018, the World Bank rated Canada No. 20 among world nations for infrastructure. Germany was first, Japan second, Sweden third.

Seems we have some catching up to do. . . .

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September 22nd, 2020

Posted In: Resource Works

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