I want to thank you very much for the presentation and for the very good report.
I want to touch on a couple of points. One is the issue of subsidies versus investment. I have a couple of quotes.
I'm going to specifically talk about British Columbia, but this is applicable to rural and remote communities across Canada. I don't have the numbers for other rural and remote communities, but there are two pieces here. One is an article that was done by a professor at the University of Northern British Columbia. He indicates that in British Columbia, rural and remote communities generate the bulk of export wealth. I oftentimes think people believe that large cities are the economic drivers in a province, but he has numbers here that indicate the bulk of B.C.'s export wealth, which is the key to the province's past, present and future success, derives from rural and remote communities.
Another presentation, done by Jock Finlayson, reminded people of two things. He was quoting a report on regions' contributions to B.C.'s economic base, and he says that B.C.'s “...economic base has historically been, currently is, and will likely continue to be...predominantly dependent upon rural and resource activities such as forestry, fishing, farming, mining [and energy production].” He pointed out that large cities actually benefit from rural and remote development because those resource firms purchase several billion dollars per year in business inputs from GVRD suppliers—the Greater Vancouver Regional District—such as engineering, legal and accounting, finance, advertising, and executive search firms, and so on.
I wonder if, in your round table and from your discussions with people, you have anything more quantitative to say about the economic contribution that rural and remote communities make to those large urban centres and the overall economy in Canada, and why it's important that the recommendations in your report be looked at quite seriously in terms of that piece around the economic drivers.