Change can often be scary. Whether it's considering a new job, a new town, a new relationship or a new adventure, humans are warriors, and we are wanderers. Our children begin exploring their world without fear. As young adults, we leave our homes to pursue our own dreams. As adults, we start our families and discover new challenges. Skilled people leave home, and sometimes they will return. But for those in Newfoundland and Labrador, my home, we bring the challenges to them. We can inspire and reconnect them to their homes in new and powerful ways.
We all long for connection. We connect with our families. We connect with our friends. We also connect with our neighbours. John Donne famously said, “No man is an island”. With the strength and courage of the people in this room and amongst many others, we can span the gulf between two provinces with a fixed link and connect our nation.
I want to thank you for your attention and consideration today because this is an exciting time. It is not a new idea, but it is a persistent one. The St. Lawrence Seaway, the Confederation Bridge, the Chunnel, Marconi and wireless radio.... Visionaries of many generations understood our need for connection and strove to join together worlds and societies. With a fixed link and a stable network of roads and rail, we have a powerful way to connect the island portion of Newfoundland with the rest of North America in great and powerful ways. With this project, we may count ourselves among the architects of a new future, of Canada's future.
I and others dream of a new extension to highway 138 on Quebec's north shore, a new rail and a great tunnel built on proven technology. Together they can usher in a new chapter of prosperity for all of us. Through rapid transit of passenger, commercial and tourism traffic, we may forever truly connect the many developing resources from all provinces to their neighbours and beyond, but that is only the beginning. It all starts with us, and it all starts now.
There are no losers in a project of this scope, only winners, only us. There have always been challenges, pitfalls and moments of weakness in the pursuit of greatness. In many cases like ours, the ends will justify the means. We will be the proof. A portal between Quebec and Newfoundland can only bring more prosperity, not less. With our tunnel under the straits, the sky is the limit, and we must remain strong.
Through that strength and with this tunnel, we shall forge a connection between the private and public sectors, between provincial and federal governments. We can literally and figuratively pave the way into the future with fewer barriers to our own joint prosperity, especially in rural areas along the proposed path. The vision for similar changes is what drives this mission to reinvigorate our rural spaces. Like the Trans-Canada Highway, we shall nourish the region with new traffic, new business and new vision for a bright future.
It is always darkest before the dawn. Newfoundland is my home, and the people of the region are ready for the change in this vision. They are tired of weather and sea ice, and of the wind cancelling ferry crossings and air traffic, endangering their food security and mobility to the mainland. With this project, we will link the varied people of Quebec and those of Newfoundland and Labrador with the rest of Canada. United, we can knit together a fabric of national and international trade, our environment, employment, education, housing, health and culture. This link will become an artery feeding lifeblood into an infrastructure with new resources, a strong economy and renewed infrastructure. If we build it, they will come.
Like all great journeys, we have constructed a road map to aid our mission. Among the strategies are included our GNP industrial plan, our external trade development plan and our transportation electrification plan. With projects like this and others, we will create a driving force for our future, and it all starts with collaboration like this meeting today. Together we are strong.
Unlike traditional investments, our fixed link will pay dividends immediately. We will provide employment. We will develop infrastructure. We'll proclaim proudly that we believe in the future of those on both sides of the tunnel and all along the roadways and railways. We will change lives. Workers will bring families. For the first time in generations, specialists will flock to us and not the other way around. Money spent on workers and jobs will grow our economy. These are the tides of change.
Like Newfoundland's own island-wide highway, the freedom of motion that a fixed link, new road and rail will offer us is profound. It will encourage towns to develop, and the addition of pipelines for more than people, resources and freight will then fan the flames of change. The link will communicate ideas, dreams and visions for revitalizing the region. lt will create a new era of co-operation between Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and greater Canada in ways that cannot be imagined. We must be patient, we must be cautious, but above all we must be wise, united and brave. After all, change can often be scary.