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, MLA Brandon East
May 14, 2013

WestJet Lands in Brandon

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate an exciting development in my home community of Brandon. Yesterday WestJet announced that it is coming to the Wheat City of Canada. Starting this fall western Manitobans will have access to daily non-stop flights to and from Calgary through WestJet's regional service known as Encore.

I would like to begin my remarks by thanking WestJet, the City of Brandon, the Brandon Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Brandon and the great many Brandon citizens who lobbied long and hard to make the business case for bringing national air service back to Brandon. Brandon is the economic hub of western Manitoba, and this will give the city even more connectivity with the wider world: to tourism and business opportunities, to conferences and conventions and to national and global markets.

Mr. Speaker, our government knows something about working to build the conditions necessary for stimulating economic development. Against the opposition of the PC Party, we worked together with others to build the MTS Centre and return the National Hockey League to Manitoba.

In Brandon, we built the Keystone Agriculture Centre of Excellence, which our opponents ridiculed as Cadillac barns, and in hosting the Memorial Cup we transformed the Keystone Centre into a national venue for sports, entertainment and business.

At Brandon Municipal Airport, McGill Field, we worked with the City and federal government to install a $1.5-million instrument landing system. This renewal of airport infrastructure to the standards required for modern air service enabled Brandon to accommodate aircraft landing in a wide range of conditions and was a fundamental piece of airport infrastructure required to secure regularly scheduled air service.

The arrival of WestJet is yet another acknowledgement of Brandon's key role as an urban hub in western Canada. Our government looks forward to working further with our partners in Brandon to ensure that the city continues to take off into the future.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.