Sawislak Represents GSA at Peace Bridge Ceremony
As prepared for delivery
Senior Advisor to the Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
Peace Bridge – Grand Plaza Opening
Fort Erie, Ontario
July 16, 2007
Thank you very much Ron, and thank you all for letting me be part of this very special day.
Minister Nicholson, Chairman Annunziata, Mayor Martin, Congressman Higgins, ladies and gentlemen: It is my honor to bring personal greetings from GSA Administrator Lurita Doan and to represent the United States as we dedicate this crucial improvement to the free flow of trade between our two great nations.
As we know, Canada and the United States enjoy the greatest bi-national trade relationship in the world…and this facility will help strengthen our long and prosperous association. By the numbers:
1.3 million trucks and 6 million cars crossed the peace bridge in 2006.
That represents 40 billion dollars each year in two-way trade at this vital crossing.
Let me say that again…40 billion dollars annually. These figures are staggering and they speak to the wonderful and mutually prosperous bond that our nations have enjoyed for so many decades.
The opening of the Peace Bridge Grand Plaza could not have occurred without the cooperation and persistence of many different parties, all of whom are committed to prosperity on both sides of the border. That cooperation and success is a testament to the importance of this building in keeping our trade relations the envy of the world.
Six months ago, GSA Public Buildings Commissioner David Winstead and I had the privilege of touring this facility before it opened. We were both struck not only by the effort and skill that went into its construction, but the thought and care which were evident in its innovative and sustainable design. it was clear to me that day…as I am sure it is clear to all of you today…that sustainability and design excellence are a priority for both the public bridge authority and the government of Canada.
Let me assure you that Administrator Doan and GSA as well as our partners at U.S. Customs and Border Protection are fully committed to a similar project on the U.S. side of the Peace Bridge.
As President Bush has said, Canada and America share a continent, a long and vibrant border, and a special and vital relationship. Prime Minister Harper described the bond between us as strong, firm, and based on the largest commerce and social interaction in the history of any two countries of the world.
The Peace Bridge is a symbol…a symbol of the long history of friendship that exists between the U.S. and Canada. Especially in these troubled times, when we face a shared threat from people who mean us harm, I like to think of that bond as a sacred trust that we will protect our neighbors house and his family as it were our own.
We must not forget that we stand today in a bi-national region … where people on both sides of the river view the border not as a barrier, but as an opportunity.
They expect us as their leaders to deliver facilities and infrastructure which protect us all, yet promote safe access and the free flow of trade. So today, I congratulate you on delivering precisely what the people ordered.
Administrator Doan and I look forward to a day when we can stand together again and share these thoughts on the other side of the river. Thank you.