Calgary and Edmonton Chambers of Commerce to release Federal Election Platform
September 4, 2019
With the federal election just around the corner, Canada continues to find itself at a crossroads. Our economy has slowed, and our global competitiveness is in decline. Our natural resources and innovations are struggling to reach global markets. Global trading relationships have been disrupted by polarized politics. Internal tensions have made it more difficult for Canadians to see eye-to-eye with one another. Our outdated tax system is increasing costs of doing business. Technology is changing our world at an ever-rapid pace. The skills we learn today may not prepare us for the jobs of tomorrow. Demographic changes are putting increasing strain on limited government resources.
These forces have left Canada to face a stark choice. We can either make the choice to boost our competitiveness in a rapidly-changing global economy, or watch as other, more agile nations, pass us by to compete and win.
That’s why the Calgary and Edmonton Chambers of Commerce have united to speak with one collective voice about how Albertans, and all Canadians, can secure a competitive and prosperous future. In our joint platform, we highlight non-partisan election priorities that outline a pathway to contribute to the global fight against climate change, boost trade, increase tax competitiveness, close the skills gap, and address our fiscal imbalance. Our platform includes 12 recommendations across five pillars for all parties’ consideration:
1. Develop environment and climate policies that stimulate competition,
2. Expand Market Access and Trade,
3. Create a globally competitive tax system,
4. Close the talent and skills gap, and
5. Plan for our fiscal future.
We know that when businesses are successful, communities across the country benefit. Growing businesses create jobs, provide investment in Canada, and most importantly give back into our communities. In recent years, we have watched businesses struggle to grow as a myriad of policies from all levels of government have created an uphill battle. Policies that have stemmed from successive governments and are often a result of siloed decision-making. If we want to create a business forward environment for our country, we must start thinking collectively.
We encourage all federal parties seeking election to adopt the policy directions highlighted in our platform. Working together we will create a Canada that is competitive, prosperous, and ready to thrive in an ever-evolving global economy. Below is a short summary of our pillars.
Develop environment and climate policies that stimulate competition
Our first pillar highlights the need for Canada to play a more impactful role at the world stage to address climate change. For this to happen, we must support growth and development of our natural resources and innovative technologies. Allowing our products to reach world markets will assist in displacing higher emission fuel sources in other countries, while developing technologies within our borders will increase Canada’s role in addressing climate change both at home and globally.
Expand Market Access and Trade
The next federal government must reduce regulatory burdens that threaten Canada’s competitiveness in an integrated global market. Currently, our complex regulatory environment does not allow our businesses to export efficiently, while internal trade barriers hinder a business’ capacity to grow within the country. Leveraging our regulations to be our competitive advantage while investing in infrastructure that allows businesses to grow internationally and interprovincially will drastically increase Canada’s economic well-being.
Create a globally competitive tax system
Removing regulatory burdens must also extend into Canada’s tax system, which has not undergone a comprehensive review since the 1960s. An overly complex taxation system, combined with the seventh highest marginal income tax rate among the 33 OECD countries, has made it increasingly difficult for us to attract investments. The next federal government must look to address this by developing a system that rewards entrepreneurs and incentivizes Canadians to take risks and invest in new ideas by both homegrown and international companies.
Close the talent and skills gap
With 68 per cent of businesses struggling to find skilled workers across the country, the next federal government must also address the growing concerns over the skills gap in Canada. It is now more crucial than ever for government to work with industry to identify, monitor, and adjust its approaches in addressing the current skills gap. By taking a multi-faceted approach, we believe that this gap can be closed. Any strategies adopted must include collecting and coordinating market information, developing consistent and harmonized recognition for professions across provinces, prioritizing learning opportunities and more.
Plan for our fiscal future
We ask that the federal government must prepare short, medium, and long-term plans to provide certainty to investors and demonstrate responsible budgeting. As Canada’s population ages, the strain on government resources will also increase. Along with increased costs of providing services, the next federal government must also tackle a shortage on the revenue side. A shrinking labour force erodes the tax base, leading to lower revenues and reinforcing the need to find efficiencies now. By publishing financial plans, the government would reassure Canadians and international investors that we are responsibly preparing for our future.
In Canada, we have the potential to be a leader in natural resource development AND fight global climate change simultaneously. We have the technology that will allow us to greatly reduce global GHG emissions AND to provide clean, ethical energy sources the world needs. We must take decisive action to get Canadian products to international markets, stimulate innovation, increase market access interprovincially and internationally, develop talent and adapt to changing technologies, and fight climate change globally while sustainably developing Canada’s natural resources. Our platform works to encourage all federal parties to take a unified and holistic look at Canada and ensure Canada is a global leader.
Look for details on our recommendations and potential next steps for the next federal government to take when we launch our full platform next week.