Chamber Executives visit Ottawa to discuss key business issues
February 5, 2019
Early in 2019, Chamber of Commerce Executives from across Canada met in Ottawa to talk with various Ministers about the issues and concerns facing business communities across the country. Calgary Chamber President & CEO Sandip Lalli recaps the visit and the conversations below.
Last week, myself and Duncan Webster, Calgary Chamber Policy and Government Relations Manager, departed Calgary with a goal to have robust conversations about the priorities of the Calgary business community. Topics of conversation included innovation and technology, natural resources and the energy sector, internal trade, infrastructure, market access, and Bill C-69.
Alongside five other Chamber Chief Executives from Canadian metropolitan cities, we first met with the Federal Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, and the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna. During this meeting, we discussed the importance of all Canadian’s understanding the value of natural resources and the energy sector across the country. We also spoke about the importance of innovation and the need to continue working to leverage technology in the energy sector. Bill C-69 and the need to ensure that Canada has a competitive regulatory environment was also a focus of the conversation. We were encouraged to hear that the government is open to potential amendments, however there is still significantly more work that needs to be done to make sure that we create an environment that is conducive to business investment and growth.
We were able to meet with the Federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, the Honorable Dominic LeBlanc, where we spoke about how internal trade is critical in Canada. Canada is home to 35 million people that we need to be able to have as customers – by creating barriers within our own borders and competing with ourselves we are costing every Canadian family thousands of dollars every year, which is simply unacceptable.
We also met with the Federal Minister for Innovation, Science, and Economic Development, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, and the Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne. Throughout all our conversations, the Ministers heard the about the need for a National Energy Dialogue. Heading into a Federal election in the Fall, we are at a crossroads in this country where the conversation around the importance of our energy industry has become extremely polarized. While the politics of this polarization may be advantageous for some, we are a country that is strongest when working towards consensus.
This spring the Calgary Chamber is partnering with Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade from the Seven largest cities across the country to bring the conversation around the importance of getting world prices for our natural resources, helping replace higher emission fuels sources globally with responsibly produced Canadian energy products, and continuing to lead the energy transition in Canada. We are hoping to bring this conversation to kitchen tables across the country to that all Canadians can have practical discussions about this important topic heading into the fall.
This initiative was well received by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Business Council of Canada, and all Ministers we met with, including the office of the Federal Minister of Finance, the Honourable Bill Morneau.
It is imperative that we move this conversation forward so that we can ensure Canada’s energy products are competitive in the global market, and that not only our country, but others around the world, can access and utilize our sustainably produces products.
I encourage you to stay connected with the Chamber over the upcoming months to learn more about the conversation, and about ways you can get involved.
By working together, I know we can nourish, power, and inspire the world, and ensure Canada’s economy is supported and valued by all Canadians.
Dr. Sandip Lalli
President and CEO, Calgary Chamber