8 Canadian cities join forces to promote business priorities to federal election candidates

A coalition of chambers of commerce and boards of trade in eight major markets is using the October election as a chance to urge the future federal government to adopt ideas to promote business innovation.

The Canadian Global Cities Council released the first of four “policy playbooks” — an Agenda for Growth — to coincide with the launch of the federal election.

It presents three recommendations: For Canada to build enabling frameworks to protect privacy and data, to diversify trade both outside and inside the country, and to support business growth with an improved tax and regulation system.

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The goal is to create a new framework to allow Canada’s businesses to be able to adapt to fast-moving changes in the new economy, said Janet Riopel, president and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce.

“There’s eight of us that came together and we identified that those were the top three things that we hear from our businesses that we know that the business community is saying are tremendous challenges,” Riopel told Global News.

“That’s from Vancouver, straight across to Halifax, throughout Alberta and all of the provinces in between.”

“How do we communicate that? And how do we build an environment to allow us to actually act as a union and build the infrastructure that we need in this country to succeed? So we’re focused on it.”

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The CGCC started coming together four years ago and once members started comparing notes, they began to hire consultants to mine data that they could use to find common ground on problems that plague business in Canada.

Riopel said they quickly discovered many of them have common problems.

“Isn’t that interesting? And then, yet, it’s not,” she said. “Because operating in a business environment there are many commonalities and they span global markets let alone local markets.

“When we are able to come together and talk about things, we realized these were the areas we should focus on.”

The Alberta Chamber is kicking things off with a forum and candidate meet-and-greet Thursday afternoon at the Telus World of Science.

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“We’re trying to inform the candidates about the steps that they have to take to start to create a really dynamic environment for businesses to grow, to thrive, to succeed, to invest more,” Riopel said. “And we want to inform our members so that our members can communicate back into their communities, their suppliers, their employees.”

On the pipeline front, Riopel said Canadians for Natural Resources, also from the business community, is promoting its energy playbook. There, they will push the conversation and stress upon candidates that it’s not just natural resources or the environment; it’s both, hand-in-hand. She said they’re planning an energy summit during the campaign in Calgary in October.

The coalition represents eight of Canada’s largest urban chambers of commerce and boards of trade in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Brampton, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax.

Watch below (April 19, 2018): A coalition of 24 Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade are calling on the federal government and the government of B.C. to clear all barriers to getting the federally approved Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project built. President and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Janet Riopel joins Global News at Noon Edmonton to discuss the push.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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