Market-oriented group wants to speed up Canada's transition to clean economy

A new cross-sectoral group that includes business leaders, labour, non-governmental organizations, government and academics says it's time to seriously accelerate the transition to a high-efficiency, low carbon economy and make Canada a global environmental brand.

See Full Article

Smart Prosperity officially launches Tuesday in Vancouver with a boost from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose Liberal government's climate agenda appears to dovetail with the economic transformation envisioned by the new market-oriented group.

Twenty-six individuals have signed on to the initiative, including an eclectic mix of top representatives from banks and insurance companies, aluminium smelters, the United Steel Workers union, a grocery chain, investment firms and the World Wildlife Federation.

They're looking to identify and promote policies that spur innovation, generate jobs and boost the economy while improving the environment and conserving Canada's natural heritage.

"I'm a big believer in government not playing the leadership role," Annette Verschuren, one of three Smart Prosperity co-chairs and the former president of Home Depot Canada, said in an interview.

"But government is critical to developing the right policy, the right triggers, the right environment. What's really more important is that private capital gets attracted to this industry - spurred on by policies that make sense for our country."

Smart Prosperity's launch coincides with four days of climate-focused networking, marketing, trade shows, policy discussion and federal-provincial arm-twisting, with Trudeau on hand to meet indigenous leaders and his provincial and territorial counterparts cheek-by-jowl with Vancouver's massive, biennial Globe conference on clean tech.

The key pillars of Smart Prosperity's opening research paper point to innovation, incentives, infrastructure and investment.

"The number one action point is to accelerate clean innovation - to create the conditions for celebrating clean innovation across all sectors of our economy," said co-chair Lorraine Mitchelmore, the Calgary-based former president of Shell Canada. "This is truly about market economy, not market distortion."

Energy efficiency and resource efficiency is another top priority. So if you're not keen on carbon pricing - the dreaded "job-killing tax on everything," in the parlance of politics - this market-oriented group won't be for you.

As Mitchelmore says, there's already an incentive for industry to become more efficient. "Let's incent it even more: You need a price signal to actually give that incentive."

And this is not a group that is disinterested in the overall health of the Canadian economy.

Galen Weston of Loblaws will be rubbing shoulders with former Dragon's Den investor Arlene Dickinson, Shell Canada president Michael Crothers, Telus CEO Darren Entwhistle, Royal Bank special adviser Phil Fontaine and Dominic Barton, the global managing director of consulting giant McKinsey and Company.

"You don't see this kind of powerful, diverse group of Canadian leaders come together around issues very often," said co-chair Stewart Elgie, an environmental law professor at the University of Ottawa and a founding member.

"In many ways this is sort of a once-in-a-generation opportunity."

Elgie, Mitchelmore and Verschuren have been developing Smart Prosperity for two years and see Tuesday's launch is the start of a much wider conversation with all Canadians about where the country wants to be in 10 years. That future needs to start with government policy-making now, building on what Mitchelmore calls "pockets of success all over the place."

There's actually much agreement among business, labour, environmental groups and global organizations such as the World Bank about how the economy and environment can and should be linked for the good of both. But the various sectoral "silos" haven't been talking to each other, or pushing governments with one voice, says Smart Prosperity.

Elgie likens the global energy and environmental transformation that's just emerging to Canada's free trade transformation of the 1980s, which tossed off a century of trade protectionism.

"We're at that same kind of moment now, there's a fundamental structural shift happening in the global economy," said Elgie, who questions whether political leaders will be far-sighted enough to recognize it.

"That is the nature of the moment and it's why this group of people have come together. This is the issue of our time."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Online cannabis dispensaries join in on Black Friday sales

    Economic CTV News
    Online cannabis dispensaries are the latest to cash in on the holiday shopping frenzy, with some offering dramatic markdowns or novelty products as the season known for consumer spending gets underway. Several online cannabis stores are holding Black Friday sales for the first time this year in an effort to stay competitive and draw new customers in what they call an increasingly competitive market. Source
  • Why France hates Black Friday: 'I find it sad'

    Economic CTV News
    Having adopted hamburgers, Halloween and a host of English words, some in France are worried about the latest cultural import from America: the day of rampant consumerism known as Black Friday. Unheard of only a few years ago, the cut-price deals made the television news bulletins Friday as local retailers copied their American counterparts in trying to lure in shoppers ahead of the Christmas season. Source
  • Canadian operating profits top $100B amid financial sector strength

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Statistics Canada says strong performance in the financial sector drove Canadian corporate operating profits to just over $100 billion in the third quarter, up 17.2 per cent from the same period last year. Source
  • WestJet launches new regional air service in Western Canada

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- WestJet Airlines Ltd. (TSX:WJA) has introduced a new regional air service in Western Canada operating under a capacity purchase agreement with B.C.-based Pacific Coastal Airlines Ltd. WestJet Link will connect the Alberta communities of Lethbridge, Lloydminster and Medicine Hat and the B.C. Source
  • Aurora formally launches hostile takeover bid for CanniMed Therapeutics

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Aurora Cannabis Inc. formally launched its all-stock hostile takeover bid for CanniMed Therapeutics Friday, on the condition that the medical marijuana producer cancel its own planned acquisition of Newstrike Resources Ltd. The Vancouver-headquartered licensed marijuana company says in a statement it placed a newspaper ad for its offer to acquire all issued and outstanding shares for up to $24, and a takeover bid circular will be mailed to CanniMed's shareholders. Source
  • CEO Suzanne West vows to pursue greener path after oil firm splits with backers

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY - One of the few female CEOs in the Canadian oilpatch says she has parted ways with her American financial backers and her Calgary company's oil and gas assets have been taken over by a newly-created entity. Source
  • Ontario gaming agency will expand online and mobile betting

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Think you know when U.S. President Donald Trump will be impeached? How about who the next James Bond will be? Or perhaps you have an inside track on the name of the next royal baby? Source
  • Aurora Cannabis launches hostile takeover bid for CanniMed Therapeutics

    Economic CBC News
    Aurora Cannabis Inc. formally launched its all-stock hostile takeover bid for CanniMed Therapeutics Friday, on the condition that the medical marijuana producer cancel its own planned acquisition of Newstrike Resources Ltd. The Vancouver-headquartered licensed marijuana company says in a statement it placed a newspaper ad for its offer, valued at $24 per share, and a takeover bid circular will be mailed to CanniMed's shareholders. Source
  • Aurora takeover bid 'makes no sense,' based on inflated share price: CanniMed

    Economic CBC News
    Aurora Cannabis Inc. formally launched its all-stock hostile takeover bid for CanniMed Therapeutics Friday, on the condition that the medical marijuana producer cancel its own planned acquisition of Newstrike Resources Ltd. The Vancouver-headquartered licensed marijuana company says in a statement it placed a newspaper ad for its offer, valued at $24 per share, and a takeover bid circular will be mailed to CanniMed's shareholders. Source
  • Amazon workers in Germany, Italy stage Black Friday strike

    Economic CTV News
    BERLIN -- Workers at a half dozen Amazon distribution centres in Germany and one in Italy walked off the job Friday, in a protest timed to coincide with "Black Friday" to demand better wages from the American online giant. Source