Trudeau gives boost to market-oriented group on clean-economy initiative

VANCOUVER -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave a boost Tuesday to a new cross-sectoral group of business leaders, labour, non-governmental organizations, government and academics who want to accelerate Canada's transition to a high-efficiency, low carbon economy.

See Full Article

Smart Prosperity officially launched in Vancouver with encouragement from Trudeau, whose Liberal government's climate agenda appears to dovetail with the economic transformation envisioned by the new market-oriented group.

"This is really exemplifying for me the kind of co-operation and collaboration that's going to be so essential in terms of addressing not just the challenges that we're facing in the coming years, but the tremendous opportunities that are there for us," Trudeau said at the launch.

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 before Tuesday's announcement.

"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 Entwistle, 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 Tuesday's launch was seen as 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

  • IMF agrees to loan $5B to Mongolia

    Economic CTV News
    BEIJING - The International Monetary Fund and other partners have agreed on terms for a $5 billion loan to the Mongolian government to help get the north Asian country's economy back on track. The deal is subject to approval by the IMF's executive board. Source
  • Iraq says proven oil reserves rise to 153 billion barrels

    Economic CTV News
    BAGHDAD -- Iraq says new exploration has revealed an additional 10 billion barrels of oil, bringing its total proven reserves to 153 billion barrels. Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi said in a statement Sunday that the increase comes from seven oil fields in central and southern Iraq, without naming them. Source
  • Toxic Jewelry and holiday scams: CBC Marketplace's consumer cheat sheet

    Economic CBC News
    Miss something this week? We got you. Here's this week's Marketplace cheat sheet. Get this in your inbox every Friday. Sign up for the Marketplace newsletter. Rotten reno Paul Gough says he's had to take time off work to act as a contractor and make his home livable again. Source
  • When will oil demand peak? Depends on our driving habits

    Economic CBC News
    In the past, forecasters had a relatively simple method of estimating whether demand for oil would increase or decrease and by how much. For the most part, they simply looked at the economy. If people were making more money, it was safe to assume they would spend more, travel more and head to the car dealership more often. Source
  • 'I was in shock': Why Canadians are still struggling with runaway cellphone charges

    Economic CBC News
    After CBC News ran a story about a cellphone customer who got hit with a $24,000 data roaming charge, more customers started writing in with their own nightmare bill stories. And most involved big data charges. Source
  • Ineffective laws fuelling Canada's online piracy problem, U.S. copyright group says

    Economic CBC News
    Ineffective laws that lag behind international standards have made Canada a hot spot for online piracy and copyright infringement, according to a group of rights holders that has again placed this country on its global watch list. Source
  • Enbridge says pipeline leak near Edmonton was caused by construction

    Economic CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Enbridge (TSX:ENB) says it believes a pipeline that leaked near Edmonton was struck by another company doing construction in the area. The pipeline company says in a news release that the incident happened Friday on its Line 2A pipeline at an industrial site in Strathcona County. Source
  • Trump sons in Dubai to open golf club

    Economic CTV News
    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Two of U.S. President Donald Trump's sons arrived in the United Arab Emirates for an invitation-only ceremony Saturday to formally open the Trump International Golf Club in Dubai. Photographs shared on social media by real estate brokers showed Eric and Donald Jr. Source
  • Trump sons open Dubai golf club as namesake now U.S. president

    Economic CTV News
    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Two of U.S. President Donald Trump's sons ceremonially opened a Trump-branded golf club in Dubai on Saturday, meeting privately with Emirati elites as questions remain about how separated their father is from the empire bearing his name. Source
  • IKEA apologizes for catalogue aimed at ultra-Orthodox Jews

    Economic CTV News
    COPENHAGEN -- Swedish furniture retailer Ikea has apologized for a catalogue aimed at Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community that contains no images of women. Ikea says the booklet was produced by its Israeli branch, not by the Swedish group itself. Source