Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/425123
Public Policy 46 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | December 2014 out "feel good measures" such as infrastructure money, security upgrades and tax cuts, said presenter Eric Miller, vice president of Policy, Innovation and Competitiveness with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. A former Industry Canada representative at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., Miller added that "enormously important" senior bureaucrats and ministerial staff should also be part of lobbying efforts because of their influence on policymakers. Under the Building Canada Plan, the government has committed $70 billion to public infrastructure funding over the next decade. In addition, the government will enter the election year with a $3 billion budget surplus – money to spend. The Province of Ontario alone has committed another $130 billion over the next 10 years to infrastructure, the first time such a long-term plan has been implemented, said Scott Pegg, director of Intergovernmental Policy for the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure. The program will create 110,000 jobs a year over its duration. Infrastructure project delays have been a major setback in Canada, said Janet Annesley, vice-president, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers in Ottawa and Atlantic Canada. A former Shell Canada Energy senior manager of Stakeholder Engagement, Annesley cited four green-lighted Canadian pipeline projects not yet underway. Concerning the election year, Annesley isn't worried over political parties – the Liberals in particular – and other agendas taking over government. They should be seen as "empty vessels" to be filled with the viewpoints of the industry, she says. "Don't make them your enemy," she cautioned, adding that Canada must preserve its status as one of the world's most stable investment climates. &RPPRQ*URXQG Challenges aside, "in a world of trouble, North America stands out as the place to be for global business," said Alexander early in the day. And the minister discussed the importance of AED high-priority projects that are of great mutual importance to Canada and the U.S. Alexander emphasized the planned $4 billion Detroit-Windsor international bridge – replacing the 85-year-old structure now in place – is one of Canada's top economic issues. Canada is picking up 95 percent of the tab for the new crossing that handles one-third of trade between the two countries. "We need 21st century infrastructure in place at Windsor- Detroit," he stated. He also said he was grateful to AED for work done in supporting the 1,179-mile Keystone XL pipeline project designed to transport crude oil from Alberta to Nebraska. He hoped the "political challenge" of selling Keystone in the U.S. will soon become easier. 7KLVLV-XVWWKH%HJLQQLQJ AED President and CEO Brian McGuire reminded attendees that construction and development simply wouldn't move forward without the necessary equipment, which AED members supply, and he indicated the association will use its high-profile position to become more vocal about its priori- ties in both Canada and the U.S. In the meantime, he called on participants to lobby their respective Members of Parliament, to invite them to attend dealership events for an inside look at what the industry has to offer. It's part of the MPs' job to get to know major employers in their constituencies, he said. Ottawa Briefing participants delivered enthusiastic appraisals during a roundtable at the end of the meet- ing. Feedback from Cam Tyhurst, Ottawa based general manager of Nortrax, summed up the sentiment, citing "top-notch speakers" as the main attraction of the session that featured a working lunch and a sky-high reception with a view of the city at the end of the day. Like the others, Tyhurst was impressed AED organizers were able to book a Canadian cabinet minister to welcome industry leaders and kick off the session. McGuire said that there's no mystery in the fact the government would agree to assign a minister to take part in the Ottawa Briefing – it's a clear indication the equipment industry represents a "vital component" of the Canadian economy. The only Quebec participant, Jean-Yves Grand, Montreal based general manager of corporate sales for Hewitt Equip- ment, was effusive in his praise. Happy that he decided to make the two-hour trip to Ottawa, Grand said that, while challenges for the industry were clearly identified, the overall outlook seems to be positive. It's just the beginning of things to come, McGuire said, citing AED as "very powerful" on both sides of the border, a fact that will be evident at the AED Summit Feb. 10-13. TOM VAN DUSEN JR. has written for daily and weekly newspapers in Canada for more than 40 years. A freelancer based near Ottawa, Ont., his specialties include the general economy, politics, agriculture and the environ- ment. He can be reached at 613-445-3407, email@example.com. ("Ottawa Briefing Dives into Hot Issues for Canadian Distributors" continued from page 45) 0RGHOHGRQUHFXUULQJVHVVLRQVZLWK86 government and sector leaders held in Washington, D.C., AED's Ottawa Briefing was prepared in cooperation with the North American Equipment Dealers Association and the Canadian Construction Association.