Vancouver, March 4, 2020 – A growing chorus of business, Indigenous and community leaders are calling for a commitment to certainty and future prosperity following weeks of economic disruption.
Rail blockades and challenges with respect to numerous significant infrastructure projects representing billions of dollars of investment are symptoms of very serious problems requiring urgent action.
Blockades have caused havoc and uncertainty in people’s lives, relationships and supply chains and have negatively affected a quarter of Canada’s small business owners.
More broadly, uncertainty about the timeliness of decision making around major projects and whether decisions, once made, count for anything has become a serious problem. Billions of dollars that could have supported well-paying jobs, reconciliation for all Canadians, and the means to improve Indigenous and non-Indigenous health care, education and other important social goals have been sacrificed.
Compromise and common purpose are key to the functioning of democracy. We must continue to build an inclusive economy and society for all Canadians—and cannot allow a handful of uncompromising minority voices to undermine this collective progress.
Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders have had considerable success working toward economic reconciliation. Events of the past few weeks clearly demonstrates that more needs to be done.
Now is the time for all Canadians to stand together to build a modern, competitive, sustainable country – one which continues economic reconciliation with Indigenous people; one which balances economic growth with environmental protection by providing a practical, realistic and achievable regulatory framework; and, one which promotes an inclusive and prosperous society based on respect for all Canadians.
This must begin with strong leadership by federal and provincial authorities to restore order without further delay. It continues with a strong focus on the foundations required of a modern economy, including ensuring clear pathways for projects to get to timely decisions that can be respected.
We encourage those interested who support this message to share it, and endorse it on the Confidence In Canada website: www.confidenceincanada.com
Signatories and Quotes:
“First Nations across the country are building relationships and partnerships that are bringing us back into control of our own destiny, these relationships are giving us a foundation to protect what is important and build sustainable economies that will increase human well-being and opportunity in our communities. The shutting down of vital infrastructure is only setting the cause back and making a better tomorrow that much farther out of grasp.” Dallas Smith, President of Nanwakolas Council
“We ask the Federal and Provincial authorities to implement fair, meaningful Government to Government working relationships with Indigenous peoples.” Wilf Adam, Lake Babine Nation
Chief Rick McLean
Tahltan Band Council
Chief Joe Alphonse
Tsilhqot’in National Government
Chief Willie Sellars
Williams Lake Indian Band
“Canada has lost its way. Our current path undermines our immense potential as a nation and as a preferred provider of lower carbon natural resources and energy that reduces global and local climate emissions while advancing Canadian technology solutions. Looking forward together, we need to stand up to those who seek to divide us and commit to accelerating and celebrating the thousands of ongoing relationships and partnerships between business and Indigenous communities. These partnerships are based on mutual respect, certainty and a common purpose, and they can resolve our challenges and advance shared prosperity, particularly when strengthened through practical, focused government leadership.” Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia
“Without a clear path forward, peoples’ livelihoods, our communities and the economy will continue to be negatively impacted. We need strong leadership that will unify our country and move forward towards a brighter future that will benefit all Canadians.” Bridgitte Anderson, President and CEO, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
“The people with the most to lose in this moment are average, hard-working Canadians. We’re going to create a platform to amplify these voices and prove to ourselves, as a nation, that Indigenous prosperity, economic sustainability and a healthy environment can be achieved. Indeed, Canada can and will do it better than anyone else.” Val Litwin, President and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce
“We have to find our way out of this mess and back to a place where compromises are made for the good of the country. The moderate middle needs a stronger voice.” Laura Jones, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategic Officer of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business
“A dysfunction has settled into our politics that is turning away investors, stifling the creation of family supporting jobs, and making it nearly impossible to get the kind of infrastructure built that we need to increase our competitiveness. Canada is now being labelled a place where it is simply too difficult to get things done, or worse, a place where regulatory approvals and stakeholder agreements are not worth the paper they are printed on.” Chris Gardner, President, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association
“We are a resource rich country and I believe we have a responsibility to share our abundant energy resources with the rest of the world. In the process, we can demonstrate that Canada is a great place to conduct business and change the lives of indigenous and northern communities.” Peter Zebedee, President and CEO, LNG Canada
“We, as Canadians, need to remember that the things that unite us are much stronger and more enduring than those things that divide us. Canadians have a history of working together to accomplish shared goals and deliver prosperity for all. We did not become one of the best countries in the world in which to live by dividing each other along political or social lines. Our leaders – whether they be federal, provincial or Indigenous – must work together in the spirit of collaboration to right our ship and ensure we remain the best place in the world to live, work and raise our families.” Chris Bloomer, President and CEO, Canadian Energy Pipeline Association
“Canada is a world leader not only in climate policy, but also in oil and natural gas production. And yet, Canada has an ongoing inability to see major projects through to success. This is posing a real challenge to Canadians and the health of our economy. The long-term success of our resource sector has real implications on Canadians and their ability to make a living and support their families.
Recent events, like Teck’s decision to withdraw its project application from consideration, further damages Canada’s reputation as a reliable, productive nation that welcomes innovation and opportunity. To date, it’s been the energy sector that has taken most of the blows, but we must ask ourselves about the long-term implications for all Canadian industries.
That’s why our coalition of concerned voices is calling on all levels of government to make it a priority to restore confidence in Canada.” Tim McMillan, President and CEO, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
“It’s time for our leaders to come together and create a framework that moves our nation beyond this economic and social impasse. Canada must do what’s right for our entire country’s future and our nation’s shared prosperity. Let’s move forward now and ensure economic reconciliation enters into the equation – for all nations and generations.” ted LAU, CEO, Ballistic Arts Media Studios, and Chair, NEXT Leaders Council of BC
“Canada’s supply chain must include ports and waterways that are managed as part of a systems approach. A predictable and resilient supply chain will support Canada’s reputation as a competitive global trading nation.” Robert Lewis-Manning, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Shipping
“Natural resource development is at the core of Canada’s economy and is key to a rising standard of living for Indigenous peoples and all Canadians living in rural and urban communities alike. If we cannot find a more constructive pathway forward in Canada, we will miss our opportunity to be a world-leading exporter of responsibly produced low carbon commodities and products, and advance economic reconciliation with Indigenous communities while generating economic and social benefits for all Canadians.” Michael Goehring, President and CEO, Mining Association of British Columbia
“It is critical we come together as a country to work on these important issues and ensure that middle class jobs can be protected. BC’s marine sector relies on a diverse group of participants coming together to find balance, so we can continue to strengthen the communities we operate in.” Robert Wilds, Executive Director, BC Marine Terminal Operators Association
“LNG is about opportunity. British Columbians have been building an inclusive and environmentally responsible LNG industry for over a decade that has already provided billions of dollars in benefits to local communities and First Nations. The agreements signed with First Nations in British Columbia are truly precedent setting in Canadian resource development. And, LNG can help Canada play an important role in providing a tool the world needs to help reduce global carbon emissions. It is time for Canadians to move forward together.” Bryan Cox, President and CEO, BC LNG Alliance
“British Columbia is recognized globally for producing high-quality, safe, nutritious food and agricultural products. Without a reliable supply and delivery system, our domestic and global customers will lose confidence and turn to other countries to source their food, leaving local farm businesses at risk of losing hard earned markets. Agriculture continues to suffer from the effects of events that remain out of our control such as the gas pipeline rupture, rail strikes and trade disputes. Reversing the impact of this is a long and difficult process.” Stan Vander Waal, President BC Agriculture Council
“Canada is lost in a morass of public policy. But there can be a path forward. All Canadians, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, recognize that development of and access to affordable, reliable energy is key to good jobs, individual prosperity and the economic development of our country. We must recognize that all energy development, including renewables, has an impact on our environment. Therefore, the path forward for public policy must show a balance of all three interests: energy, economic development, and critically, the environment. A fourth element of participation by Indigenous partners in major infrastructure is essential to satisfy all Canadians that we have a common interest of economic reconciliation.” Gary G. Mar, QC, President & CEO, Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC)
“Canada is at a crossroads when it comes to major energy projects and investor confidence. Recent events have demonstrated that our political institutions, public discourse and regulatory regime are fractured – and the world is taking note. This dysfunction means that Canada misses out on major jobs and revenue; it’s also signaling to investors that this is not the right place for their investment dollars. Those opportunities are going to more sophisticated jurisdictions that have the vision and strategic approach to get national resources projects approved and built. Major system change is needed now if Canada and its citizens are to see continued benefit from its bountiful natural resource endowments.” Paul de Jong, President, Progressive Contractors Association of Canada
“Canada and B.C. are comprised of small businesses that are being adversely affected by the deadlock, whether that be on their job sites or the movement of goods. This uncertainty has many ripple effects across our economy and the time is now to collaborate on a solution to end the disputes.” Neil Moody, CEO Canadian Home Builders’ Association of B.C.
“It’s encouraging that the government and Wet’suwet’en leaders were able to agree on a promising new protocol for future projects, but this doesn’t resolve the disputes that are happening now and central to the blockades and disruption we’re seeing across Canada. We must respect Indigenous rights and at the same time allow our skilled tradespeople safe access to build the projects which have been legally approved and which they have been hired to build. Infrastructure projects are key to our federal and provincial economies and their success depends on meaningful and timely collaboration and respect between industry, government and Indigenous elected and hereditary leaders. We all need to get much better at this.” Chris Atchison, President, BC Construction Association
“We are at a crossroads that requires strong leadership or we risk losing thousands of family-supporting jobs and the economic benefits that come with a sustainable and growing infrastructure industry. BC Road Builders are proud to support responsible resource development across the province through the building and maintaining of our critical transportation corridors. Certainty on the land base is required to enable the free flow of goods across the country and the economic certainty that investors seek.” Kelly Scott, President & CEO, BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association
“Canadians rely on the free flow of good across our country to enable our daily lives and create economic activity that supports prosperity for all. Disruption in our supply chains not only damages Canada’s reputation as a global trading nation, but also impacts each of us directly.” Dave Earle
President & CEO, British Columbia Trucking Association
“The City of Terrace continues its strong support for both the LNG Canada and the Coastal GasLink projects that are located next door to us. The responsible consultation process, professionalism, high degree of expertise, concern for the environment have given our community confidence that LNGC and CGL will be completed to the highest standards in the world. Our community and neighbouring indigenous communities have had the good fortune to gain many benefits and opportunities. One of the advantages of mega projects such as these ensures all Canadians have access to world class healthcare and education, something we must not take for granted. Let’s work together to ensure we stay focused on what a great country we live in.” Carol Leclerc, Mayor of Terrace
“We are watching billions of dollars leave our country, causing international investors to question whether or not Canada is truly open for business. It is critical that we have strong leadership in place to help ensure our resources get to market successfully. With responsible resource development comes job creation and capital investment, all of which are essential to healthy and sustainable communities.” Dale Bumstead, Mayor of Dawson Creek
“Our nation is in the hands of those who do not have our best interests at heart. The knowledge of and respect for our resource industries that provide for our quality of life and revenue for education, healthcare etc. is lost. Uncertainty is the Achilles’ tendon for communities and provinces and we need our leaders to stand up to the forces that seek to divide us as Canadians.” Lori Ackerman, Mayor of Fort St John
“We believe that the proponents have been thorough and forthright in community and First Nations engagement and consultation, including gaining support from communities and First Nations across Northern BC. Our community is very pleased with the opportunities LNG Canada provides us. I would also like to acknowledge and support other communities whose day to day lives are being impacted by the protests.” Mayor Phil Germuth, District of Kitimat
The BC Chamber is the largest and most broadly-based business organization in the province. Representing more than 125 Chambers of Commerce and 36,000 businesses of every size, sector and region of the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce is “To Know What’s on BC’s Mind.”
For more information, contact:
Director, Communications, BC Chamber of Commerce
E: [email protected]