The Coalition for a Better Future engaged MPPs in sustainable economic growth policy discussions

In a campus visit with Master of Public Policy candidates May 9, 2023, the Coalition for a Better Future co-chairs Lisa Raitt and Anne McLellan along with Shell Canada President and Country Chair, Vice President Emerging Energy Solutions Susannah Pierce discussed how Canada needs better public policies to ensure long-term, economic growth that’s inclusive and sustainable for future generations. The conversation was moderated by current MPP Harshini Vangal Natesa Ramesh and discussed Canada's trajectory toward net zero by 2050, oil and gas companies' role and obligation in the energy transition, decarbonizing energy sources and incentivizing consumers, and ensuring not only that Indigenous communities are represented but that the social impacts upon them are recognized.

"We are already leaders in our communities, workplaces, and schools," Ramesh said of the Max Bell MPP cohort and students across Canada. "It is crucial for key decision-makers in both private and public sectors to keep engaging with us and other young leaders in conversations like this. The choices made today impact us and future generations, so we must be included in the fight for climate action."

“Economic growth is not your grandfather's economic growth, it is completely different these days. We need better public policy around it. We need better tools,” Raitt said. Raitt, vice-chair of global investment banking at CIBC, formerly the Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition, and having served in the House of Commons for eleven years, she held three portfolios as a Conservative cabinet minister: natural resources, labour and transport. “Your decision makers are setting out what economic growth is going to be looking like for the next 20 years because of the decisions that they're taking right now in public policy. And I think it's an incredibly exciting time to be involved.”

McLellan agreed, saying it’s integral for all Canadians, civil society and businesses to “figure out how, by 2030, we have the most inclusive, most sustainable, competitive economy in the world.” She said without aspirational targets and without a plan, complacency sets in – to the detriment of our country. McLellan is senior advisor at Bennett Jones in Edmonton, was a former Deputy Prime Minister, a Liberal MP from 1993-2006 and held multiple ministerial portfolios including: Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Justice, and Natural Resources. “Canadians are good at complacency. But maybe we're not so good at being ambitious,” McLellan said, noting that’s why it was important for the Coalition to travel across the country on their Campus Tour to speak to Canadian youth who will be affected the most by the decisions made today. “We need a plan for economic growth. We have to execute and take that word to heart: execute.”

Much of the conversation looked towards a future of a more prosperous Canada. Pierce said, “For successful enterprise and economic development, we really do need to make sure we're keeping our eye on the ball and good public policy. How competitive is Canada? And is growth actually being inclusive, are we actually becoming a more prosperous society? We've got to ask ourselves this question.”

The Coalition represents a diverse community of like-minded organizations in the private and not-for-profit sectors, unified in the belief that economic growth is necessary for job creation, rising incomes, a cleaner environment, and a better quality of life. The Coalition’s Scorecard tracks Canada’s progress on 21 key economic, social, and environmental indicators over the next decade over three key themes: Winning Globally, Living Better and Growing Sustainably.

“We're agnostic on the public policy levers to get to economic growth. It's not enough just to study, you’ve got to measure,” Raitt said. “The purpose is to measure where we are as a country when it comes to economic growth. But the economic growth can't just be same old, same old. It's got to be inclusive, and it's got to be sustainable.”

Read more about the Coalition's campus visit on their blog.

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