Entries in Election (4)

Wednesday
Jul222015

Jobs, jobs, jobs: Federal Election 2015

With most of the candidates in place for the Peterborough-Kawartha, Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock and Northumberland-Peterborough South ridings, it’s time to start breaking down the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) 2015 Federal election platform called “A Canada That Wins”.  

In his presentation at the March Peterborough Chamber Annual General Meeting, Hendrik Brakel Senior Director, Economic, Financial & Tax Policy at the CCC spoke to much of what is in the official platform.  As with the provincial election and to an extent the municipal elections in 2014, jobs are quickly becoming a main focus of this campaign. The following is a segment called “5 Minutes for Business:  The Top 3 Issues in the Federal Election – Jobs, Jobs, and Jobs” penned by Brakel.   

"Jobs are always a top issue in a federal election, but with this shaky economy, it’s fast becoming the number one priority. Opposition parties have made much of the recent bad news: in the first quarter, Canada’s GDP shrank by 0.6%, exports tumbled 5.6% and corporate profits fell by 14% as the drop in oil prices slammed the Canadian economy.

And yet the Canadian labour market has held up well, adding an average of 20,000 jobs per month since the beginning of 2015. In fact, Canada added a rip-roaring 59,000 jobs in May. What gives? Where are these jobs coming from in the midst of economic despair?

Our regional differences are as stark as ever. Energyrich provinces once drove job creation while the manufacturing sector of Central Canada lagged behind. Now lower oil prices and a weaker Loonie have flipped the numbers. Still, the outlook is very mixed.

There are now 25,000 fewer jobs in the Alberta oil patch, but there is good reason to believe that the worst is behind us. Firstly, oil prices have stabilized around the $60 range and are headed slightly higher. The market no longer fears a drop to $20 as Citibank had predicted. Secondly, oil sands projects require huge upfront investments, but once those are made, they can go on producing for years with relatively low costs. And they need to keep operating continuously: most can’t be shut down without damaging the equipment. Thirdly, new investments are on-track with 10 new oil sands projects scheduled to start this year and 7 set for 2016 with total capacity over 300,000 barrels per day, according to Oil Sands Review. These are probably safe because once they’re partially paid for, “you don’t stop a project mid-cap-ex”. Some exploration and drilling activity has been scaled back, but job losses should ease.

In manufacturing, the outlook is much improved and the parties have all pledged support for the sector, which is certainly welcome. The challenge is that manufacturers are increasing production by investing in capital and new technologies: they’re becoming more efficient and more competitive. As a result, we’ll see an impressive resurgence in manufacturing and exports, but it may not translate into big job gains.

The political parties are missing the big picture by focusing so much on jobs in manufacturing and natural resources because together they account for just 11% of the labour force. The overwhelming majority (78%) of Canadian employment is in the service sector and recently it’s been the fastest growing part of our economy.

Services are a poorly understood grab bag of different occupations. It’s sometimes perceived as low-paying because it includes retail and restaurants, but there are also scientists, engineers, lawyers and financiers.

Over the past year, Canada’s fastest job growth is in sectors like business and support services (up 4.5% compared to last year), education (up 4.1%), finance and insurance (up 3.5%) and professional, scientific and technical (up 1.7%), while retail has barely budged (0.3%). And the gains in high-end services employment are spread right across the country.

With the election just around the corner, we would love to hear a politician say: “we need highly specialized skills to compete and succeed in the service economy. That’s why we must invest in Canadian education and training to make it the best in the world.”

Our Peterborough Chamber members and members of the public interested in the economy have the opportunity to make their voices heard at a meeting held by the Peterborough-Kawartha federal liberal candidate, Maryam Monsef.  The meeting is Friday, July 24, 2015 from 8-10am at the Holiday Inn.  Liberal MP Ralph Goodale will also be in attendance.  

Also running in the Peterborough-Kawartha Riding are Mike Skinner for the Conservatives and Dave Nickle for the NDP. In Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock running for MP are Jamie Schmale as the Conservative candidate, David Marquis for the Liberals, Mike Perry for the NDP, and William MacCallum for the Green Party. In Northumberland-Peterborough South Adam Moulton is running for the Conservatives, Kim Rudd for the Liberals, Russ Christianson for the NDP, and Patricia Sinott for the Green Party.

For more election information you can check out the Peterborough Chamber’s 2015 Federal Election Hub on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fedelection2015ptbo

The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce does not endorse any one candidate, but we encourage and support all candidates, which is the reason for the page. The Chamber works with all elected representatives municipal, provincial and federal. 

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn. 

Wednesday
Jun242015

"A Canada that Wins" is good for Peterborough

October 19, 2015 is the date for the next federal election in Canada.  That is just under 17 weeks away.  Elections are always an interesting time because the process causes the voting public to reflect on the past four years and look ahead with an eye to the guidance required in the next four years.  

The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is part of a network that prides itself on being non-partisan.  As a business network we advocate for a better business climate that allows businesses the opportunity to compete and thrive in their own communities, across the province, the country and at the international level.  That means the Chamber must be flexible enough to work with any elected government to see these goals achieved.  The network prides itself on presenting ideas and different ways of approaching the challenges facing the Canadian economy.  The solutions presented come from the voice of businesses across the country and right here in Peterborough. 

What is the list of business priorities as we gear up for Election Day?  In March at the Greater Peterborough Chamber Annual General Meeting, Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Senior Director of Economic, Financial & Tax Policy Hendrik Brakel gave us a sneak preview of the CCC’s approach to Election 2015. 

"Election years are very exciting from a policy point of view, in that, there are challenges and opportunities," said Brakel. The challenge is that decisions are filtered through an election lens and the opportunity is that the economy is the number one issue and that's the realm in which the business community operates.

"Elections are a very good time to influence government," he added.

The platform presented by the Canadian Chamber titled "A Canada that wins" is based on the needs of every successful business. 

In the following press release issued in May, the CCC made public the priorities the business community wants its next government to address.  

“We are expressing the priorities of our members to candidates across the country in our 2015 federal election platform, with the firm intention of ensuring all parties will be mindful of these issues – and develop concrete plans to address them if their party forms government,” explained the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

By presenting this document early in the pre-campaign stage, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is setting the stage for collaboration with candidates and parliamentarians in crafting forward-thinking, long-term public policies that foster a globally competitive business sector. In order to concentrate efforts, the Canadian Chamber has applied a laser-like focus on competitiveness. It has grouped public policy priorities into the four factors that are critical to business competitiveness:

  1. Access to a powerful workforce
  2. Access to capital
  3. Access to technology and innovation
  4. Access to markets

These four key areas were identified by the Canadian Chamber’s members, from small enterprises to multinationals, as the priority targets for immediate change in order to allow Canada to compete on the global markets. “Canada is racing against the greatest competitors in the world’s toughest marathon—the global economy—and we are losing ground to the frontrunners. Our next government has to provide us with the policy tools to turn this around,” explained Mr. Beatty.

He concluded by saying, “Canadian businesses will have to face many challenges in the years ahead, but I am confident that the next government will hear us. By working together, we can make our country a more prosperous nation, a more competitive nation. We can help shape a Canada that wins.”

An interesting and exciting election is on the way on many fronts for the Peterborough area.  Peterborough riding currently doesn’t have a sitting Member of Parliament and the MPs for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock and the current Northumberland riding have decided not to run for re-election.  This means the newly elected MPs will be bringing fresh perspectives to the job.  

With new riding boundaries in place the entire area of the City and County of Peterborough will be represented by three MPs, up from the current two. The Chamber network, of which  the Peterborough Chamber is a member, is effective because of strength in numbers, so it could bode very well for the Peterborough region to have a team of three in the House of Commons.   

The full report “A Canada that Wins” 

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn. 

Wednesday
Apr012015

What business needs to know about the Canadian economy

On Friday, March 27th, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce held its 126th Annual General Meeting with about 45 members at the Holiday Inn Peterborough Waterfront.   Along with approving the actions of the Board of Directors and financial statements for 2014, the attendees heard from Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Senior Director of Economic, Financial & Tax Policy Hendrik Brakel.  

Brakel broke down the current state of the Canadian economy from the impact of the US economic recovery to oil to Canadian household debt. 

“Business investment and exports are how the Canadian economy will grow in the near future,” he told the crowd.  “Ontario will be leading the way on both of those fronts for Canada.” 

Oil prices will rebound, Canadian interest rates will remain low and we will see emerging markets slowing their growth compared to recent trends.  One word of caution from Brakel was that the Canadian consumer needs to take a break and start paying down debt. 

Brakel also spoke about the upcoming federal election and on which issues the CCC will be focusing.  

"Identifying the needs of businesses across the country is the first step," says Brakel.  "We know what businesses need to be effective: people, capital, technology and innovation, access to markets and an efficient regulatory environment."

From that the issues flow. The Temporary Foreign Worker file has been a struggle for certain industries since the new rules came into effect last June.  There will be a push for a better approach to environmental regulations and ways to manage our natural resources, along with addressing the skills gap in the labour market, improving access for Canadian goods in new markets and creating a climate for innovation and technology.

 

Thursday
Sep182014

Opening communication between voters and candidates

Information is gold during an election and even more so during a municipal election where there are often a significant number of candidates. In the City of Peterborough there are six candidates for Mayor and five in each of the five wards. That’s at least 11 people whom a voter has to learn about before heading to the polls on Monday, October 27th. In the eight townships that make up the County there are 86 candidates, including a number who have been acclaimed. 

As a result of this need and the fact that there are candidates looking to get their information out to the public the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce created the Peterborough Chamber 2014 Municipal Election Hub page on Facebook
(https://www. facebook.com/ptboelection2014). 

“The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce does not endorse any one candidate,” says Stuart Harrison, President and CEO of the Chamber. “In fact, that policy is what drove us to create this hub of information. The page is open to all candidates and residents in the City and County and is another resource to learn about the issues and people looking for a seat on council.” 

Candidates are also encouraged to share their information. What are you hearing in the community? Tell us about your town hall events, office openings, and informational writings.

Comment on this article through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.