Public Affairs Update Header
November 10, 2014
In This Issue
Western premiers to ask Ottawa for transportation funding
Province nixes proposed Horseshoe Bay-Nanaimo ferry cuts
Harper to return today from China trip
The Public Affairs Update is your weekly insight, perspective and analysis on politics in British Columbia and Canada.  This newsletter is brought to you by the largest, and most broadly-based business organization in the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce – the Voice of Business in B.C.

Western premiers to ask Ottawa for transportation funding
Premiers from B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan met in Regina last week to discuss transportation infrastructure. The meeting between B.C.’s Christy Clark, Alberta’s Jim Prentice and Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall resulted in a joint call for Ottawa to invest $1 billion to ensure Western provinces’ transportation systems can handle growing demand related to expanded trade with Asian markets.”The complaint is often we don’t have a way to get [Western goods] to [Asian customers] fast enough, and that’s what we’re trying to resolve today,” Clark said.


The meetings also included representation from industry. Alberta Premier Jim Prentice touted the meeting as a positive step forward that will mean better, more co-ordinated joint efforts by the three members of the New West Partnership and industry.


Premier Clark and Premier Prentice also met ahead of the summit. It was the first meeting between the two since the new Alberta premier was sworn in to office in mid-September. The two discussed a number of issues, including trade, Asia Pacific markets and the proposed Northern Gateway Project. The two premiers have promised warmer interprovincial relations than B.C. experienced when Alison Redford was Alberta’s premier.


Province nixes proposed Horseshoe Bay-Nanaimo ferry cuts
It didn’t take the B.C. Government long to respond to BC Ferries’ musings about potential cuts to the Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo route. Minister of Transportation Todd Stone says the service will remain in place and there will be no cuts.Describing the route as an iconic one in B.C., Minister Stone said that the government rejects BC Ferries proposals for passenger-only services between Nanaimo and Horseshoe Bay, or consolidating Horseshoe Bay with the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.


BC Ferries CEO Mike Corrigan says the provincial government’s rejection of route changes limits the company’s ability to balance its books and operate on a sustainable basis. Now, he says either the provincial government needs to provide a bigger subsidy, or ferry fares will have to go up above the rate of inflation. Finance Minister Mike de John says a larger subsidy for BC Ferries is unlikely at this point time.


Harper to return today from China trip
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is slated to return today from a five-day trip to China.The federal government has touted the trip as an opportunity to strengthen the longstanding ties between both countries and set the direction for the future of the Canada-China relationship. Harper’s three stated priorities during the trip have been: increasing trade and prosperity, strengthening people-to-people ties and deepening bilateral relations to best represent Canadian values and interests.


The trip has included:

  • In Hangzhou (November 7 to 8), meetings between Harper, Chinese government officials, and a Canadian business delegation comprised of representatives from a broad range of sectors including clean-tech, agri-food and seafood, aerospace, energy, education, construction, forestry and wood products, and information and communication technologies, to discuss the opportunities China presents Canadian companies to grow their businesses.
  • In Beijing (November 8 to 10), meetings between Harper and the president and premier of China. Discussion topics included science, technology and clean energy.
  • In Bejing (November 10), Harper’s participation in some elements of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting in Beijing before returning to Canada for Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa on November 11.


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This weekly report produced for the BC Chamber of Commerce by Fleishman-Hillard.  While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information included in this publication as of the date of issue, events and government policies are subject to frequent change.  Therefore, the BC Chamber of Commerce and Fleishman-Hillard cannot assume any responsibility for actions taken solely or principally on the basis on the information contained herein.