Public Affairs Update Header
October 26, 2015
In This Issue
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 optimistic after Election of PM Trudeau

Canada’s Western premiers welcomed the election of Justin Trudeau as Canada’s next prime minister, saying the change is an opportunity to create a more collaborative working relationship between federal and provincial governments.

BC Premier Christy Clark says that she looks forward to working with Mr. Trudeau. “I know that [Mr.Trudeau] and British Columbians share our hope to build a strong economy and create jobs across the country,” she said. Negotiating a new softwood lumber deal, infrastructure development and increased trade are all priorities for BC, but the top priority remains the development of LNG in BC, said Premier Clark – who also ruled out running for the federal Conservative leadership.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who jousted frequently and publicly with Stephen Harper and his government, said she looks forward to what she hopes will be a new and more productive relationship with the federal government. “I look forward to working collaboratively with [Mr. Trudeau] to build a strong Alberta within a strong Canada,” Premier Notley said. Infrastructure spending, which is expected to be the focus of next week’s Alberta provincial budget, and tackling climate change are Alberta’s top priorities, along with health care and First Nations reconciliation, Premier Notley said.

Mr. Trudeau’s election was also welcomed by Western Canada mayors. Calgary Mayor Naheen Nenshi said the Liberal victory bodes well for Calgary’s Green Line and flood mitigation project. Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson says the election result will be boost city efforts to improve infrastructure, transit, and housing. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said Mr. Trudeau’s promises to support the Broadway subway extension and re-open the Kitsilano Coast Guard base will benefit the city.

Big voter turnout
Justin Trudeau won this week’s federal election, but another winner was voter turnout. Initial numbers show voter turnout up nationally and across Western Canada. The last time voters came out in such big numbers was more than two decades ago, in 1993 – the election that elected Jean Chretien prime minister for the first time, sweeping out the Progressive Conservatives.

Alberta Budget expected to boost infrastructure
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s government will unveil its first budget on Tuesday, October 27. Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci is expected to announce significant investments in infrastructures aimed at stimulating the economy and cushioning the province from oil and gas pains. The hope is that investments in better transit and in rebuilding Alberta’s schools, hospitals, and roads will create jobs and boost GDP until the economy rebounds, which the province forecasts will happen in 2016. The province is expected to run a deficit to pay for the investments. This has prompted expressions of concern from the Opposition Wildrose Party, but generated support from economists and municipal leaders, who say today’s low interest rates make now a good time to borrow.