October 4, 2023

We need more Alberta in Ottawa

If you’ve been out and about in Ottawa this week, you might have seen a large delegation of Alberta business leaders pounding the pavement through the streets of our nation’s capital. And you might be wondering why.

One of the largest and broadest businesses delegations ever from Alberta descended on Ottawa from Oct. 2-4. Over 50 CEOs and top business leaders from every key industry have been meeting with members of every major party, including senior cabinet members and the Prime Minister’s office. 

Why? Because we know that in some ways, the current Alberta is not well understood in the rest of the country. We are unknown and unexpected, and that’s on us to help solve.

Canada has the opportunity to lead, and Alberta wants to help. The world needs solutions to some of its greatest challenges: reliable and affordable energy with reduced emissions, more healthy and sustainable food, critical minerals, advancements in medicine and wellness, and innovations developed through artificial intelligence and quantum computing. 

With that in mind, I—along with my colleagues at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, Calgary Economic Development, and Edmonton Global—partnered to do two things here in Ottawa.

First, share a renewed narrative about our province. 

Today’s Alberta is so much more than how we have been historically perceived, and we want to share with the rest of the country what we’re all about now. 

We are a big and diverse place. Alberta’s population will soon hit 5-million. Record numbers of people are moving to the province from across Canada and the world because they see opportunity and potential. That’s why Alberta is now Canada’s third most diverse province.

We have a thriving and highly diverse economy. We are on track to lead the country in economic growth, led by the province’s famous energy industry, but also with agriculture, technology, manufacturing, transportation, and logistics playing a significant role.

Your western neighbours have developed many innovations that are changing the world: the fastest growth in renewable power in Canada, the world’s largest carbon capture project, the world’s largest net-zero hydrogen project, a Nobel Prize for hepatitis research, and world-leading economic partnerships with Indigenous communities. Not to mention the culinary essentials of ginger beef and the Caesar.

The second reason we’re knocking on the doors of ministers, senators, and MPs from across the country is to reinforce Canada’s opportunity to lead. 

To be truly globally competitive, and live up to our ambitions and responsibilities, we need an immense alignment of policy, investment, and incentives—more than we have ever done before. 

That starts with a strong and united narrative to the world that Canada is the place that will help solve the world’s challenges in fields like food, energy, and wellness, and that we are open for business. That needs to be coupled with a practical resource and climate policy, predictable regulatory approvals and permitting processes, improved innovation and research, frameworks for Indigenous participation and investment, and world class public policy to ensure that Canadians can access the best quality of life.

Doing this will take a whole-of-government and industry effort, regional engagement and collaboration, and a more than a little bit of hard work and commitment.

Alberta has been a major player in Canada’s prosperity historically, and we care about our country and environment. We want to be part of the solution that puts Canada on the global stage in tackling the challenges of our time. That’s why your fine city has had more than its usual share of Albertans this week. We’re reaching out a hand, and saying one thing to everyone who will listen: Canada can lead. Alberta wants to help.

Adam Legge is the president of the Business Council of Alberta. The ‘One Alberta, One Canada’ delegation is a collaboration between the Business Council of Alberta, Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, Calgary Economic Development, and Edmonton Global.

As appeared in the The Hill Times.

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