Plastics on Parliament Hill

By Carol Hochu, President and CEO, CPIA
2014-03-01

imgcmrGYELJHv.pngTwenty-four CPIA members and guests spanning Canada (from BC to NS and in between) and the U.S. travelled to Ottawa on March 4 for CPIA’s Lobby Day on Parliament Hill.  

Divided into 5 teams, CPIA members met with key influencers to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the Canadian plastics industry. Our messages included:

  • who we are and why we are important;  
  • our commitment to innovation and sustainability;  
  • our issues and challenges; and what we need (a long term Canadian exemption to “Buy America”; a long-term planning horizon to recapitalize technology and equipment to compete including extension of the ACCA; and  
  • a focussed energy strategy that includes natural gas, energy efficiency and energy recovery).

Overall, we met with 21 influencers including 12 MPs, two Ministers, one Senator, and five senior bureaucrats (including one Director General and 3 Assistant Deputy Ministers). 

imgEAkbeduoTX.pngIn between morning and afternoon meetings, attendees heard from our guest luncheon speaker, Robert Carberry. Carberry is the Assistant Secretary of the Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC).  The RCC  commits both countries to finding ways to reduce and prevent regulatory barriers to cross-border trade, because simplifying rules and reducing red tape lead to lower costs for business and consumers, and ultimately to more jobs.  Mr. Carberry reviewed current progress made under the Joint Action Plan, and next steps for advancing U.S.-Canada regulatory cooperation. He also highlighted opportunities for the CPIA to be more involved in the work of the RCC.

The event culminated with a reception for Members of Parliaments and Senators at the beautiful Fairmont Chateau Laurier hotel.

To borrow from Julius Caesar, “We came, we saw, we conquered!” or at least that is what it felt like.  But do not just take it from me, here is what attendees had to say:

“A new experience for me, as well as my first introduction to the CPIA, and for me the biggest take away was the value ascribed to the parliament hill day by the CPIA members - clearly, the CPIA has an important role to play as a national voice for the industry.”

“I found out that the MP's and government officials do value and do need input from stakeholders. They have varying degrees of understanding of the complex issues facing our industry so the more we can clearly communicate to them our concerns and issues the better.”

“This was a very valuable event. It is clear there are some very important issues that need to be addressed both at the federal and provincial level in our industry, and we need to play an active part.”

Many thanks to all who attended this important event, I appreciate your investment of time to travel to our nation’s capital and help carry our concerns.  Thanks also to the team at Global Public Affairs who worked behind the scenes to arrange the meetings and make it all happen.  Finally I want to thank our generous sponsors of this event:  Dow Canada, NOVA Chemicals, IPEX Inc., and Ampacet Canada.

I leave you with this quote on government by Andrew Johnson (17th U.S. President): The life of a [government] lies certainly in the energy, virtue, and intelligence of its citizens.