AED members are undoubtedly familiar with the Washington Fly-In, an annual event featuring equipment dealers and manufacturers lobbying Congress on issues relevant to the industry. However, did you know that the Association hosts a similar event in Canada, known as Parliament Hill Day?
Most trade associations were formed initially to create a unified voice to be heard by the government and to discuss issues and find common ground on policies to grow the economy. The Washington Fly-In and the Ottawa Parliament Hill Day are unique opportunities for members to take part in advocacy activities at the national level.
While AED’s Canadian team is in constant communication with ministers, Members of Parliament and others, elected officials always like to hear directly from those who work on the ground every day. The saying that “all politics is local” still holds true, as Members of Parliament know they must represent their constituency well to get reelected.
Parliament Hill Day, taking place on March 30-31 this year, is the best opportunity for Canadian AED members to participate in advocacy and speak to Members of Parliament about the issues that are impacting them. Last year, members met with dozens of decision-makers and were able to partake in several panel discussions with industry and government leaders. AED delivered a full briefing before the meetings, to discuss the specific issues and how to engage with politicians, but no preparation is necessarily required.
This is because Members of Parliament look forward to hearing from business owners and workers, as well as hearing real-life stories about how federal policies can have a substantial positive or negative impact.
This year, we will be focusing on three main areas. First, Canada continues to be transitioning between energy investments and green technology. Projects like the Trans Mountain Pipeline and LNG Canada are moving ahead, representing billions of dollars’ worth of investments. At the same time, however, governments across the country are looking at new ways to incentivize green projects. Investments on either side benefit AED members, but we must make sure the transition is done correctly and that energy development continues in the short term.
Second, Canada is facing a significant labour shortage that is growing every day. Governments have a responsibility to encourage young Canadians to consider the skilled trades and to incentivize businesses to take on apprentices.
Third, infrastructure investments by the federal government must be made to be more efficient and reliable. This means working with provincial and municipal governments to identify projects in a timely manner.
The Association will continue to advocate on the other issues that affect AED members, but the above three will be advanced during Parliament Hill Day. If any of the three relate to you and you’d like to take an active role in policy development, then I look forward to seeing you in Ottawa on March 30-31.