Alberta introduces new advisory committee


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October 20, 2015 8:15 AM

The government of Alberta announced the establishment of a new group that will try and help it steer the economy on the right track for the duration their term.

Premier Rachel Notley introduced the Premier’s Advisory Committee on the Economy at a press conference on Oct. 15, which she says will advise the NDP as it strives for more economic diversity.

“How do we advance technologies and encourage diversification and development of our renewables? And how do we continue to lead our province forward, building on our unique economic advantages? Most importantly, how do we capture the attention of innovators and investors and convince them that Alberta is the best place to start and grow a business in Canada?” asked Notley at the conference.

“The province’s future is at stake and questions like these need very practical answers and so I’m pleased to announce the establishment of the Premier’s Advisory Committee on the Economy. The committee, which reports to me, will focus on economic development diversification and ways of making Alberta’s economy more resilient.”

This new committee will be led by Joseph Doucet, who is the dean of the University of Alberta’s School of business. Notley described Doucet as a strategic thinker with a firm grasp on the big picture and a thorough understanding of Alberta’s needs and strengths. She says he will oversee a volunteer committee that will help the government create conditions for a varied and resilient economy and that the group’s suggestions will be taken into government consideration at the highest level.

Two other leaders have also accepted positions with the committee as vice chairs. Siobhan Vipond, secretary treasurer of the Alberta Federation of Labour, accepted the position, as did Steve Williams, president and chief executive officer of Suncor Energy.

The rest of the group is made up of seven other members including Marc de la Bruyere, principal and chairman of Maclab Enterprises; Hugh McKenzie, principal at Hugh McKenzie and Associates; Elizabeth Ballermanm, president of Health Sciences Association of Alberta; Nancy Southern, chair, president and CEO of ATCO; Elyse Allan, president and CEO of GE Canada; Dr. Ray Muzyka, founder and CEO of Threshold Impact and Ms. Sue Tomney, CEO of YWCA Calgary.

“It will (provide) the government honest, independent council as to how we can ensure equal returns on the triple bottom line of economic activity,” Notley said. “Social, economic and environmental outcomes. Members will also offer guidance about how the government can with industry to add value and jobs from energy to forestry to agriculture and to spur more creative industries.

“They’ll advise us on identifying, promoting and developing a means of growth beyond energy because the consequence of relying too much on just oil have become painfully clear and they will highlight methods of improving the strength and competitiveness of all sectors by attracting an increase of investment and igniting new forms of innovation.”

The Premier says her plan is to meet with the committee at least quarterly so they can offer their insights and evaluations. Their first meeting is planned for Nov. 4, shortly after the budget is introduced so they can discuss various aspects of the government’s economic plan.

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