We’re pleased to introduce today’s guest blog by incoming President of the CIFFA National Board of Directors, Gary Vince. Last week Gary participated at an intimate, invitation-only round table of 15 senior industry spokespersons, hosted by Canada’s Transportation Minister. I have to say that it was truly an honour and a pleasure to have been invited to represent CIFFA at the recent “Trade Corridors to Global Markets Roundtable” hosted by our new federal Transportation Minister, The Honourable Marc Garneau. While the words “honour” and “pleasure” may seem like strange bed fellows in the same sentence this particular meeting was in fact structured in a way that truly shows a renewed approach by our Government and its Ministers. Minister Garneau is currently leading a series of “thematic roundtable discussions which will permit him to speak directly to a limited number of Canadians about their priorities and concerns”. The fact CIFFA was an invitee to this roundtable truly speaks to our commitment to governance and to CIFFA’s long term strategic plan. This particular roundtable gave CIFFA an opportunity to table and discuss our recent submission to the Canada Transportation Act Review Panel and the subsequent “Emerson Report” which detailed many of the suggested amendments that need to be considered by the current Government and the Transportation Minister specifically. While the roundtable itself was limited to a two hour session, the four topics/questions provided to us gave all of the attendee’s opportunity to comment on each area, in this open forum, these topics/questions were;
- What are the key strategic priorities for transportation infrastructure and policy in Canada to enable efficient and reliable connections to global markets?
- How can the Government of Canada best engage with our partners and stakeholders to develop a national outlook on trade-related transportation infrastructure priorities?
- What is your view of the partnership model that was used over the past decade to support multimodal transportation infrastructure and policy investments? How can this approach be improved? Is a new model required?
- What kind of information and data on transportation is needed to provide a good evidence base that will allow for analysis to inform investments in trade-related transportation infrastructure?
The theme of this meeting which was provided to us by Shawn Tupper, the Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy, said it all; “Together we will explore the path to move Canada’s transportation system forward “ and based on what I saw and heard during this first roundtable session, we are off to a great start!