NEWS WE ARE FOLLOWING
January 20, 2017
Business groups shut out of NDP pre-budget meetings
Here is a curious way to hold pre-budget consultations in Calgary. Don't invite major business groups to attend.
By Chris Varcoe Calgary Herald
Here is a curious way to hold
Across the province, it's been hit or miss for local chambers to get invited to these pre-budget meetings,
says Ken Kobly
CEO of the Alberta Chambers of Commerce.
consultations in Calgary.
Don't invite major business groups
Finance Minister Joe Ceci held a pre-budget meeting in the city Friday to solicit ideas for the province's next fiscal plan.
The Calgary Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business weren't on the guest list. Nor was the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
In other meetings during the past month, the Alberta Chambers of Commerce and the Edmonton Chamber weren't invited either.
As he prepares for his third budget, Ceci said he decided to change course when hosting such information sessions.
"We are going around the province and have many business groups and representatives of chambers all across the province who have been at various meetings. I wanted to try something different this time," the Calgary-Fort MLA said before Friday's meeting.
"The consultation groups that we've got together now are reflective certainly of business, of community, of leaders, of non-profits. So it's a cross-section of the community and not just going to the chamber."
The finance minister, a former city councillor, spoke to local chamber events around the first two budgets delivered by the NDP government, in 2015 and 2016.
"This is more of kind of an evolution of outreach, as opposed to doing things the way they've always been done," he adds.
It's wise for Ceci to include all kinds of groups and individuals in the process. But it's a funny evolution to prepare a budget during a recession and not seek input from key organizations...