The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce recently co-hosted an informal “roundtable” of local business representatives organized to provide input on business issues to two Federal Opposition Members of Parliament, including Conservative House Leader Candice Bergen and Sarnia-Lambton MP Marilyn Gladu.
“We were rolling out a ‘defend local jobs’ initiative across the country, an opportunity to hear from local job creators on issues such as NAFTA,” said Gladu. “Pairing up with the Chamber seemed like a natural fit.”
There was significant representation from the local manufacturing sector as well as the petrochemical industry and the conversation began by talking about recent government initiatives, including a carbon tax.
A summary of the key points offered by Chamber members in attendance included the need to:
- Eliminate uncertainty
- Use the U.S. government’s stance on trade being a security issue to get Canadian pipelines built
- Reduce taxes to a level that is competitive with the U.S.
- Settle NAFTA negotiations
- Encourage trade with other countries
- Break down provincial barriers
- Promote the $2 billion in new support programs established by the federal government to help workers and businesses in the steel, aluminum and manufacturing industries.
- Promote Sarnia-Lambton’s bio-hybrid industry
- Provide universal child care to free up money so it can be reinvested in the economy
- Produce more Canadian-made goods
- Support and move forward on the Trans Pacific Partnership and CETA (the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreements) and increase trade with countries besides the U.S.
- Make a compelling case to invest in Ontario by being more competitive on environmental regulations, energy costs and taxes
- Increase recognition of Sarnia-Lambton as a significant international gateway and our contribution to the national economy when it comes to trade
- Scrap the carbon tax
- Train workers for the skills and jobs that our economy needs
- Build trust in politicians and be less critical
- Invest in capital
Gladu said, in review of the roundtable, that there is a need to better communicate the benefit of existing laws, including one that allows Canadian businesses that import raw materials from the U.S. to receive rebates on any tariffs after the finished products are exported.