OTTAWA, May 28, 2015 — Last week, top executives and business groups from Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan issued a joint statement calling for G7 leaders to take action on key global challenges, including climate change and trade.
“In uncertain times, you need to be able to count on your friends. The G7 countries share common values of democracy, human rights and open markets. When our businesses and governments work together, we can develop and implement real solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems,” said Monique Leroux, President and CEO of Desjardins Group and head of the Canadian delegation to the B7 Summit, which took place from May 19 to 20 in Berlin, Germany.
As host of next month’s G7 Summit in Schloss Elmau, the German government had asked for the B7’s input on its proposed agenda. Business leaders met with Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as the German Finance Minister, the Foreign Minister and the President of the Bundestag.
The B7 highlighted the importance of achieving an ambitious outcome at the United Nations climate conference in Paris this fall as well as national measures to improve energy and resource efficiency.
“The G7 needs to be at the forefront of a path towards a new international treaty on climate change that will level the playing field and give innovators and investors more certainty about the future regulatory environment,” said Ms. Leroux.
Canadian business has become more vocal on climate change issues. Steve Williams, the CEO of Suncor, recently made a strong public case for policies that would put a price on carbon in Canada.
“We have to dispel this myth that Canadian business doesn't care about climate change. Canada has the cleanest electricity production in the G7. Oil and gas companies are making significant efforts to reduce their emissions. We're more than ready to look at policies that will help us get to the next level,” said Ms. Leroux.
While the B7 supports the move towards a low-carbon future, it nonetheless underscored the need for governments to put in place policies that enable sustainable oil and gas production. Climate change mitigation should target the demand side of the equation.
International trade was another high priority for the B7. Rising protectionism and the lack of progress on multilateral trade negotiations are of growing concern to B7 businesses, making regional agreements among G7 countries more important than ever.
Canadian business urged German officials to support the ratification of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union.
“CETA is a well-designed and balanced agreement, with rules shaped by decades of experience and lessons learned. It will bring significant gains to our economies and strengthen the trans-Atlantic relationship. A speedy implementation of CETA would signal the G7’s ability to lead on the economic issues that matter to our countries and people,” said Ms. Leroux.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is Canada’s official representative to the B7 and a strong voice in other international forums, such as the B20, the International Chamber of Commerce and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.
“I'm confident that the priorities agreed to by the B7 this year will serve Canadian business well and will be seriously considered by the G7 leaders when they meet next month,” concluded Ms. Leroux.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. Follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.
G. Will Dubreuil
Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce