Over the weekend of September 21 to 22, I attended the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Saint John New Brunswick.
The Canadian Chamber is Canada’s longest-serving advocacy and service organization representing businesses in all sectors across the nation. In an election year like this, listening to political perspectives from British Columbia to Newfoundland is highly fascinating and talking with delegates from all regions indicates what is dominating voter discussions.
In Atlantic Canada,it appears the colossal issue is health care. Of course heath care has been a priority in every provincial and federal vote in Canada since Confederation, but maritime discussions around doctor recruitment and hospital closures are fervent this year.
Concern around physicians is not confined to the Atlantic Provinces, as our Chamber of Commerce has been working for many years to address the local shortage of family doctors. The Maritimes and Waterloo Region have both been contending with serious challenges related to aging professionals and competition for graduates, so this is no doubt a national debate.
In Saskatchewan, the carbon tax, energy and economic issues are dominating. Many analysts are observing that support for the Green Party platform is very low, originating from the perception they carry an urban agenda that does not incorporate the views of rural and resource based economies. Saskatchewan voters are also highly intrigued by the prospect of the next Prime Minister arriving in Ottawa out of Saskatchewan.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney addressed the audience on September 21 and expressed grave concern for high gas prices in New Brunswick, and that a pipeline from Alberta to the Atlantic provinces would greatly decrease Canadian dependency on imported oil. Kenney noted that people filling up at gas stations in Saint John are paying more for energy because of global instability and conflict across the world in Saudi Arabia, subsequently asking how we can maintain a dependency on imported oil. This situation is, according to the Premier, ridiculous and intolerable.
Someone at the Canadian Chamber AGM from British Columbia told me Jody Wilson-Raybould will win as an independent. As always stay tuned for the answers.