Memorandum for Canada’s premiers and territorial leaders

As you prepare for next week’s meeting of the Council of the Federation, the members of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives wish to assure you of our deep commitment to the goal of slowing, stopping and ultimately reversing the growth in our country’s emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs).

I am enclosing a copy of our Council’s recent Policy Declaration on climate change, titled Clean Growth: Building a Canadian Environmental Superpower. In this statement, we put forward five key propositions that would enable Canada to reduce GHGs and air pollution while making the greatest possible contribution to a sustainable global economy.

If you have not already read Clean Growth, I urge you to do so. Constructive in tone and ambitious in scope, it is the product of extensive consultations and spirited negotiations involving the heads of leading energy-producing and energy-consuming companies in every major industry, in every region of the country. The result reflects an unprecedented consensus among the CEOs of Canada’s largest enterprises on how best to move forward in addressing the global risk of climate change — one that has received widespread media and political endorsement. Achieving agreement on such complex issues is never easy, but Canada’s business leaders have risen to the challenge.

To be effective, however, this impressive consensus in the business community needs to be matched by a corresponding consensus among government leaders across the country. At both the federal and provincial levels, governments have brought forward innovative and creative proposals for driving progress in reducing GHG emissions. At the same time, we are concerned that insufficient policy coordination and cohesiveness among governments could lead to the imposition of additional costs on businesses and consumers without corresponding environmental benefits.

These are uncertain times for Canada’s economy and for employers and workers across the country. Companies and exporters in every region are struggling to cope with a high dollar, intense competition from emerging economies and, now, the looming spectre of a global recession. In these perilous circumstances, it is more important than ever that governments work together to develop clear goals and timelines, cost-effective programs and a single set of rules for industry and consumers.

Canada’s business leaders urge you to seize the opportunity at next week’s meeting of the Council of the Federation to signal your strong commitment to a Canada-wide approach to climate change policy, one that will position our country to be a model to the rest of the world on how best to achieve environmental and economic success.