Annual Report 2015: Letter from the Chair
As an economist, I believe that good policy is central to prosperity. That was the idea behind Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission. We would be economists first and foremost, providing sound policy advice on how strong economies and healthy environments are interdependent.
It turned out that other people shared this belief. When funding from some of Canada’s most prominent family foundations came through in the fall of 2013, we were ready to put this belief into action.
Before long, we had assembled some of the best economic- and policy-savvy minds this country has to offer. These people wrote the book on economics in Canada — quite literally in the case of Professor Emeritus Richard Lipsey, whose textbooks have been on students’ reading lists for decades.
Finding an enthusiastic Advisory Board didn’t take much arm-twisting either. Jean Charest, Mike Harcourt and McKinsey & Company’s Dominic Barton said yes pretty much as soon as I popped the question. Other leaders of industry, civil society and the environmental sector were quick to join them.
Today, we have the CEO of Suncor Energy on the same advisory board as the CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation. Former political opponents — Jean Charest, Paul Martin, Preston Manning — are not only in the same room but on the same side. And that’s exactly the point: this is a trans-partisan endeavour.
Now, one year into this five-year project, we are more successful than I had the audacity to imagine. Following the release of The Way Forward, the Globe and Mail came out with an editorial in favour of carbon pricing. Ontario’s Kathleen Wynne referenced us when she spoke about carbon pricing to the conference of provincial premiers in Quebec City. And at an Ecofiscal event in Calgary — the heart of Canada’s oil and gas industry — the CEO of one of Canada’s largest energy companies publicly stated his support for carbon pricing.
We’ve enriched a public discussion that is gaining more traction every day. Meanwhile, we’re fielding requests for quiet conversations behind the scenes to help governments think through sensible policy design. All of this suggests to me that we are achieving exactly what we set out to do.
It’s certainly been quite a year, but with an ambitious agenda lined up for 2016, the work is just getting started.
From the beginning, I’ve known that such an ambitious shift in Canada’s fiscal policy could not be accomplished by one person or by one group. It requires thought leadership from every corner of this country and the support of citizens who embolden our governments to make the right decisions.
Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission added a new voice, and I believe a necessary one, to our national dialogue on the economy and the environment. But we could not have done this without the vision and support of the many individuals who came together to make it all possible.
On behalf of the Commission, we are grateful for the commitment of so many to seek a brighter path for Canada’s economic and environmental future. And we are honoured to help chart that path alongside you.Read our 2015 Annual Report