Attending the 2014 Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum


Update: On March 4, I delivered a statement in the Senate about the 2014 Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum, which took place last week in Melbourne, Australia. You can read and listen to my statement below.

Read my statement here


This week, I am excited to be participating in the 2014 Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum taking place in Melbourne, Australia. Click here for highlights.

No two countries in the world are more alike than Canada and Australia, in terms of our culture, values and institutions. Ours is a relationship with incredible potential and I look forward to discussing how to advance our partnership with high-level private and public sector leaders from both countries.

Issues that will be considered during the summit include the global economy, international trade, arts and culture, and opportunities in the mining and energy sectors. I am particularly interested to learn more about Australia’s efforts to promote stronger trade, education and cultural linkages with fast-growing Asian economies. Alberta’s economic future is tied to the Asia-Pacific region, beginning with gaining market access for our energy resources.

To prepare for this event, I have met with the Australian High Commissioner to Canada, Louise Hand, as well as several Alberta business leaders whose companies have significant operations and investments in Australia. From natural resources to agriculture, there’s no doubt that Australia is an important partner for Alberta. For example, ATCO’s successful and growing presence in Western Australia.

To learn more about the Alberta-Australia relationship, visit this profile from the Government of Alberta’s Department of International and Intergovernmental Relations.



February 24

In a keynote speech, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott calls for greater cooperation between Canada and Australia.

February 25

Canadian Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty and his Australian counterpart Joe Hockey are keynote speakers. Each emphasizes that Canada and Australia are aligned on the importance of balanced budgets, lowering tax burden and negotiating new trade agreements.

Yuen Pau Woo, CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, leads a panel discussion on Canada and Australia’s experiences in engaging China. There was good discussion of the report “Canada’s Asia Challenge: Creating Competence for the Next Generation of Canadians”:

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird and his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop are keynote speakers. Each emphasizes the importance of strong relationships with Asia. Minister Baird makes excellent points on how we must ensure our young people are “Asia literate.”

February 26

A very informative session on global economic threats and opportunities with Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz and Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens. Clearly macroeconomic policy is in good hands in both Canada and Australia, as both are leading minds.

Tremendous panel moderated by Jack Mintz, Director of the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, on resource imperatives in Asia Pacific and the changing nature of supply and demand. This panel was of great interest given my current work on the Senate’s Energy Committee and the importance of accessing global markets for Alberta’s resources. Representation from Cameco, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and BG Group. I asked how these organizations are working to involve Aboriginal peoples in resource development around the world and they shared very promising models for cooperation.

February 27

During this trip I have been so impressed with vibrancy of Melbourne, a city built around the arts. I believe this demonstrates the value of Canada’s continued commitment to being a country that supports arts & culture to create dynamic and successful communities that attract skilled workers from around the world. At the conference I learned a great deal from a presentation by Gilbert Rozon, the Canadian founder of the Just for Laughs comedy festival, which has become a huge global success. Discussed the tremendous influx of tourist dollars associated with such events and their powerful contribution to national branding. Montreal and Melbourne are excellent civic examples of the power of the arts to drive economic development.