ACEC on the Hill: Briefs, Coalitions, BBQs and Magazines
December 1, 2005
By Canadian Consulting Engineer
This fall has been a very busy season for ACEC in terms of its government relations efforts over the past few months. In addition to presenting a brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fi...
This fall has been a very busy season for ACEC in terms of its government relations efforts over the past few months. In addition to presenting a brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance and to key Members of Parliament in a series of individual meetings, ACEC, in coalition with four other national associations, launched the www.fixourhighways.ca campaign to promote federal investments in Canada’s national highways system.
In cooperation with six other national associations, ACEC sponsored a unique fundraising campaign for the victims of hurricane Katrina which involved Prime Minister Paul Martin, all three leaders of the opposition parties and the American Ambassador to Canada, flipping burgers at a huge BBQ on Parliament Hill. The event raised more than $150,000.
ACEC also wrote a letter to every Minister, Member of Parliament and Senator to send them a copy of the ACEC magazine Engineering Perspectives, which outlines ACEC’s current positions on national issues. All Parliamentarians also received separately a copy of a special edition of the ACEC newsletter Concept, which explains and promotes Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS).
This year, Ottawa will siphon off more than $6 billion in fuel taxes while investing less than $445 million on the National Highway System (NHS). In response, a coalition of five major business associations, including ACEC, joined by Members of Parliament from all four federal parties, launched a national campaign telling the federal government to “fix our highways.” The coalition is calling on the federal government to ensure stable, long-term investment in the National Highway System, starting with the 2006 Federal Budget.
In conjunction with the official launch of the campaign, the coalition released the results of a survey of all Members of Parliament regarding their support for a “long-term, sustainable National Highway Program for Canada.” The results were definitive — of 110 Members of Parliament who responded, 107, or 97%, supported long-term federal investment in the National Highway System. Respondents came from all parties and all provinces.
As part of the campaign, the coalition also unveiled a new interactive website — www.fixourhighway.ca — allowing Canadians to go online and register their dissatisfaction with the state of the highway system. They can add their names to an e-petition that will be sent to the Prime Minister, they can participate in a survey, and they can post their comments on a bulletin board.
The fixourhighways coalition is made up of ACEC, the Canadian Trucking Alliance, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, the Canadian Bus Association, and the Canadian Construction Association.
ACEC Publications for Parliamentarians
The two ACEC publications that were distributed to Ministers, Members of Parliament and Senators are available on the ACEC website. They are titled Engineering Perspectives and ACEC’s Parliamentary newsletter, Concept.
ACEC Brief to House Finance Committee
On October 26, 2005 ACEC presented a brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. The brief dealt with three issues: (1)Canada’s $22-billion highway infrastructure deficit; (2) the federal government’s procurement system, which promotes “false economies” through low price bidding for professional engineering services; and (3) Canada’s international cooperation program and the trend at CIDA to de-Canadianize Canadian Aid and the decision to abandon investments in infrastructure.
For highways, ACEC recommended an annual federal allocation of $1 billion a year for the next 11 years. ACEC also recommended the adoption of Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) for professional engineering services and the reestablishment of a balance in the CIDA portfolio, to include support for infrastructure in developing countries.
ACEC member-organizations: Association des ingnieurs-conseils du Qubec, Consulting Engineers of Ontario, Consulting Engineers of Nova Scotia; Consulting Engineers of British Columbia, Association of Consulting Engineers of Saskatchewan, Consulting Engineers of Alberta, Association of Consulting Engineers of Manitoba, Consulting Engineers of New Brunswick, Consulting Engineers of Yukon, Consulting Engineers of the Northwest Territories, Consulting Engineers of Newfoundland.