Alberta Economic Corridor

The problem

Everyday, we see news of cities working and focusing on building healthy economies as the foundation for survival, and eventual success, following the impacts of COVID-19. As a province, Alberta has so many encouraging opportunities for future prosperity: record-setting levels of venture capital investment, continuous entrepreneurial growth in new companies and job creation, and exciting reports of major companies expanding their operations to Calgary and Edmonton.

Herein lies an opportunity for collaboration: our two major cities are positioned for great success if we work together. In Canada, the Toronto-Waterloo region is world-renowned, with linkages between universities, researchers, new ventures and established companies. And Alberta? Our own corridor is poised for success.

Each city has unique strengths.

Edmonton is an academic powerhouse with a world-class research university. Edmontonians are, overall, a highly skilled workforce and nearly 10 percent of our population is enrolled in our post-secondary institutions, poised to fill future jobs. We are a city of startups and risk-takers that problem solve and innovate in new ways. As a city, we have been quietly leading the way in technology innovations such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

For decades, Calgary has been an energy leader. They’ve worked to create an environment that fuels head offices and big industry. As a city, they continued to invest in programs that attract global companies to expand their operations there.

Our cities are where we work, live and raise our families.This is where jobs are created, innovation happens and dreams are realized. Together, we will tackle our greatest challenges to drive economic recovery and advance our potential for prosperity and competitive equality. We are competing with the world — not each other. Together we are unstoppable.

If we want Edmonton to move forward and prosper we need to focus on investing in, and unleashing economic opportunity for everyone — regardless of race, gender, economic background, circumstance and location. We need to prioritize our local business environment, find opportunities for joint collaboration, build bridges with our provincial and federal governments, expand our outlook on priorities and create a partnered competitive sales pitch.

The Policy

As Mayor, I will create a municipal environment that prioritizes the needs of our economy — one that is committed to ensuring we are relevant and competitive with a strong focus on accelerating opportunity by prioritizing partnerships that result in impact.

As a first area of focus, I will Formalize an Economic Corridor Partnership with Calgary.

To enable this I will:

  1. Invigorate the restart of the Alberta Innovation Corridor partnership:
    1. Support the collaborative work of our municipal innovation agencies: Innovate Edmonton and Platform Calgary and of our community innovation ecosystem groups: the Edmonton Regional Innovation Network and the Calgary Innovation Coalition.
    2. Expand the partnership to include our most promising industries: life sciences, energy, manufacturing, agribusiness, financial services, creative industries and aerospace and logistics.

  2. Reaffirm and ratify key partnership principles:
    1. A strategic and partnered approach to economic development, foreign direct investment and intergovernmental relations activities.
    2. Coordinated, equitable investment and effort in new programs and services focused on increasing the success of local businesses.
    3. Collaborative sponsorship and activations at key North American and global economic events and summits.

  3. Prioritize and accelerate the Capital LRT line expansion to the Edmonton International Airport.

  4. Advocate in support of a privately developed high speed transportation system between the two cities.

 

The Outcome

Within my first 100 days, I will partner to convene Mayor’s Office Roundtables with business and economic development leaders from Edmonton and Calgary to identify the highest potential partnership opportunities. These small teams will advise Council on immediate policy initiatives and tactical changes our city can take, with three main goals:

  • Business and job creation
  • Growth enabling environment
  • Strategic, partnered investment attraction

As mayor, I will catalyze and help our city leverage our unique and differentiating assets and do things better — to create an Edmonton that works and moves forward faster. We are a city of learners, inventors, innovators and doers, and together, we can ignite our future economy. We are a city worth investing in.