5th NMMA Canada – “Day on the Hill” Lobby Event

Day on the Hill

May 14, 2017


Best results so far!

By Andy Adams

On May 9th, 2017, the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA Canada) held their 5th “Day on the Hill” lobby event to raise the profile of Canada’s marine industry and to bring our most important issues to the attention of our Federal politicians and key bureaucrats.

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This was the most successful “Day on the Hill” so far, with the largest schedule of meetings and also subjectively, the most positive reception from the politicians. They are getting to know us!

Background on Advocacy and the Federal Government

As important as we believe Canada’s marine industry to be, the Federal politicians and bureaucrats in Ottawa usually have a broad range of responsibilities, to an equally broad range of special interest groups. Canada’s marine industry has long been so far down the list of priorities that we were simply not on their radar at all.

Partly, there is a perception that boating is for a small number of wealthy people. That alone means it has little appeal to the politicians. They are focused on staying in power. That means they need to be seen to be serving the average Canadian – not the elite.

So, the single most important task for the “Day on the Hill” lobbyists is to convince the key people in Government that boating is economically and politically significant.

In preparation for this, NMMA Canada, using a select few key data points from the and NMMA Canada 2016 Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract research, developed an attractive and very clear “leave behind” brochure highlighting the most important points:
• There are 8.6 million recreational boats in Canada
• 59% of boat owners have a household income of less than $100,000
• 12.4 million adult Canadians participated in recreational boating in 2015
• more than 85% of boats in Canada are under 26 feet and can be trailered
• the top five boating activities are fishing, entertaining, nature observation, sightseeing, swimming

In addition, we emphasized to the politicians that the marine industry in Canada has a GDP impact of $5.6 Billion dollars, $10 billion in total revenues, and that about 4,800 marine businesses create 75,434 jobs. Those are significant numbers!

Our “Ask”

A Member of Parliament actually works a very long and fast paced day, often starting before breakfast and running non-stop to 5:00 pm or after, then frequently into the night attending events and meetings. They typically schedule a maximum of 30 minutes for any group to meet with them, and there is a new group almost every hour.

It’s critical that you come with a clear purpose that you want them to act on. It’s called your “Ask”.

The “Day on the Hill” lobbyists have a list of six primary “asks” but, we tailor just one or two of the areas the individual politicians or bureaucrats are involved with.

The 2017 list of “asks” is:
• Maximize Canadians’ water access
• Support Canada’s tourism sector
• Support for the Office of Boating Safety (OBS)
• Reduce trade barriers
• Invest in infrastructure
• Progress on Canada/U.S. regulatory harmonization

The “Day on the Hill” Advocacy Group

Lead by NMMA Canada Vice President and Executive Director Sara Anghel and organized by their advocacy firm, Global Public Affairs, the “Day on the Hill” advocacy group is made up of the NMMA Canada Board of Directors lead by Chairman Tom MacNair. The NMMA also includes the executive directors of Canada’s marine trade associations; Boating BC, the Mid-Canada Marine &Powersports Dealers Association, Boating Ontario Association,Association Maritime du Québec and the Atlantic Marine Trades Association. I am one of three journalists who are invited to join this small and very dedicated group.

Each participant is briefed in advance on the key speaking points in preparation for the day’s meetings. The group is divided into several teams of three to five people each, (even the MPs have fairly small offices) and the groups are matched up with the politicians and bureaucrats who have agreed to see us.

The team at Global Public Affairs are specialists in advocating for groups and causes, know the Ottawa landscape well and on our behalf, they request meetings with our most important political targets.

This year we got the best acceptance so far with 21 meetings confirmed.

Sustained Effort

To get through to the key people in such a demanding environment takes a sustained effort. This was the 5th year where NMMA Canada has organized a “Day on the Hill” group and the results this year were gratifying. We got more meetings booked than ever before. Only one fell through which is excellent given how fast their agendas and priorities can change.

We met with many people who are important to the marine industry and a number of them were seeing us for the second, or even the third time.

They see that we are serious, reasonable and that the marine industry really is economically and politically significant.

Perhaps the most valuable “ask” was a general one and in most meetings, we added it at the end. The last “ask” was that the marine industry be included in discussions on issues that affect boating. Our goal is to be included in the conversation to prevent boating from “unintended consequences” of other regulation and legislation.

It takes relationships to be included in the dialogue and a sustained effort is the only way to get there.

We are appreciative of the time and attention that the NMMA Canada “Day on the Hill” received from the following people:

Richard Garber
Executive Director, Marine Personnel Standards, Pilotage and Medicine,
Transport Canada
Richard actively participates in the Canadian Marine Advisory Council (CMAC) on behalf ofTransport Canada with a focus on marine safety. Richard would oversee the National Pleasure Craft Operator Competency Program at Transport Canada.

MP Stephen Fuhr
(Kelowna–Lake Country)
Stephen chairs the House standing Committee on National Defence and is a member of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group. He represents a boating riding and has not met with NMMA in the past. He will also be interested in regulatory harmonization given his role on the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group.

MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault
(Sherbrooke QC)
Pierre-Luc Dusseault made history as the youngest MP ever elected to the House of Commons. He has chaired two parliamentary committees: the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, and the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. During his first term, Pierre-Luc also served as the NDP’s deputy critic for Democratic and Parliamentary Reform.

Shona Moss Lovshin
Analyst, Business Services to Manufacturing and Consumer Products
Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED)
Former Olympian and gold medalist at the Pan-Am Games in 1991 for sailing Shona participated in the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992.Shona is familiar with NMMA and it was important to discuss NAFTA and other trade issues during her meeting. She also works closely on cross-border issues and regulatory harmonization under Beyond the Borders.

Michelle Saunders
Director, Clean Water Policy
Transport Canada
Michelle works with the Environmental Policy group at Transport Canada. She is familiar with the NMMA and would focus the discussion on engine noise and environmental protections. Michelle will also be active on the Marine Protected Areas file.

MP Luc Berthold
(Mégantic — L’Érable)
Vice-Chair House Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities Committee
Conservative MP, Luc Berthold was first elected in Mégantic-L’Érable in 2015. He was a political attaché to Nathalie Normandeau, and a communications advisor to Jean Charest. In 2015, Luc Berthold was appointed Deputy Critic for the Official Opposition on Infrastructure and Communities.

Mark O’Halloran
Special Assistant, Office of the Hon. Dominic LeBlanc
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Originally from Prince Edward Island, an introduction to the NMMA was important as Mark has not been briefed on our industry atthis level before. He will be working with Environment Canada and Transport Canada closely on a range of files including access to waterways, environmental protection and safety and security. This includes Marine Protected Areas and Navigable Waters Protection Acts.

Allain Berinstain
Director of Policy and Office of the Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau
Allain is the Director of Policy to Minister Garneau. Before joining the Minister’s Office, Berinstain worked at the Canadian Space Agency and it was in Allain’s role at CSA that he first became acquainted with Minister Garneau (a former President of the Canadian Space Agency).Allain is the top political staffer in Minister Garneau’s office as it relates to policy development. He is a key member of Minister Garneau’s team.

Shane McCloskey
Policy Advisor (Marine)
Office of the Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau
Shane McCloskey is a lead policy advisor specific to marine files within the Office of the Ministerof Transport.

Catherine Higgens
Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM), Programs
Transport Canada
Catherine Higgens is the Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy at Transport Canada where she leads the development, recommendation and coordination of modal and multi-modal transportation policies.

Donald Roussel
Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Safety & Security
Transport Canada
Mr. Donald Roussel was recently appointed the Associate Assistant Deputy Minister of Safetyand Security. Prior to his current role, served as Director General, Marine Safety, Transport Canada, starting in 2008. During this time he served as Chairman of the Canadian Marine Advisory Council and the Canadian representative at numerous International Maritime Organization and International Labour Organization meetings for the Marine Sector. Donald has met with the NMMA a number of times and Sara Anghel has developed an excellent working relationship with him.

Jane Weldon
Director General, Marine Safety and Security
Transport Canada
Jane works directly with Donald and Catherine and has been in this role for a year. Prior to thisshe was Director General, Surface Infrastructure programs at Transport Canada for six years. Transport Canada is responsible for transportation policies and programs.

MP Omar Alghabra
Mississauga Centre
Liberal Party
Omar Alghabra was born on October 24, 1969 in Saudi Arabia. A professional engineer licensed in Ontario, he is a graduate of the Mechanical Engineering program at Ryerson University in Toronto and of the Master of Business Administration program at York University. Alghabra has also served on the Community Editorial Board of the Toronto Star. He is Secretary to the Minister of Global Affairs (Consular Affairs).

MP John Oliver
John Oliver was elected as Member of Parliament for the Oakville riding on October 19, 2015. He serves as a member of the Standing Committee on Health, Chair of the Health Research Caucus, Chair of the Liberal Auto Caucus, and Vice-Chair of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association.

MP David Tilson
David Tilson was first elected to the House of Commons in 2004. Prior to entering Parliament, Mr. Tilson enjoyed a distinguished career in law and provincial politics. In 2002, Mr. Tilson served as Vice-Chair of the Ontario Municipal Board, a body that regulates development and planning. David Tilson has been an NMMA Canada supporter for many years and as actively participated in Advocacy Days and local announcements with NMMA.

MP Adam Vaughan
Spadina-Fort York
As an activist and as a journalist, Adam has played a significant role in the social and economic growth of Toronto. Adam Vaughan brings a lifetime of experience to federal politics. Before entering politics, Adam was a broadcast journalist for more than 20 years, specializing inmunicipal affairs for both the CBC and Citytv. Adam Vaughan had not met with NMMA before and it was important to explain the importance of recreational boating in his riding along the Toronto waterfront and across Ontario.

MP Cheryl Hardcastle
Cheryl Hardcastle was elected Member of Parliament for Windsor—Tecumseh in 2015.
In 2016 Cheryl was appointed by NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair to the Subcommittee for International Human Rights, where she sits as Vice Chair. She is also the party critic for Sports and Persons with Disabilities. NMMA want to provide Cheryl an overview and economic importance of recreational boatingin Ontario, focusing on her role related to sport when discussing recreational boating as an accessible activity for the middle class and families.

MP Larry Miller
(Bruce-Grey- Owen Sound)
Mr. Miller was first elected in 2004 and has been re-elected for five consecutive federal elections. Prior to entering federal politics, Mr. Miller was the owner and operator of a beef farm operation. Mr. Miller is an active member of many Parliamentary Groups and Caucuses that deal with issues important to the riding of Bruce-Grey- Owen Sound. He is also a keen boater and fisherman.

MP Wayne Easter
(Malpeque, PEI) – Liberal Co-Chair of the Canada-U.S Inter-Parliamentary Group
Chair of House Finance Committee
In Parliament, Mr. Easter has served as the Solicitor General of Canada, Parliamentary Secretary for both Fisheries and Agriculture, and was critic of Agriculture, Trade, and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. In 2015 Mr. Easter was elected Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.A longtime Member of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group, Wayne was elected Co-Chair of the Canada-US IPG in February 2016.

MP Earl Dreeshen
(Red Deer-Mountain View) – Conservative Vice-Chair, Industry Committee
Earl Dreeshen was elected Member of Parliament for the Red Deer Constituency in 2008 and re-elected in 2011 and 2015. He serves as the Vice Chair of the House Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology and is a member of the Canada-United States Inter- Parliamentary Group.He is familiar with NMMA has been a supporter and met during the Day on the Hill 2016.

MP Bernadette Jordan
(South Shore St. Margaret’s) – Liberal
Chair of the Atlantic Caucus
Bernadette Jordan was first elected as Member of Parliament for South Shore-St. Margarets in October 2015 and is the only female Member of Parliament representing Nova Scotia. She is familiar with NMMA has been a supporter and met during the Day on the Hill 2016. She is AMTA Executive Director, Pat Nelder’s Member of Parliament.

MP Francesco Sorbara
(Vaughan Woodbridge) – Liberal Vice-Chair, Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group
Francesco Sorbara is the Member Parliament for Vaughan- Woodbridge and sits on the House of Commons Standing Committee of Finance. He is also Chair of the Canada-Italy Inter-Parliamentary Group and Vice- Chair of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group.Mr. Sorbara is a first-generation Canadian whose parents came to Canada from southern Italy 50years ago. Mr. Sorbara had not met NMMA before so it was important to provide an over of the Association and the importance of recreational boating in Ontario.

MP RandeepSarai
Chair of the BC Liberal Caucus
A first time MP, Randeep Sarai was a successful entrepreneur and lawyer before entering federal politics. As a small business owner Randeep built several businesses from the ground up. He is Special Assistant – Office of the Minister of Small Business and Tourism, Hon. Bardish Chagger.


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