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According to executives at FleishmanHillard, now is the time for B.C. aerospace firms to cement ties with the province’s incoming New Democratic Party (NDP) government, headed by Premier John Horgan.
Jeffrey Ferrier and Elisha McCallum, both vice-presidents at the Vancouver branch of the international communications agency, told attendees at the 2017 Aerospace, Defence and Security Expo (ADSE) in Abbotsford, B.C., that the new government’s clear focus on innovation and technology bodes well for aerospace.
“Clear skies are in the forecast for the next six months,” said McCallum. “The B.C. Liberals will be focused on finding a new leader [Liberal leader Christy Clark stepped down effective Aug. 4] and now is the time to get in the door for conversations with the NDP.”
Aerospace firms must do their part to educate the government on the value of the sector, which directly and indirectly employs 10,000 people in the province and contributes two per cent to the provincial gross domestic product.
That education process must highlight how B.C.’s aerospace sector is focused on developing new technologies by harnessing the power of innovation.
McCallum and Ferrier said the new provincial government’s mandate dovetails nicely with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s agenda, calling them “parallel flight paths.”
Their tips for engaging the NDP government within the first six months of its mandate include contributing to the newly-founded Innovation Commission; joining the pre-budget consultations for 2018, which start in October; demonstrating to the government how aerospace contributes to a resilient economy; and participating in provincial trade missions.
McCallum said that while aerospace was not initially on the government’s radar, it is clearly a positive sign that Bruce Ralston, the new provincial minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, was the keynote speaker at the ADSE opening ceremony.