This week saw a lot of advocacy action on the Hill, with a number of groups holding lobby days or MP meet-and-greet receptions to introduce new parliamentarians to their respective organizations.
Lobby Monitor editorial intern Denis Ram followed the scene to scope out some of the events taking place. All photos by Ram, unless otherwise specified.
The Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada and the Canadian Camping and RV Council held a two-pronged day of engagement Wednesday on the Hill, followed by a press conference Thursday.
The first portion of the RVDA’s advocacy day was meeting with around 40 MPs to discuss tourism infrastructure and investments in national parks.
At a meet-and-greet reception later the same day, parliamentarians and staff mingled with representatives from the RVDA and CCRVC in the Parliamentary Restaurant.
There was a diverse group of industry members from all over North America, not just Canada, to meet with new and returning government representatives and introduce the RVDA organization generally.
The next day, Sam Parks, chairman of RVDA and Robert Trask, chairman of the CCRVC, held a joint press conference to address the needs of the recreational vehicle sector.
Sam Parks, chairman of RVDA of Canada opened the Thursday press conference on the Hill (top left) by discussing tourism infrastructure and investments. Robert Trask, chairman of CCRVC, poses with Brian Wilkins, chairman of US-based RVDA (bottom left) during the Wednesday reception at the Parliamentary Restaurant. Trask (bottom right) also spoke at the Thursday press conference, on tax treatment for campsites. Dennis Crockatt (top right), president of the Manitoba Association of Campgrounds and Parks, talks to other members of the RVDA and the CCRVC during the reception on Wednesday.
The main asks from the groups related to how government tourism marketing should recognize the importance of RVing and the need for a review of small business tax policy affecting camp sites.
Currently, camp sites are grouped with apartments and mobile home complexes, making them ineligible for the small business tax benefit.
Parks and Trask both hammered the importance of RVing to the Canadian economy, citing billions of dollars generated by the industry both directly and indirectly.
“This is an opportunity for the government to commit dedicated funding towards required RV infrastructure in our national park system, which is a crucial requirement for the industry to thrive,” said Parks.
Infrastructure asks from the groups related to making improvements to meet sizing requirements for larger RVs, electrical connections and waste disposal facilities at Parks Canada locations.
Infrastructure files also saw attention this week from representatives of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc. , which held an advocacy day in Ottawa on Tuesday.
The insurance advocacy group didn’t hold a reception or open house, but reported planned meetings with key legislators privately to discuss drug costs, genetic testing and the possibility of reintroducing public-private partnership requirements for certain infrastructure projects.
Wednesday, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection hosted an advocacy day as well, holding a reception to speak with lawmakers and stakeholders in policing and industry about their efforts against child pornography and to seek out meaningful partnerships to address the criminal act.
According to posts on Twitter, many Members of Parliament, cabinet ministers and staff representatives were in attendance. This included Liberal cabinet members Patty Hajdu, Carolyn Bennett, Ralph Goodale and MP Michael Levitt. Conservatives at the event included Senator Don Plett and MP Harold Albrecht, according to posts on social media.
Earlier in the week, on Monday, pharmaceutical industry group Innovative Medicines Canada was on the Hill holding an open house with two main objectives.
The first objective was to reintroduce the rebranded organization to returning and new MPs. The group was known as Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies until the beginning of 2016.
Taking lawmakers on a “direct discovery journey” from drug development to public availability was the second objective of the open house.
Innovative Medicines Canada (top centre) introduces their rebrand. President of IMC Russell Williams poses for a photo (top left) during the reception. Five stations were set up in the room, as a guided tour from medicine development to deployment. Food and drinks were available in the packed room, as IMC representatives met with legislators to introduce themselves.
IMC had five stations set up, with researchers, company representatives and other stakeholders explaining the process of a medicine’s development and deployment.
One of the key undertones of the stations was discussing the impacts of Canada’s patchwork of regulation that differs from region to region. The pricing of a drug, based on various private or public coverage, was also explained.
One of the key themes of the night was how to speed up the process for a new medicine, so it can get to the patient that needs it sooner rather than later.
MPs making an appearance at the IMC open house included Liberal parliamentary secretary to the PM Celina Chavannes and Conservatives Ed Fast and Cheryl Gallant. Companies with representatives at the event included Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Bayer and Sanofi.