Sudbury forum: Natural resources still king – by Debbie M. Nicholson (Sudbury Star – June 18, 2016)

Debbi M. Nicholson is president and CEO of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce network is celebrating resource champions across the nation. Chambers recognize that Canada’s future prosperity means creating the conditions for our natural resource sectors to succeed.

Greater Sudbury is home to the largest integrated mining complex in the world. Mining and mining supply and services is a key economic driver for our community and employs more than 14,000 people in Sudbury. The natural resource sector contributes greatly to the economic vitality of our community and this is why we decided to join the Resource Champions Initiative of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Canada’s chamber network – a group of 420 chambers from across the country representing every industrial sector – knows how important forest products and fisheries, miners and farmers, and energy producers of all stripes are to Canada’s economy. Any serious plan for creating jobs, greening our economy and reaching out to new markets has to place the competitiveness of the resources sector at its core.

Natural resources provide crucial high paying jobs for people in Canada’s remote and northern regions, particularly indigenous Canadians. Many First Nation, Metis and Inuit entrepreneurs and business people have used sustainably managed resource projects as a way to create economic prosperity and independence for their peoples.

But it’s not just remote regions that benefit. Through their extensive supply chains, natural resource firms are important customers of manufacturers and service providers in cities that are miles from the forest, farm or mine site. Toronto’s financial sector, Quebec’s engineering firms, BC’s clean tech: all of these economic clusters and many more across the country benefit greatly from Canada’s vast resource wealth.

Natural resources remain, by far, Canada’s largest export sector. More than that, they are an important calling card on the world stage. As we look to expand trade beyond the U.S. to Asia and Europe, our resources will be one of the key reasons why business and government leaders in these regions take our phone call.

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