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Prime Minister visits PDAC 2014 Convention

May 14, 2014

By hosting the Prime Minister at its annual convention for the first time in its 82-year history, the PDAC continues to expand its political influence.

While many things have occurred at the PDAC’s International Convention, Tradeshow and Investors Exchange over its 82-year history, never before has Canada’s Prime Minister attended—until this year. 

The visit provided nearly 700 delegates, dignitaries and other invited guests with an opportunity to listen to PDAC President Rod Thomas interview Canada’s Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper. The near hour-long special event, which took place in the Confederation Hall of the MTCC, covered a myriad issues ranging from Aboriginal engagement and capital access for juniors, to skills training and the role of public private sector partnerships in developing Canada’s Northern infrastructure, and even the New Prosperity decision.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper Visits PDAC 2014 Convention
The dialogue was engaging, thoughtful, humorous and showcased how well-informed Prime Minister Harper is on the issues that matter most to our members. “Throughout the conversation, Mr. Harper’s answers demonstrated his full understanding of the sector’s significant role in Canada’s economic and social prosperity, while also clearly showcasing that he and his government remain very interested in our sector and the value what our members bring to the economic future of Canada,” says Ross Gallinger, PDAC’s Executive Director. 

The dialogue was engaging, thoughtful, humorous and showcased how well-informed Prime Minister Harper is on the issues that matter most to our members. “Throughout the conversation, Mr. Harper’s answers demonstrated his full understanding of the sector’s significant role in Canada’s economic and social prosperity, while also clearly showcasing that he and his government remain very interested in our sector and the value what our members bring to the economic future of Canada,” says Ross Gallinger, PDAC’s Executive Director. 

The dialogue was engaging, thoughtful, humorous and showcased how well-informed Prime Minister Harper is on the issues that matter most to our members. “Throughout the conversation, Mr. Harper’s answers demonstrated his full understanding of the sector’s significant role in Canada’s economic and social prosperity, while also clearly showcasing that he and his government remain very interested in our sector and the value what our members bring to the economic future of Canada,” says Ross Gallinger, PDAC’s Executive Director. 

The Prime Minister focused a number of his answers on job growth and Canada’s continued economic recovery, highlighting Canada’s success in managing the global financial crisis through a well-regulated banking system and balanced series of federal stimulus programs and deficit reduction. Furthermore, Mr. Harper took the opportunity to praise exploration and mining’s contribution to the Canadian recovery. “This sector is a big part of Canada’s success… and the growth we’ve seen in this sector is helping to drive growth in other parts of our economy,” he noted during the discussion.


“It was a pleasure to meet with members of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada today to discuss the ways our Government is supporting them, and to get their thoughts on how to further enhance Canada’s mineral exploration and mining sector in order to address future opportunities and challenges.

– Prime Minister Stephen Harper


PDAC President Rod Thomas also touched upon on Canada’s international role as leaders in the exploration and mining sector. The Prime Minister was asked about the reputation of Canadians and Canadian mining companies around the world and noted that in his opinion, and from his observations and discussions with national leaders from around the world, that Canadian mining companies have a “pretty good” reputation. He would go on to declare: “It’s not to say the story is perfect, but there’s very few places where the Canadian story isn’t the best story.”

As part of an overall government relations program of engagement with federal parliamentarians, the presence of the Prime Minister puts a very large gold star on the PDAC’s influence and overall credibility in Ottawa. “PDAC has a tremendous reputation amongst elected officials and within the senior ranks of government,” says Gallinger. “Over the past year, our government relations efforts have leveraged several audiences with the Prime Minister, Canada’s Governor General, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, and numerous meetings with senior members of Cabinet.”

The Prime Minister was joined by 53 federal parliamentarians and several provincial ministers at the PDAC 2014 Convention. In addition, PDAC hosted a number of federal cabinet ministers, some of whom spoke during the convention at a variety of events. And, not surprisingly, the government caucus represented the majority of Members of Parliament, although the New Democratic Party (NDP) demonstrated strong interest from such figures as the Honourable Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the Official Opposition. The NDP have shown significant interest in learning about the sector and engaging our members, and with the assistance of NDP mining caucus Chair MP Claude Gravelle, the PDAC 2014 Convention generated record participation from the opposition party.

Such interest in the PDAC’s annual convention highlights the maturation of the association’s government relations efforts, and, operationally speaking, the organization has made substantial changes in how it goes about engaging federal parliamentarians. “Without a doubt, the PDAC’s voice in Ottawa has never been louder or heard more clearly,” says Gallinger.

And the opinions of the PDAC are not only welcomed, they are sought after. The association is consistently asked for insights, counsel and leadership across a broad range of public policy areas. As a sample, the PDAC plays a prominent role in the development of the transparency initiative for the extractive sector and advocates for vital financial commitments to support the exploration sector, including the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (METC), geoscience investments such as the Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals program, and northern infrastructure investments.

“Our goal as the leading voice of the mineral exploration and development community is to continue to showcase to government—and all Canadians—the important role our industry plays in the social and economic prosperity of this country,” says Gallinger. “It’s why this association was created 82 years ago and why today we are a trusted and respected voice within the Canadian government, and around the world.”

By Steve Virtue
PDAC’s Senior Director of Public Affairs & Communications