A couple of weeks ago I attended Launch Party Vancouver 8, a terrific event organized by the Bootup Entrepreneurial Society. LPV serves as a platform to launch tech start-ups. But what made the event really special in my mind was that it was co-hosted by Dealmaker Media and included start-ups from Washington and California in addition to BC-based companies.
This approach helps to build a sense of community up and down the west coast that can't be achieved through social media alone. Getting 400+ people together in a social setting to see and talk about new technologies allows for deeper personal relationships to be built and opens the door for cooperation and collaboration that will help build the technology community here in Vancouver and in the greater Cascadia region.
Similarly we've seen provincial premiers working hard to build common economic zones that will increase trade and economic development within their respective regions. In the east, Premiers Dalton McGuinty and Jean Charest strengthened the common economic zone earlier this month by reducing trade barriers and improving labour mobility. The provinces are also moving forward with their own regional cap and trade strategy.
In the west, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan are forming the Western Economic Partnership had similar objectives (open trade and improved labour mobility). The BC government is also moving forward with other regional programs such as the Pacific Coast Collaborative which will focus on a range of issues including climate change, clean energy, regional transportation and R&D with western states (Washington, Oregon, California and Alaska). They've also joined the Western Climate Initiative with 11 other states and provinces.
Federal politicians of all parties should be paying attention. As the impact of climate change becomes more evident every day global markets are becoming less viable. Instead a focus on building strong regional economic zones will likely prove to be essential to reducing green house gas emissions. And it will help to develop and retain quality jobs within our regions. Selling more oil and wood to China and India won't accomplish much for us as a country and will do less to address the problem of climate change.
When we finally do next go to the polls, I for one, will be looking to see which federal party addresses some of these issues.