Hesquiaht woman appointed Senior Advisor to Federal Finance Minister

OTTAWA

A young Hesquiaht woman has been selected by federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau as a Senior Advisor on the newly-created Advisory Council on Economic Growth.

The exciting news was delivered to Carol Anne Hilton via a conference call from the Deputy Minister on March 11.

Hilton said the news came out of the blue. She was on a road trip and about to head into an area that had no cellular service when she decided to check her phone messages. She said her phone was filled with messages—important ones—from Ottawa.

“This is pretty huge and I’m stoked!” Hilton told Ha-Shilth-Sa.

Hilton is the CEO of Transformation, a company that focuses on economic and social development. She has a master’s degree in business management and is in high demand, with speaking engagements around the world on Indigenomics.

The term means understanding and exploring the Indigenous ways of being, the contrasts with modern economics and traditional systems and outlining characteristics of emerging ecological business models.

Hilton believes an advisor to Minister Morneau recommended her for the Advisory Council. And she is proud to say that she is the only Aboriginal person named to the 14-person committee.

“Little ol’ me from Hesquiaht!” she said, adding there are some serious powerhouse names on the committee.

The broad mandate of the Advisory Council on Economic Growth will be to “provide advice on concrete policy actions to help create the long-term conditions for strong and sustained economic growth,” Hilton told Ha-Shilth-Sa.

There are five broad objectives: Increase business innovation and productivity; take advantage of global trade opportunities; raise labor market participation and better align skills and labor market needs; and make growth more environmentally sustainable. The council will meet three times annually, with the first meeting expected in April.

The Ministry of Finance is primarily responsible for preparing the federal budget and the Finance Minister is considered one of the most important positions in the Cabinet. The Council’s advice would be used to inform the budget process.The next federal budget will be released on March 22, so the work ahead is for budget 2017.

Hilton says her appointment, which propels her into this advisory role with the Canadian government, is an opportunity to help create the platform for economic reconciliation between first nations and corporations.

“This is a testament to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promised new approach; it speaks to his intention of understanding Aboriginal issues and acting on that when it comes to the Canadian economy,” said Hilton.

Hilton is a founding director of the BC First Nations Health Society/ Interim BC First Nations Health Authority. She currently serves on the Community Social Planning Council, and chairs the Community Micro Lending Society and serves as a director of the World Fisheries Trust.

A press release to announce the appointments from Minister Morneau on March 18 said the advisory council is made up of “Canadian and international business and academic leaders—all of whom were selected because they are recognized, forward-thinking individuals in their respective fields. Of the 14 members, 8 are women.”

The members of the Advisory Council are: Dominic Barton (chair); Elyse Allan; Katherine Barr; Jennifer Blanke; Kenneth Courtis; Brian Ferguson; Suzanne Fortier; Carol Anne Hilton; Carol Lee; Christopher Ragan; Michael Sabia; Angela Strange; Ilse Treurnicht and Mark Wiseman.

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