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Lisa Raitt, then a Conservative Party candidate, near her campaign office in Milton, Ont., on Oct. 17, 2019.The Canadian Press

In a highly polarized political climate, Lisa Raitt and Anne McLellan are pushing for action on the big things that almost everyone agrees on: stronger growth, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and filling leadership positions with people who reflect Canada’s diversity.

The former senior Conservative and Liberal politicians lead the Coalition for a Better Future, which comprises a wide range of business and non-profit organizations. They’ve been meeting with groups across the country and contending that there’s a fairly broad consensus as to what Canadian political and business leaders should be doing.

In their latest “Scorecard Report,” to be released Tuesday – just as the federal budget is being finalized – they track 21 key statistics and urge leaders to aim for specific targets by 2030 that will set Canada up for success internationally.

The report warns that while Canada is moving in the right direction on some fronts – such as its tech sector, where there are a growing number of startups with billion-dollar valuations – it is not moving fast enough in key areas that will boost prosperity.

Canada has recovered the employment losses suffered during the pandemic, but the report says the country still faces challenges in the form of lagging labour productivity, an uncertain climate transition, risks around fiscal sustainability and a lack of global competitiveness.

“The big revelation of 2022 is just how challenging it will be to break out of our slow growth cycle. The inflation crisis, geopolitical upheaval, a structural trend away from globalization and higher debt levels suggest there are no easy solutions,” the report says.

Ms. Raitt was a cabinet minister in Stephen Harper’s government, and continued representing the Toronto-area riding of Milton until she was unseated in the 2019 election. Ms. McLellan began representing Edmonton in the House of Commons in 1993 and served in the cabinets of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin before being defeated in 2006.

In an interview, Ms. Raitt said there is no shortage of detailed policy advice from various expert panels as to how to improve Canada’s competitiveness. The nature of a broad coalition is that each member may have their own ideas about how exactly these goals can be achieved. As a group, Ms. Raitt said, the coalition is about urging action.

“We didn’t actually set out to reinvent the wheel. We recognize that there’s been some really good recommendations and advice that has flown across the country from various different groups,” she said. “It’s all there. It’s about implementing it. And where we come in is to say: ‘Okay, well, is it really working? And here’s your signpost.’”

The report is being released ahead of the 2023 federal budget, which has not yet been scheduled, but is expected to be tabled in the next few weeks.

Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has said the budget will focus on health care and the green economy. The government has also promised to provide more details on plans to boost private-sector investment through new programs such as the Canada Growth Fund and the Canada Innovation Corporation.

One of the challenges with the coalition’s key statistics is that many are strongly influenced by the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic, making it difficult to extract long-term trends from the dramatic short-term impact of the health crisis on many economic indicators.

For instance, Canada’s carbon dioxide emissions were down sharply in 2020, but that was largely due to global shutdowns and can’t be claimed as a sign of policy success.

The report expresses concern with recent stagnation on one key measurement: the share of women in senior management occupations. While it increased by two percentage points, to 31 per cent, in 2021, the number has been relatively flat since 2017. The coalition has set a target of parity by 2030.

Another measurement that is highlighted as a source of concern is business spending on research and development.

“As a share of GDP, business R&D has hovered at just under 0.7 per cent over the past 15 years and is showing no signs of hitting our target of 1.8 per cent by 2030,” the report states. “This is well below peers like the U.S. and suggests Canada’s weak private sector contribution to innovation is threatening our ability to build a competitive advantage.”

The report concludes by calling for “a long-term plan for economic growth that is inclusive and sustainable.”

It will be released Tuesday at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, beginning with a discussion with Ms. McLellan and Ms. Raitt moderated by former senior deputy Bank of Canada governor Carolyn Wilkins.

Various business, academic and foundation leaders are scheduled to hold breakout discussions on the report’s main themes: winning globally, living better and growing sustainably.