A lobby group that represents the top executives of Canada’s largest businesses is helping to launch a new economic advisory council with high-profile names from the corporate, labor and political worlds, hoping to stimulate ideas that will boost growth and improve living standards.
In an initiative being led by the Business Council of Canada, the council will be co-chaired by two former cabinet ministers: Anne McLellan, who was deputy prime minister under former Prime Minister Paul Martin, and former Conservative lawmaker Lisa Raitt.

Other members include: Dax Dasilva, chief executive officer of Lightspeed Pos Inc.; Paul Desmarais III of Power Corp. of Canada; Mark Little, CEO of Suncor Energy Inc.; and Carolyn Wilkins, the former Bank of Canada senior deputy governor.

The mandate is to assemble a long-term agenda that focuses on both raising living standards and reducing inequality, and broadens the discussion beyond traditional business concerns. The advisory council will be part of a new diverse coalition of dozens of organizations and stakeholder groups beyond business that’s also being announced on Thursday.

“This isn’t about business only, about government only,” McLellan said in a phone interview. “There are many voices out there, we would like to bring as many as possible into the conversation.”

The move comes amid a growing chorus of prominent Canadians who have begun to worry publicly that the nation’s political parties are neglecting economic growth as an issue. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to call an election within weeks.

The work of the advisory council will help build an agenda for a summit to be held in Ottawa in late October.