In less than three weeks, Manitobans will head to the polls to elect the party they want to lead the province over the next four years.
Political parties are making promises in important areas such as health care, public safety, education, the environment and child care. And while these are important areas of focus, we would remind Manitobans and political parties that the only way we can pay for these important programs is by having a strong, growing economy.
Less than a year ago, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce polled almost 500 business leaders from across the province in our 2018 Manitoba business outlook survey to take the pulse of the business community.
At the time, members indicated that although they had an overall positive outlook about Manitoba, there was a feeling that more could be done at the provincial government level to improve the economic climate.
Businesses always look to operate and make decisions in a climate of certainty, which provides them with the confidence to make investments in their operations, plans for growth and, most importantly, their people.
The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, one of 10 member-driven organizations united as a coalition advocating for #7Pillars of economic growth, believes growing the Manitoba economy is the top priority for the coming election.
The overriding challenge is to diversify our agricultural, manufacturing, resource, financial and service sectors to strengthen the capacity for export and create jobs. Prudent investments within a climate of confidence and certainty enable growth, leading to more jobs, greater prosperity and a higher quality of life.
Our coalition strongly encourages political parties to focus on the following seven pillars imperative to Manitoba’s economic growth:
Strengthen the partnership with the private sector to build a stronger economic base and ensure Manitoba remains internationally competitive, providing jobs for a growing population.
With an improving fiscal capacity, invest in core, community and educational infrastructure to support vibrant, healthy communities connected within the province and to our trading partners.
Build Manitoba’s capacity to promote trade and expand our global profile to take full advantage of our potential.
Commit to consistent engagement with the federal government and Indigenous communities to ensure everyone benefits from a prosperous economy.
Commit to working with the business and educational sectors to ensure Manitoba produces, attracts, educates, trains and retains the skilled workforce fundamental to sustaining economic growth, prosperity and healthy communities.
Maintain a system for easy and increased access to capital and establish a new framework for venture capital within which both the private and public sectors participate to allow Manitoba businesses to thrive.
Commit to establishing a modern fiscal framework to ensure provincial and municipal levels deliver their respective obligations to provide services to Manitobans and build strong, mutually supportive communities.
The above principles are supported by the following organizations: Business Council of Manitoba; Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters; Manitoba Chambers of Commerce; Manitoba Heavy Construction Association; Manitoba Home Builders’ Association; Manitoba Real Estate Association; Manitoba Trucking Association; Merit Contractors Association of Manitoba; the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce; Winnipeg Construction Association.
It is our collective belief that if political parties focus on these key principles during the coming election, all Manitobans will benefit.
Chuck Davidson is president and CEO of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce.