On the heels of their third throne speech, Manitoba’s cabinet ministers, legislative assistants, and other high ranking government officials met with business leaders from across the province for the 2nd Annual Ministers Dinner. Hosted by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC), this year’s edition was met with increased interest following the success of the inaugural dinner in 2016. The opportunity to sit down and ask questions, share ideas, and engage with the critical cabinet decision makers is rare, and attendees made the most of it.
The agenda for the evening allows for each minister to switch tables between courses, enabling more exposure and conversation with our guests. Despite the absence of Premier Brian Pallister, who is recovering from a severe accident in New Mexico, Deputy Premier Heather Stefanson delivered a keynote address focused on the government’s plans for Manitoba and areas in which in which there are opportunities for growth. She also touched on a number of pressing issues on the horizon including the legalization of cannabis, carbon reduction, and the on-going changes to the healthcare system. Ms. Stefanson also spoke of the role, both the public and private sector will play in helping the government reach their stated goal of Manitoba being the most improved province.
Following a delicious three courses and countless discussions around the tables, the evening concluded with MCC President and CEO Chuck Davidson conducting a brief Q & A with Ministers Stefanson, Blaine Pederson, and Cameron Friesen. Davidson covered a wide range of topics, from their most prominent successes over the past 18 months and the most significant challenge facing Manitoba as we move towards the second half of their term in government. All three talked about the plan is not to govern in election cycles but to plan the long-term future of the province and set the stage for continued growth long after they have done their public service.
An evening like this, putting business leaders and principal government decision makers together, speaks to the work MCC is doing and acceptance of the role business can and must play in helping grow Manitoba into the best place to live and work.