“We are applying for the job ….
by Sue Barkman, Director of Policy and Communications
Manitoba Chambers of Commerce
Brian Pallister, speaking to a crowd of over 90 people at the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce breakfast on November 6, urged Manitobans to take time to take a long view of issues such as Lake Winnipeg, infrastructure, the economy and to support small business as well as close the borders so that Manitobans will stay home rather than seek opportunities elsewhere.
The event, sponsored by the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association, was a sold out event that garnered a lot of dialogue before, during and after the event as Pallister circulated the room, greeting people with hugs and handshakes and declaring that the process that the PC Party of Manitoba is employing is going to be much more inclusive.
MHCA president, Chris Lorenc introduced Pallister as a long time friend and a friend of small business, the economy and long term vision.
“The media have declared me to be the invisible man, “ Pallister said. “We are not invisible, in the first 100 days under my leadership, our aim has been to work firstly on the foundation before we build a house. We are not just working on outcomes – we are working on the process to be more inclusive and we are inviting you to be part of this process. “
Applying for the job to govern….not a debating group
“A lot has been going on under the surface and the party is working quietly and effectively on the foundation. We are not going to be just a debating group. We are applying for the job to govern and we need to be strong financially and structurally and include more people in the process to find out their views. “
Pallister said that the party was working on the most ambitious policy process that the province has ever seen and that they would be doing more in the future to reach out to the people of Manitoba to gather views. “We are embarking on this journey with a different process and we must travel together – I invite you to be part of this process,” he said.
Pallister said it was definitely like ‘old home week’ to be at a chamber event and that he would continue to give ‘chamber speeches’ in the coming months. “I am also a small business owner – I am from Portage la Prairie and I understand first hand what its like to struggle and grow a business.”
He pointed out that if he ran his small business the same way the current government is running the legislature, he would have to declare bankruptcy.
“ No one can continue to spend more than they bring in and be profitable,” he said. “I just don’t like the fact as well that the current government is stealing from my kids and we need to do a better job to protect the future.”
“ In any business situation, it there is a deficit – you take a cut in pay and you cut back, “ he said.
During the Question and Answer period there was discussion around issues such as the Churchill Gateway development, personal tax exemption, the Lake Winnipeg Basin clean up , flooding and infrastructure.
The BiPole III issue was also briefly mentioned as a drain on taxpayers and ratepayers and a promise that this issue would have more attention.
“As a government we can do better – we can be stronger and built more efficient structures in the government that support healthy risk taking.”
He acknowledged that most Manitobans do not fully understand the issues of the Lake and was quick to point out that the Lake is recognized as a disaster around the world except here in our own backyard and there does not appear to be coordination or decisive action to clean up the mess.
“Lake Winnipeg Basin is already the largest dead zone in the world and is recognized as such except here, “ pointed out Chamber Chair of the policy committee, Brian Kelly.
Pallister said that there is no end to short term thinking in current politics and to blame an industry such as the hog industry is definitely short sighted and harmful to the process of working together that is needed.
Some concluding remarks called for an end to duplication of effort and overlap and guard against this and other wasteful and unproductive practices.
“We promise to get our ducks in a row, “ he said. “ We are taking the long view of issues and we aim to see Manitobans remain in the province and be an integral part of the future.”