November 17, 2015 – The Province of Manitoba has laid out an ambitious vision for Manitoba that includes focused growth for sustained tourism investment, infrastructure and a focus on improving rural and Northern Manitoba. It’s a vision the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) shares but remains concerned on how the government will pay for their plans and how businesses and families will be impacted in the years to come.
Over the last few months, MCC has been championing the need for a sustained tourism investment model that would provide a long-term boost to market the province by Travel Manitoba while at the same time providing a return on investment to the province.
“To have this singled out in the Throne Speech as a top priority of the government is a step in the right direction,” said MCC President and CEO Chuck Davidson. “We presented an investment model that we believe is to the benefit of the entire tourism industry, the government and all Manitobans. The government has said they want to work with the industry stakeholders and this commitment sends the right message.”
The Speech from the Throne also focused on major advocacy pillars of the Chamber Network:
- Providing stable, predictable and long-term funding to municipalities that will allow future community planning and development; and
- Launching a new Growing Communities Infrastructure Fund to help rural and northern communities build and renew roads, sewer, water and community centres that families use every day.
- Investing in flood protection and mitigation efforts that protect the environment and Manitobans in all communities throughout the province
- Doubling the number of women apprentices in the skilled trades;
- Enhancing the First Jobs Strategy to help more students gain rewarding careers;
- Creating a new trades centre in Manitoba’s north that will help workers take advantage of the good jobs created by Manitoba Hydro and northern companies.
“It is hard to criticize the majority of the province’s ambitious goals but we have asked them consistently to provide a blueprint for how this vision will be paid for”, said Davidson. “Manitoba remains mired in debt and there has been no roadmap to get back to a balanced budget. Whatever positive found in this speech is tempered by a lack of detail on how they intended to pay for these lofty goals.”
The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, established in 1931, is the umbrella organization for Manitoba’s chamber movement. With a membership comprised of 69 local Chambers of Commerce, as well as direct Corporate Members, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce is Manitoba’s largest and most diverse business lobby, representing close to 10,000 businesses and community leaders.