On April 19th Manitobans will go to the polls to decide which party they believe has the best vision and plan to lead the province over the next four years.
There are many factors that Manitobans take into account when heading to the ballot boxes. Our organizations believe Manitobans should be considering which party has the best vision and plan to grow our economy when casting that important vote.
Over the last couple of years much has been made about the Manitoba economy’s resilience to the global volatility that has created uncertainty and challenges in other provinces. According to a 2015 report released by the Conference Board of Canada, Manitoba was to be one of the leading provincial economies with real gross domestic product to increase by 2.9 per cent in 2015 and a nation-leading 3 per cent in 2016.
From a sector perspective the Conference Board predicted the construction industry to grow by almost 10 per cent annually over the next two years. Transportation and warehousing are expected to keep making strong gains of 3.4 per cent in 2015 and 3.9 per cent in 2016. The improving U.S. economy, the drop in the Canadian dollar and lower oil prices are also expected to contribute to boosting manufacturing-based exports and following a difficult year in 2014, the agriculture sector is expected to continue to rebound. Thanks to fairly strong population growth, demand for housing is rising and employment in Manitoba is expected to grow by 2 per cent. Retail sales are expected to grow by 3.6 per cent.
But while organizations like the Conference Board of Canada predict Manitoba’s economy will lead the nation in economic growth in 2016, one has to wonder if we should expect more. The Manitoba government recently announced a growing provincial deficit of $773 million and Statistics Canada is showing a 2 per cent decrease in full time employment from a year ago. Based on recent developments and the potential opportunities before us our organizations would suggest Manitoba should be performing much better.
In today’s globally competitive business environment it is imperative that government create a climate that attracts new business and allows existing businesses to grow and thrive. For Manitoba to reach its full potential we offer seven key public policy pillars that we believe political parties must address to demonstrate their political commitment to “Growing Manitoba’s Economy,” in their 2016 Provincial Election platforms.
I. FISCAL COMPETITIVENESS
Manitoba must have an effective and fiscally prudent government committed to creating a competitive tax jurisdiction to attract and retain new investment.
II. VENTURE CAPITAL
Commitment to the creation of an accessible venture capital fund and supportive tax credit policies to leverage investment in the growth of new and existing businesses.
III. GLOBAL TRADE
Commitment to pursuing an expanded global trade profile for Manitoba which derives substantial economic benefit.
IV. INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT
Commitment to a strategic, sustained, disciplined approach to investment in Manitoba’s core infrastructure.
V. ABORIGINAL ENGAGEMENT
Commitment to the creation of an Aboriginal Engagement Strategy to ensure inclusion and partnership in economic growth policies.
VI. SKILLED WORKFORCE
Commitment to attracting, educating, training and retaining a skilled, responsive workforce is fundamental to ongoing economic growth.
VII. ‘NEW FISCAL DEAL’ FOR MUNICIPALITIES
Commitment to address the existing fiscal framework between the province and municipalities to meet the challenges of the future.
For Manitoba to achieve the level of growth and prosperity needed to take the Manitoba economy to the next, level political leaders need share to share with Manitobans their commitment to ensuring that economic growth is the driving force behind decisions that are made.
The above principles are supported and respectfully submitted by the following supporting organizations each of which are committed to pursuing ‘Growing Manitoba’s Economy,’ in the 2016 Provincial Election.
Business Council of Manitoba (BCM) Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME)
Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) Manitoba Heavy Construction Association (MHCA) Manitoba Home Builders Association (MHBA) Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce (WCC)