Amplifying Manitoba’s Voice in Ottawa: Advocacy at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Hill Days

Apr 22, 2024 | Chamber News, Front Page, Policy

Left to right: Christa Rust, Program Director for Manitoba Green Advantage Initiative, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce(MCC), Chuck Davidson, President & CEO, MCC, Perrin Beatty, President & CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Nick Gamble, Policy Analyst, MCC


Last week, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) had the privilege of participating in the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Hill Days in Ottawa. This event provided an opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions with key political figures and contribute to the national conversation on critical issues. MCC’s delegation was led by Chuck Davidson, President and CEO, Nick Gamble, Policy Analyst, andChrista Rust, Program Director. Some of the discussion highlights are below: 

Key Trends

Discussions brought up several key global macroeconomic trends that are shaping the future of our economy; Manitoba can capitalize given its strengths in several of these areas: 

  • Food Security: The importance of ensuring a stable and sustainable food supply was a major topic of discussion. Given Manitoba’s strong agri-food sector, this is a significant opportunity to be pursued. 
  • Energy Security: The need for reliable and sustainable energy sources was another key issue. Given Manitoba Hydro’s world-class transmission and distribution, the province is positioned well on this front. 
  • Supply Chain Resilience: The recent global events have highlighted the importance of having resilient supply chains. Manitoban businesses have a chance to play a larger part in supporting the nearshoring trend that are bringing opportunities to businesses in North America. 

Final Hill Days for Perrin Beatty

This marked Perrin Beatty’s final Hill Days as President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce thanks Perrin for his 17 years of service in this role, and for his dedication to serving Canadians through his prior positions as a federal cabinet minister, head of the CBC, and Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. 

Canada-US Relations

The relative viewpoints with our US partners were also discussed. While they see us as a partner in security, we see them as a partner in trade. This dynamic relationship is crucial for both countries’ economic prosperity, but this understanding can help frame the dialogue when approaching our southern partners, particularly ahead of their November election. 

Digitization and Business

The potential of digitization for businesses was another major theme. It was noted that data will likely become a line item on company balance sheets, reflecting its growing importance in the digital economy and as a business asset. Artificial Intelligence was touted as a significant opportunity for business productivity to start growing again, with Canada being a laggard in this regard for many years. However, the business community will need to move past from fear to start embracing the opportunity this technology represents. The federal budget included some funding for businesses to adopt this technology, but given the scope of the opportunity, there is much more that needs to be done. 

Environmental and Natural Resource Development

Many of the discussions around the environment focused on emission caps that will force business to become more efficient or face production cutbacks. However, there is a lack of private capital to support innovation and critical mineral development which is hampering the transition to Net-Zero and greening of existing energy production. 

Key Meetings

Our delegation had the opportunity to meet with several key figures, including: 

  • Hon. François-Philippe Champagne – Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (ISED) 
  • Kristen Hillman – Ambassador of Canada to the USA 
  • Hon. Dominic LeBlanc – Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs 
  • Right Honorable Justin Trudeau – Prime Minister of Canada 
  • Mark Schaan – Senior Assistant Deputy Minister – Strategy and Innovation for ISED 
  • Sami Khoury – Head of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security 
  • Hon. Anita Anand – President of the Treasury Board 
  • Leah Canning – Executive Director of the Net-Zero Advisory Body 
  • Dale Beugin – Executive VP of the Canadian Climate Institute 
  • Paul Halucha, Deputy Secretary of Clean Growth of the Privy Council Office 
  • Michael Vandergrift, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Canada 
  • John Moffat, Assistant Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada 

These meetings provided a platform for our delegation to voice the concerns and aspirations of the Manitoba business community at the highest levels of government. 

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce Hill Days was a valuable opportunity for the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce to advocate for our Manitoba business community and raise the profile of Manitoba on the national stage. Additionally, it was important to contribute to the national conversation on key issues facing business including on innovation, international trade and competitiveness, and the environment and natural resources. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners to drive progress for our businesses and our communities. 

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