Welcome to the first President’s blog on the new improved Business Council of Manitoba website, sporting a new look, new colours and a refreshed logo. Most importantly we will be adding new content over the coming months on a variety of topics.

I will post blogs from time to time offering comments and views from the Business Council on topics currently under discussion or on emerging issues that we believe are important to our province and our country. This is a busy time – summer holidays are a memory, everyone is into heavy fall schedules, universities and colleges are in full swing, the fall round of business meetings, conferences and think tank reports has picked up speed, and the federal election is now behind us. What remains as the subject of conversation is what policies will we see from the federal government.

As a non-partisan organization the Business Council refrains from endorsing candidates or parties; but we do advocate polices we feel are in the best interests of Manitoba and Canada. There are an abundance of critical issues, nationally and provincially that will be at the forefront of discussions over the coming months.

Manitoba is a province built on trade – interprovincial and international – in goods and in services. The level of employment and incomes for Manitobans is considerably larger than it would otherwise be if we relied only on our small Manitoba market. What should we be concerned about?

For starters we need to be competitive – that means a province and a country where the business climate including taxes, regulations, access to skilled labour and capital are on a par with those jurisdictions we compete with elsewhere in North America, and indeed the world. And there is trade policy: allowing access to our Canadian market, and in return gaining access to international markets, will support our future growth and investment. The direction and shape of our trade policy is fundamental to our economic future. Truisms yes. But others are constantly looking for ways to grow. Are we? Are we open to enhanced trade? Do we value our home grown businesses that generate tens of thousands of jobs? Will we work to keep them competitive and growing?

When assessing government statements and commitments whether on trade policy, taxation, labour and skills training, infrastructure, innovation, or capital investment we need to consider the very important implications for our province. And especially in Manitoba, how will we engage with our indigenous people? Also do we have the right mix of economic and social policy? Have we considered our environmental approaches and impacts? Through all of this everybody will have their own priorities, but we need to agree on the policy mix that will carry us forward.

Will we and our governments be bold enough to implement the policies to keep our economy competitive and innovative, our people educated and skilled, and be committed to a sustainable future where all Canadians – indigenous and those here through immigration – have the opportunity to fully participate in our society?

The Business Council of Manitoba seeks to advance balanced innovative ideas to promote discussion and lead to positive change.