Some good luck and good fortune were part of the recipe that lifted the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) Inaugural Ministers’ Dinner on November 23. With busy schedules, commitments, and meetings, getting all the ministers’ from the new government in one room, at one time was quite a challenge but it happened, and the Manitoba business community in attendance was happy it did.
Modeled after MCC’s successful spring gathering of Deputy Ministers’, the decision was made earlier this year to design a similar experience for the 12 ministers in the Pallister cabinet. The night is made even more unique with each minister switching tables between courses, allowing for more exposure and conversation with our guests. On this night, more than 200 guests packed the Hotel Fort Garry to dine with fellow business leaders and cabinet, legislative assistants, and staff from the Premier’s office. The evening began with Premier Pallister thanking the crowd for their interest in taking part in this event, the work MCC has done on behalf of business, and the importance of understanding this government and the province are working through some challenging financial times. The Premier made it clear that his government is looking to invest in projects that will bring this province a significant return on investment.
Following the Premier’s address, the dinner conversations began as the ministers listened to questions, concerns, ideas, and challenges facing business from those at their tables. This happened two more times as the ministers and government staff changed tables. After dessert, MCC President Chuck Davidson led a fireside chat with Ministers’ Heather Stefanson and Cameron Friesen and opened the floor to questions of any of the ministers. Once the evening was complete, both ministers and guests thanked MCC for the opportunity the night allowed for. The ability for the ministers to meet in a more casual environment and get to know those in attendance will hopefully lead to further conversations in the future. The benefit to and evening like this and having business leaders talk with the principal decision makers within government speaks to the work MCC is doing and acceptance of the role business can and must play in helping grow Manitoba.