Chambers from across Manitoba converged in West Winnipeg last week to network with colleagues, meet new Chamber members, hear from a wide range of speakers, and get a better look at the future direction of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC). Hosted by the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce, the 86th Annual General Meeting (AGM) kicked off with the swearing in of a new board and Judy Murphy as new board chair. Judy brings a wealth of business understanding and leadership through her involvement on boards like Manitoba Centennial Centre Corporation (Audit Committee Chair), the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce (Past Chair), the Reh-Fit Centre, the Crown Corporations Council of Manitoba, along with other task groups and committees.
The AGM also provide the perfect platform to share an updated strategic vision focused on outcomes in regards to economic growth, job creation and a growing, more connected Chamber network in the province. The updated strategic plan has a strong focus on advocacy and policy development specifically in the areas of developing a long-term economic vision for Manitoba, business attraction and retention, labour market, and key sector support. This focus will lead to improving our competitiveness with other jurisdictions; working to make Manitoba a leader regarding job creation, and further developing and connecting with our Chamber network across Manitoba.
Day one wrapped up with a rousing debate of 21 (9 renewal and 12 new) policy resolutions. Among the new resolutions being added to our advocacy plans highlight the need for better policy surrounding Aboriginal engagement and the processes that are paramount to the process of growth. A call to on government to better address Indigenous participation in the economy and improving the Duty to Consult and Accommodate process are two key areas for MCC in the months ahead. The Chamber network also had a great deal of discussion, both during the policy session and conversations throughout the AGM, centered around the province’s plans for carbon pricing and where MCC and the Chamber network falls on the issue. A resolution was passed calling on the government to share the work they are doing on this “Made in Manitoba” plan and provide a suitable business case framework and economic assessment (including tax implications) of its cost and impact shared with Manitobans through proper consultation before any final decision is made by MCC.
Day two started with a keynote speech and Q & A with Deputy Premier Heather Stefanson. She spoke about the work being done across the province, the value of the Chamber network, and the challenges the province faces with new marijuana legislation from the feds. Manitoba’s main voice in Ottawa, Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr, provided a lunch speech focussed on relationship building. More specifically, how the federal government is building relationships with the new administration in the U.S. Carr said conversation and finding the common connections have played a large role in the early conversations. Attendees also heard panels on carbon pricing, the role of media, secrets to a successful Chambers. And the Commander of 17 Wing in Winnipeg, Colonel Andy Cook, kept the room laughing during his one-hour session. Col. Cook shared some jaw-dropping numbers on the impact Canada’s military has in Manitoba and across the country and just how the military deals with attracting a new generation of millennials who might not see a career serving their country as a “cool” option.
As the AGM came to a close, two long-serving members of the Chamber network were honoured for the work they have done and continue to do in promoting the value of the Chambers of Commerce. Current Winnipeg Chamber Board Chair and retiring MCC board member Wadood Ibrahim was presented with the Volunteer of the Year Award. Past MCC Chair and tireless tourism champion Merv Gunter received the Harry Mardon Award for his contributions to MCC. MCC would like to thank our partners at CN, this year’s presenting sponsor, along with all those who attended this year. We are looking forward to seeing you at the 87th AGM next May that will be hosted by the Wasagaming Chamber of Commerce.