Business, community, and political leaders from both urban and rural Manitoba met in Winnipeg for the last MBiz Breakfast of the season to discuss the future of the north. The Look North inspired breakfast brought people together to hear about, expand on, and learn more about government plan and the current work of the task force asked to bring about a long-term economic strategy.
The breakfast started with the Minister of Growth, Enterprise, and Trade, the Honourable Cliff Cullen, who has been tasked with leading the government’s vision of a prosperous northern economy. The minister used his ten-minute speech to discuss the background behind the Look North initiative and the government’s approach of listening and gauging the issues facing Northerners by engaging Northerners themselves. Minister Cullen also spoke of the untapped potential of the north, the importance of improving the relationship with First Nations and with the communities and industries to grow the entire region. As the process of the Northern Economic Development Task Force continues, Minister Cullen reiterated the message that the North is an integral part of Manitoba and our future, closing his speech by reminding us that “we are all in this together.”
Following Minister Cullen, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) President, CEO, and co-chair of the Northern Economic Development Task Force brought together three prominent industry leaders together for an in-depth roundtable discussion. The panel consisted of Andrea McLandress (Mining Association of Manitoba), Colin Ferguson (Travel Manitoba), and Tony Zandos (Canadian Kraft Paper). Their discussion focused on the impact these industries have in the north, the potential opportunities that exists, and Manitoba and the world learning about the world class experience and potential that exist. Zandos, an advisor with the new mill owners in The Pas, spoke about the importance of their engagement with the community since arriving last year. He said, given their location, the normal business practices are not the same, but they are learning to work together with the community to speed up the learning curve. He also spoke at length about the importance of the Aboriginal community through the creation of a joint venture to increase First Nation presence in business through better jobs and training. He added that The Pas and the mill would be successful by working together with community leaders, First Nations, and their workforce. All the speakers have a distinct impact on the north and see the value of the relationships needed to grow, not just their respective industries, Northern Manitoba, adding it can’t be done alone but all together.
As mentioned, this was the last MBiz breakfast for the 2016-17 season. This past year, the series continued to grow and reach critical sections of the business community. Since the launch of the series in 2013, MCC has welcomed 36 speakers, from well-known CEO’s to federal and provincial ministers, and other political leaders, and dignitaries. The series has brought together more than 6,000 of Manitoba’s most important and influential corporate and industry leaders, business stakeholders, and decision makers for breakfast. We would like to extend our thanks to our presenting partners at 6P Marketing for their continued support in the Chamber movement. Thank you also goes to our media partners at the Winnipeg Free Press, and the support from Travel Manitoba and World Trade Centre Winnipeg. We would also like to thank the numerous sponsors who provided their time and efforts to make the series a success.
Details on the 2017-18 MBiz Breakfast Series are being finalized. Information on speakers, season ticket, and much more will be shared in the next few weeks.