This op-ed first appeared in The Canadian Chamber of Commerce's "5 Minutes for Business" June 22, 2017
We remain optimistic that NAFTA 2.0 could be a huge boost to the economies of North America because there is so much to be gained. But we’re also starting to worry: anti-trade rhetoric and posturing could veer the talks towards trouble. There are a lot of contentious issues to resolve in an unreasonably short deadline. Trade, in general, and NAFTA, in particular, are massively unpopular with Trump supporters.
And the decision-making in Washington D.C. around trade issues has become increasingly chaotic, with U.S. business groups pushing back aggressively against nationalists in the administration. We’ve already seen an executive order to withdraw from NAFTA, where President Trump told the Washington Post, “I looked forward to terminating. I was going to do it.” It was the uproar from U.S. business that forced the Trump Administration to reverse its position.
And again this week, the U.S. government appeared poised to make a dangerous decision on steel tariffs. The Commerce department was supposed to brief Congress on the tariffs last Friday, but the meeting was cancelled. Officials are now scrambling to alter the decision after ferocious blowback from U.S. business.
The lesson is clear: the most important group advocating trade is not politicians or (god help us) economists. It’s the business community because businesses understand the real world consequences, the jobs that depend on trade. These folks have a very powerful message that resonates with the general public as well as local members of Congress and Senators. And they are the most credible on the benefits of trade.
It’s exciting to see business at the forefront of this campaign, and we need your help. The Canadian Chamber is organizing visits to key U.S. states, including Tennessee, Texas and Georgia. (We’ve already been to Virginia and South Carolina.) We’ll be meeting local businesses and U.S. political leaders to raise awareness of the benefits of the Canada-U.S. relationship and to point out the risks of damaging it.
Our CEO, Perrin Beatty, recently pointed out, “When you go to Washington and meet politicians on Capitol Hill, you’re just another foreign lobbyist. But when you go out to their congressional district in Memphis, with Canadian business leaders who are investing in the local economy, importing their goods and hiring their workers, then you are priority number one.”
Participants are needed to make this strategy effective. Businesses, large and small, in all sectors are invited. We would also appreciate if you could provide us with information about your relationships in those states— the key suppliers, major investments, etc. Canadian firms with local offices in these states can help by alerting the local branches of our visits and asking them to participate in events or perhaps host site tours, etc. If you’d like to participate or join any of our delegations, please email us.
We’re also playing a direct role in Canada’s NAFTA negotiations. Our CEO met last week with the Cabinet Committee and our Vice President is on the Chief Negotiator’s consultative committee. Our framework NAFTA brief has been submitted to the Global Affairs department. We’ll be providing additional information to our trade negotiators in the coming weeks and months. If you have trade issues that you want us to bring to Canada’s NAFTA negotiators, please email us.
Let’s put the power of the network behind NAFTA. Our economies and our jobs depend on it.
It's the official first day of summer and we couldn't think of any better way to celebrate than to put the spotlight on some of our members' recent wins. Here are four recent Winnipeg business home runs that have us standing up and applauding.
Are you a Winnipeg Chamber member with news you want shared with the business community? Contact our communications department to let us know and we'll help spread the word.
Help our partners, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) and celebrate manufacturing’s impact on Canada’s history by submitting in your favorite made in Canada (especially Manitoba) products. Finalists will be announced in a national press release just in time for Canada Day and there will be special mentions for businesses who have been around since the beginning.
Goalie masks? The Jolly Jumper? MLB baseball bats or snowmobiles? What are your favorite made-in-Canada products? Even better, can you name your top made-in-Manitoba picks?
Manufacturing matters in Manitoba. The sector employs nearly 64,000 workers and is directly responsible for more than 10 per cent of all economic activity in the province. Moreover, manufacturing represents nearly 70 per cent of Manitoba exports. You can help us celebrate our impact, just in time for Canada’s 150th birthday!
Email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us your picks to @cmemanitoba with the hashtags #mfgmatters or #Canada150.
Earlier this month, Statistics Canada released the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS), which includes data up to May of this year. The LFS provides estimates on a variety of employment indicators, such as the unemployment rate. While they are estimates, they provide a good indicator on how Canadian provinces are doing creating jobs. So just how has Manitoba been doing recently?
At first glance, the numbers look very promising. Since the start of the year Manitoba has produced 10,800 full-time jobs, over two and a half times the amount produced in Saskatchewan. There were some part-time jobs losses however, leaving Manitoba up a total of 8,400 jobs since the start of the year. In percentage terms that is a 1.32% increase, the third largest increase amongst all provinces.
However if you look at monthly averages, the results are much less promising. From June 2016 to May 2017, there were on average 635,900 people employed in Manitoba. While that sounds like a lot, compared to the 12 preceding months that is only an increase of 1,200, a growth rate of 0.2%. More disconcerting is when it comes to full-time jobs, on average Manitoba is only up 400 full-time jobs. This is important to note as full-time jobs are typically more stable and higher paying than part-time jobs.
Hopefully the positive start we have seen so far in 2017 carries over into the rest of the calendar year.
Winnipeg’s landscape has changed over the last decade. Our skyline now has a new national museum, our zoo is now an international attraction, we have seen growth on our universities campuses, we have new buildings housing some of our most important work, parks that celebrate our history and our provincial citizens have been celebrated across the country for our generosity and our visionary approach to philanthropy.
All of this was done through the dreams of visionaries who imagined the impact philanthropy could make on our province. These campaigns were built in partnership between the private and public sectors with campaign goals built on two key assumptions:
Over the last several years, both the provincial and federal governments have changed how they fund philanthropic projects. As this represents a significant shift in how fundraising is done, the charitable sector finds the need to change their approach to campaigns and fundraising in general.
Consistently, I am asked for my advice on how best to do this. Here are a few of my answers:
With these key approaches, you will be better positioned to have a successful campaign. We absolutely want our community to continue to be known for our visionary campaigns and the programs and projects they create, but we need combine this vision with brilliant fundraising, stewardship and business approaches that ensure that our campaign goals are achieved.
We're pleased to announce a tremendous addition to your Chamber team - our new Director of Business Development, Mario Fontes.
Mario has an extensive business background and has spent the last 25 years working in the Data Collection, Retail Services, and Merchandising industries. He brings with him substantial sales experience in the business to business service sector as well as some work with non-profit organizations. He is excited to join The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and looks forward to meeting and working with the business and community leaders of Winnipeg.
Please contact Mario on his cell at 204 803 0885 or by email at email@example.com.
by Stephen Diakow
On June 2, 2017, the Leadership Winnipeg class was treated to a great session about the outstanding Arts & Culture scene in Winnipeg. Highlighting the session was a panel discussion with the Executive Directors from The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Manitoba Museum, The Winnipeg Art Gallery, The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, The Prairie Theatre Exchange and the Manitoba Opera. We are very fortunate to have better access to high-calibre performances right here in Winnipeg than many other larger centres around North America.
One interesting thing about our Arts & Culture community is the amount of collaboration that occurs amongst the various organizations. Rather than compete with each other for donors & patrons, the Executive Directors meet regularly and help each other out. The sentiment among the group is that failure of one spells trouble for the rest. Most of these organizations were started by volunteers and they continue with that same sense of community today. Only through collaboration will all of the organizations succeed. A high tide floats all boats.
At one point in the discussion, a question was asked about how these organizations adapt to the digital world. The response was quite interesting. While it’s important for these organizations to continually gain exposure in the digital environment, they are, at their core, an analog experience. Seeing a play or a show or a piece of art on the wall is something that needs to be done in person. The same holds true with seeing & hearing music performed either by the artists or a group of expert musicians conducted by a maestro. Watching the video, looking at a picture or listening to the song on your chosen medium is simply not the same experience. Dragging the analog into the digital world should not be seen as a chore but a necessity. The live object still rules and it always should.
What is it about Winnipeg that compels us to have all of these high-quality arts organizations and to see to it that they thrive? It’s not usually our art and it’s not always our music. Maybe part of our identity is the fact we take the opportunity to experience these things and to put them on display for others to see. We value art and culture in the same great way we value community service. We appreciate giving and sharing experiences. And that's why we have such high-calibre organizations.
So, unplug from the digital world, go see a play, listen to music or view an art exhibit. Experience what the Winnipeg Arts & Culture scene has to offer.
Four years ago, a group of Indigenous led organizations along with funders from the philanthropic community came together with a goal to build relationships between the charitable sector and Indigenous communities. Together, they created The Circle and have been working hard at visioning a new path forward for philanthropy in Canada.
Recently, they released a report with the support of The Winnipeg Foundation and the United Way of Winnipeg that reviewed Emerging Trends in Philanthropy for First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities with a focus on Manitoba. I urge all of us in the philanthropic and business sector to read and embrace the recommendations of this report.
It has been said by my Creaddo colleague, Bruce Miller (Senior Philanthropic, Social Inclusion & Reconciliation Strategist for Creaddo) that our sector has an unrealized opportunity to make an unprecedented outcome. By engaging in reconciliation efforts to increase the understanding and learning between these two groups, Manitoba has the opportunity to set the standard for how fundraising can be done for future generations. We can lead the nation in shifting our sector from transactional fundraising to transformational fundraising through inclusive giving, diversity and using the Indigenous models for relationship building, reciprocity, and storytelling.
Recently at a Reconciliation Roundtable dialogue about philanthropy, a challenge was issued to the charitable sector to lead in reconciliation efforts. We are the sector that makes change in our country. We are the motivators that convince our donors to invest in campaigns and fundraising initiatives. If we include truth and reconciliation training to our staff, boards and our donors, we can have a significant impact on this important time in our country’s history. We have the opportunity to use philanthropy as a driver to transform our community.
Please watch for community sessions around The Circle report and investigate opportunities to engage your teams in truth & reconciliation efforts. Thank you to the United Way of Winnipeg and The Winnipeg Foundation for their leadership on this valuable effort. For more information on The Circle, please visit:
Manitoba’s Legislative Assembly rose for the summer last week, and will resume sitting in October. We’re keen to collect your feedback on how legislation passed during this busy session has begun to impact your organization, particularly around three key bills:
Debate will resume this fall on legislation that will affect the future of ride sharing and tuition in this province, to list just two examples. As always the Winnipeg Chamber will be there to ensure the voice of business is heard on Broadway.
Once again this year, Winnipeg has been named one of fDi magazine’s American Cities of the Future in the category Mid-Sized American Cities of the Future – Business Friendliness. According to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and World Trade Centre Winnipeg, this distinction is due in part to the city’s bilingual nature and economic competitiveness.
The high ranking of some cities on fDi magazine’s American Cities of the Future lists is hardly a surprise. For others, like Winnipeg, appearing on the same lists as cities like New York and Vancouver is a rewarding distinction.
Mariette Mulaire, President and CEO of World Trade Centre Winnipeg, explains, “Making the top 10 Mid-Sized American Cities of the Future is important and highly encouraging. It is a valuable indicator that supports the efforts of economic and political actors.” In addition to providing “reassurance” to potential investors, this ranking is based on a broad series of actual and sociodemographic data divided into five categories: Economic Potential, Human Capital and Lifestyle, Cost-Effectiveness, Connectivity and Business Friendliness.
A total of 428 cities were analyzed to arrive at this outcome.
Winnipeg’s successful tenth-place ranking in the category Mid-Sized American Cities of the Future – Business Friendliness, on the heels of Laval and Surrey, is due not to chance “but to diversity,” assures Loren Remillard, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. “There are three major factors that make Winnipeg a competitive city for business: youth, diversity and the advanced skills of our workers,” he explains. “This is what makes our workforce unique.”
For Ms. Mulaire, developers are increasingly drawn to Winnipeg by another factor: the city’s bilingualism. “This plays a role in multiple markets,” she notes. “On top of this, we are proactive and more competitive than a lot of other cities. Rather than comparing ourselves to Toronto or other major centres, we have to go out and seek investors.” This is evident in the selection of Manitoba by the French starch processing company Roquette earlier this year for a major investment project.
The city was previously recognized in two categories in 2016 by fDi. However, receiving a single mention this year is not at all disappointing for Ms. Mulaire. “We don’t know what improvements other cities may have made,” she remarks. “It doesn’t mean that we aren’t as good; the most important thing is making the top 10.”
Could Winnipeg be a city on the move in this ranking? “Absolutely,” says Mr. Remillard. “Some people move away from Winnipeg after they graduate and then return soon after; it’s not the place that makes the difference, it’s the quality of life. And that’s what Winnipeg offers: an outstanding lifestyle. That’s not something you can put a price on, but it definitely comes into play in the business world.