MHCA acknowledges it is located on Treaty One land and the homeland of the Metis Nation

Trade coalition makes the case for national infrastructure strategy

John Law (CWF), Chris Lorenc (WCRHCA), Greg Orbanski (WCRHCA), Goldy Hyder (BCC), Premier Stefanson, Gary Mar (CWF), Nicole Chabot (CCA), Minister Cullen

A coalition of national and regional organizations met Premier Heather Stefanson in Winnipeg on January 19 to discuss a national plan to invest in trade corridors to move the goods and grow Canada’s economy.

“We need leadership, we need ambitious leadership (on trade infrastructure investment),” said Goldy Hyder, President of the Business Council of Canada. “There’s a lot at stake.”

Perrin Beatty, President & CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, stressed that expanding Canada’s markets is not just an opportunity awaiting to be seized but also an obligation, given the geopolitical turmoil that has underscored the need to solidify those ties among nations sharing common interests and values.

Canada has the energy, food and critical mineral resources – everything that Russia is selling – but it needs the trade corridor infrastructure investment to ensure these commodities get to customers.

“It requires all of us at the table” with a common plan and a common will, Beatty said, stressing that none of the parties – the federal governments, the provinces and private sector – can act sufficiently strong on their own to ensure success on this issue.

The meeting topic with Premier Stefanson was introduced by Hyder, on behalf of the group that included:

  • Canadian Chamber of Commerce President Perrin Beatty (virtually)
  • Canada West Foundation President Gary Mar
  • Canadian Construction Association Board Member Nicole Chabot
  • Western Canada Roadbuilders & Heavy Construction Association President Chris Lorenc
  • CWF’s Carlo Dade and John Law, and
  • WCRHCA Chair Greg Orbanski.

Stefanson was supportive of the concept and the initiative.

She noted it very much aligns with the investment and work her government has undertaken on critical trade assets in Manitoba, upgrading the provincial trade routes but also investing in CentrePort Canada and the rail line to Churchill.

Stefanson was joined at the meeting at the legislature by Economic Development, Investment & Trade Minister and Deputy Premier Cliff Cullen, Transportation & Infrastructure Minister Doyle Piwniuk, Cabinet Clerk Don Leitch (outgoing), incoming Clerk Kathryn Gerrard, Michael Swistun, Economic Development Board Secretary and Jaren Velel, acting DM of Ec. Dev., Investment & Trade.

“Two-thirds of Canada’s GDP relies on trade,” said Gary Mar, President & CEO of the Canada West Foundation. “But if you can’t move it, you can’t sell it.”

Canada’s trade corridor users and customers are saying they don’t think Canada can deliver.

In 2008, global and domestic users of Canada’s trade corridors ranked our country 10th in the world for such reliability; in 2019 that had plummeted to 32nd, just ahead of Azerbaijan.

When the US saw its rank fall to 14th in the same World Economic Forum survey, it revved up infrastructure investment. This and the progress made by Canada’s other global competitors for trade-market share illustrates the work this country has to do to catch-up.

“We have a very good blueprint for returning Canada to the top global trade countries through a thoughtful and strong strategy for investing in our country’s trade corridors and gateways,” said Chris Lorenc, speaking for the Western Canada Roadbuilders & Heavy Construction Association, following the meeting.

The building blocks of such a plan are laid out in the CWF report From Shovel Ready to Shovel Worthy. The report lays out the need for a national strategy that determines:

  • what are the national trade corridors
  • what new projects are needed 20 and 30 years ahead, and
  • the need for criteria by which to assess all projects proposed for funding, in order to prioritize and coordinate infrastructure investment.

“We know that Canada’s global reputation has plummeted, regarding its trade transportation reliability – those here at home and abroad are saying significantly more planning and investment are required,” added Nicole Chabot representing the Canadian Construction Association.

The coalition pressing for the national plan to invest in trade corridor infrastructure has already amassed good support politically on the need to see Ottawa come to the table, to launch the strategy and to include in Budget 2024-25 recognition that significant funding levels over many years are required to ensure Canada can meet head-to-head with global competitors for increased trade markets.

WCRHCA Chair Greg Orbanski said that as both a farmer and a heavy civil contractor, he is uniquely aware of the need to invest in the trade corridors, echoing the sentiments of the need to both deliver Canada’s resources to market and to see efficient supply of goods from our trade partners.

“Premier Stefanson has always spoken strongly about the need for Manitoba, and Canada, to solidify its trade competitiveness, recognizing that 65% of the national GDP and 53% of Manitoba’s economy are derived from trade,” Lorenc added.

“We think Premier Stefanson is well-positioned to help lead this initiative and to move Ottawa to make trade corridor infrastructure investment a real priority again.”

Chair’s Gala

November 18, 2022
RBC Convention Centre

Close to 650pp attended from both industry, government and stakeholder partners.  It was the closing of Nicole Chabot’s two year term as Chair.  Dennis Cruise of Bituminex Paving was welcomed as the new Chair.

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2022 Heavy Santa

December 16, 2022
David Livingstone School

This event was made possible through fundraising at the MHCA Chair’s Gala and Spring Mixer.

104 goodie bags and presents were prepared for the grades 1-4 students at David Livingstone School. 

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Awards Breakfast & Annual General Meeting

November 18, 2022
RBC Convention Centre

Manitoba Transportation & Infrastructure (MTI) Award Winner

  • Grading – Strilkiwski Contracting Ltd.: PTH 6 Grahamdale
  • Paving – Coco Paving o/a Russell Redi-Mix: Bituminous Reconstruction PTH 83
  • Urban Works – Coco Paving o/a Russell Redi-Mix: Bituminous Reconstruction PA 634 and Bituminous Pavement PTH 5
  • Special Projects – Mekhana Development Corp/Arnason Industries Ltd: Theresa Point Airport
  • Major Structures – D. Steele Construction: Bridge Replacement over the Red River Floodway on PTH 59N
  • Minor Structures – Moncrief Construction Ltd.: Reinforced concrete box culvert on PTH 5
  • Water Management – Brunet Ltd.: Flood response, Morris ring dike closure

200 members and guests gathered to hear greetings from Premier Heather Stefanson and the newly elected Mayor of Winnipeg, Scott Gillingham. Hon. Doyle Piwniuk, Minister, Manitoba Infrastructure, handed out the MTI Awards.

31 companies were recognized for their milestone membership commitments.

Matthew Neziol, of Bayview Construction, received the Safety Leader Award.

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