Canada needs a trade infrastructure investment strategy that prioritizes “shovel worthy” projects, rather than those that are simply “shovel ready”, some 220 attendees at the Manitoba Chambers Ministers Dinner heard May 25.
“we’re anxious to recharge our economy, moving beyond just regaining lost ground, but forging ahead with sustainable growth,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc said in an address to the dinner’s guests, including Premier Heather Stefanson, the Cabinet ministers and senior political officials.
However, Budget 2022 indicated that while the provincial GDP would grow this year by 3.6%, it would slow to 2.6% growth in 2024. That would place Manitoba under the national economic growth.
We cannot settle for Manitoba trailing Canada in economic growth nor be satisfied with simply rebounding, Lorenc told the dinner.
“We need to build the conditions for sustainable, envied growth. And that, largely depends on our global trade profile.” Trade accounts for 66% of Canada’s GDP and 53% of Manitoba’s.
However, in Canada, those who rely on trade infrastructure have spoken loudly about their falling confidence in the condition, connectivity and efficiency of the trade corridors and gateways across the country. Further, international investors and traders also have registered their lagging confidence.
That is because not only has Canada not significantly increased trade infrastructure investment in 10-plus years, the way it prioritizes projects for funding is failing the country. Canada needs a strategy that selects projects with the highest return to the GDP, aligns infrastructure improvements of national significance, and sets up a project pipeline of 20 or 30 years.
“This is about our ability to move what we manufacture, harvest and produce to market seamlessly and reliably,” Lorenc stressed. “If you can’t move it, you can’t sell it.”
Lorenc urged the attendees to read a Canada West Foundation report, released May 10, called From Shovel Ready to Shovel Worthy – The Path to a National Trade Infrastructure Plan. It lays out the foundation to constructing a strategic, multi-year infrastructure investment plan, borrowing from best practices internationally and from past Canadian investment programs.
Click here to read Lorenc’s full address to the Ministers’ Dinner.