Western Canada’s trade productivity and global profile is key to keeping Canada competitive in the global trade arena, a major Western think-tank organization says, in lending its voice to a proposal for recapitalizing a federal trade transportation investment program.
“Trade infrastructure is critical for Canada and for the West, in particular,” said Gary Mar, the Chair of the Canada West Foundation, in a letter to Winnipeg MP Jim Carr, recently re-installed in the Trudeau government’s Cabinet as a minister with special responsibility for the Prairies.
“How the Government addresses trade and the quality of Canada’s trade corridors that move goods, people, and money to and from international markets will be a major determinant of the competitiveness of Canada’s export-based economy.”
The Business Council of Manitoba and the MHCA have had discussions with and co-signed similar letters to federal, provincial and municipal leaders, setting out the proposal for a robust investment program for Western trade gateways and corridors.
“We believe that Manitoba and Premier Pallister are strategically positioned to lead this initiative, to see significant investment in the trade corridors and gateways across the West so Canadians can take advantage of the new trade markets opening to our country,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc said. “We very much applaud the Canada West Foundation for adding its voice to this vital proposal.”
Mar added in his letter that the need for connecting and building trade transportation capable of meeting new opportunities domestically, continentally and around the world is not a Western Canadian issue, alone.
“The health of our trade corridors and the ability of Canadian businesses to compete internationally is a national priority which is fundamental to Canada’s post-pandemic recovery, and will sustain and create jobs for the future economic prosperity of the country.”
The CWF has done extensive work on the issue of trade transportation infrastructure investment with the western provinces and the federal government. This work has included roundtables with industry think tanks and former Transport Minister Sohi, and summits of the New West Partnership premiers, including a pending summit in Winnipeg.
The organizations coalescing around the proposal for a federal recapitalization of Western trade gateways and corridors investment fund have approached Carr because of his long-standing interest in trade and the economy, including his work when he was minster of International Trade Diversification from 2018-19.
Carr has served on the board of the CWF and was the president of the Business Council of Manitoba from 1998 to 2015.