Last week Thursday members of the Brandon Chamber of Commerce sat together with municipal leaders from across Westman to participate in the State of the Province luncheon, hosted by the Brandon Chamber.

This year's event filled the room with over 500 people attending the noon meal.  Special guest, Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew, shared his thoughts from the podium about the many opportunities here in the Westman Region, especially when it came to educating our young people in the many career fields offered through Brandon University, Assiniboine Community College, and the Brandon Fire and Emergency Services College.

"A lot of his speech focused on healthcare and the work that they're doing in making some changes to staffing, particularly with nurses and nursing within Manitoba's healthcare systems," shares Brandon Chamber President, Lois Ruston. "So, that was excellent information to hear!"

After the premier's speech, Ruston was able to facilitate a Q & A where she could ask pointed questions regarding the City of Brandon, and Westman as a whole.

"We touched on a few different points," she explains. "We talked about international trade and some opportunities for foreign investment. The NDP government is working to align a number of different areas so that the province has a more concerted effort in helping businesses attract either foreign investment or opening up trade corridors for them to be able to promote their products into foreign markets."  

"So, that's really important for our members," adds Ruston, "and it was really great to hear some perspective on that."

Infrastructure was also a topic of discussion with the Premier.

"That's a big topic these days, it feels like at every level," says Ruston. "We were talking about how the Province could support basic infrastructure such as sewer and water, as an example."

"In the community of Brandon, and I know many of our partners across the region, we have to get services in the ground before we can start to develop and build, particularly houses," she continues. "As we know there's a housing crisis and a housing shortage. So, we spoke about the provincial government's partnership and how they can be a partner at the table to get some of those major infrastructure investments in place so that we can start to build up from there."