In March of this year, the Province of Manitoba initiated the Blue-Ribbon Panel to represent Manitoba's diverse regions and economic interests. 

The group is chaired by Councillor for RM of Sifton, Scott Phillips, and Carly Edmundson, President and CEO of CentrePort Canada. 

Edmundson serves as vice-chair of the City of Winnipeg's Goods Movement Advisory Committee and is also a board member for North Forge. 

Scott Phillips was first elected to the RM of Sifton in 2010 and to the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) Board of Directors in 2022.  He also serves as a member in the Western Caucus.

Both co-chairs represent the Westman Region well.  (Carly Edmundson hails from the Pierson area)

The Panel plays a lead advisory role in shaping the province's multi-year plan and infrastructure strategy, providing advice and recommendations with the goal of creating jobs, improving public safety, supporting economic growth and improving major infrastructure like roads and highways.

There are thirteen members on the Blue-Ribbon Panel.  Scott Phillips says this is a dynamic group to work with. "This is an ambitious group with great ideas and the province is so engaged with the group and listens to the co-chairs. It's just such an amazing team!"

These members have been appointed by Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Lisa Naylor, and members serve at the discretion of the minister.

"The mandate is to review all the projects and the five-year plan, and to look at the capital budget and to see what makes the most sense for the province in moving commodities in a safe and timely manner," explains Phillips.

He says they meet on a regular basis. "We're going over the criteria, making sure that the stakeholders know the checklist that the province looks for to decide on which projects to support. There's only so much money to go around," he adds. "So, key-trade and infrastructure, making the corridors accessible all year round and the ease of transport.  The port at Churchill is a goldmine for the province of Manitoba to move commodities, as well as the east-west corridor like Highway 16, and the northern routes up to the Pas."

Phillips adds that it has been an honor to be part of the Blue-Ribbon Panel, and then to be asked to co-chair it with Carly Edmundson has been a great experience.

"It's just great to have everyone in the room and say, 'What can we do? What have we got? and What can work? What can we suggest to the province?'"

Please listen to more with Scott Phillips below!