Manitoba

Manitoba Tories announce pledge to open economic development office in Brandon

Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister took his campaign to Brandon on Thursday, where he announced the establishment of a new economic development office if he's re-elected as premier.

Office would focus on agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, technology

PC Leader Brian Pallister announced an economic development building in Brandon that would focus on generating business and creating new economic pathways in the city and rural Manitoba. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)

Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister took his campaign to Brandon on Thursday, where he announced the establishment of a new economic development office if he's re-elected as premier.

Pallister offered little information about cost or the scale of the operation, but said the goal of the office would be to tap into a variety of industries such as agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and technology.

"The office itself is not designed to just serve Brandon's needs it's designed to serve all Manitoba's needs and certainly specifically to focus attention on helping develop job creation projects for rural," he said during a press conference in Brandon.

The promise falls in line with the Tories' current economic development strategy, Pallister said. He told media there has been some growth in different parts of Manitoba, and now is the time to capitalize.

"We [need to] match the opportunity with the capital, so that it can come and be put at risk in the right location to generate the maximum benefits to the company," he said.

Pallister said the strategy of growing business in rural communities will help the PCs meet their goal of creating 40,000 new private-sector jobs in a second term. Most of those jobs would be created by attracting companies in the private sector to invest.

"[This] creates the opportunity to attract more investment and this gives us better value added opportunities in rural Manitoba where it goes," said Pallister.

While competition may rise in the area, he said the government believes that is a net positive and an economic driver.

"I'm a business person from the private sector. I believe that competition is a good thing.… The provincial government shouldn't be determining that, we should be allowing the market to determine that."

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With files from Riley Laychuk

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