The economic connection between Manitoba and the Kivalliq isn’t new, but Chuck Davidson thinks there’s room to grow it.
“It’s one of those things that you need to continue to develop,” said Davidson, president and CEO of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce.
He and a dozen or so stakeholders from Manitoba businesses, governments and other organizations were touring Rankin Inlet last week to connect with the Kivalliq Chamber of Commerce and develop the economic relationship between the two jurisdictions.
“We think we can build on those relationships,” said Davidson. “This is an opportunity to do exactly that.”
Since Covid paused many similar connections, Davidson was glad to be back in Rankin Inlet to breathe some life into this relationship.
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“It’s great to say that you’re going to have a relationship, but part of that relationship means you’ve got to go visit sometimes as well,” he said, adding it’s not good enough to just invite people to Winnipeg all the time.
That said, the August visit to Rankin Inlet also served to prepare for a Winnipeg connection scheduled for February, where the Kivalliq chamber will be travelling south for a business conference.
“Before you can start doing business with someone, you need to have a relationship,” said Davidson.
Particularly, he thinks there’s room to rebuild Manitoba as a supply port to the Kivalliq, instead of having so many goods and services coming up from Quebec.
Patrick Tagoona, president of the Kivalliq chamber, said it’s hard to put a number on the economic value of the Kivalliq-Manitoba connection, but it must be in the hundreds of millions.
“This was a good exchange opportunity for us to have some good discussion and some education for them as well as to what’s happening in the Kivalliq,” he said about the meetings in Rankin Inlet.
“Manitoba is the natural corridor for Kivalliq for a long time, so the Manitoba-Kivalliq relationship goes way back.”
He also mentioned discussions around increasing utilization of the Churchill port to send products up to the Kivalliq.
For Davidson, the meetings last week weren’t a one-and-done, but the start of a new connection.
This story was originally published in Kivalliq News. It is republished under a Creative Commons license as part of the Local Journalism Initiative.
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