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Prime Minister Trudeau Discusses Economic Priorities with The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce

February 20, 2024

On February 16, 2024, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau engaged in a fireside chat with The Chamber, discussing critical economic issues facing Canada. Here are the key highlights from the hour-long conversation: 

Federal Government Priorities and Reconciliation:

The Prime Minister emphasized the federal government’s focus on reconciliation, highlighting the broader significance of Indigenous partnerships and the need to address past and intergenerational trauma. The importance of acknowledging Indigenous presence, culture, and values in policy-making was emphasized as deeply significant to national reconciliation efforts. 

Immigration Successes and Challenges:

Trudeau discussed Canada’s immigration goals, emphasizing the importance of balancing immigration levels with the country’s capacity to integrate newcomers and support their well-being. Winnipeg was praised as a successful example of immigration integration. However, challenges such as housing affordability and the influx of temporary residents were acknowledged, prompting a call for clear measures to address these issues.  

Trade Relations:

The importance of Canada as an integral trade partner for the United States was emphasized by the Prime Minister, with discussions on tariffs affecting US housing construction and the potential for mutually beneficial trade policies. Trudeau also highlighted the need to address barriers hindering trade between Canadian provinces, emphasizing the role of federal and provincial governments in facilitating smoother trade relations. Green procurement practices were underscored as essential for maximizing taxpayer value and boosting internal trade while addressing environmental concerns. 

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Loans:

The discussion touched upon the challenges faced by businesses in repaying CEBA loans amid ongoing economic uncertainties. Trudeau acknowledged the Canada Emergency Business Account loans were meant to help businesses during the acute phase of the pandemic, and that the government has to look at other ways of moving forward. 


Entrepreneurship was discussed as a driver of innovation and solutions. Trudeau emphasized the federal government’s commitment to supporting small businesses, women, Black, and Indigenous entrepreneurs while acknowledging systemic discrimination and barriers to accessing capital. 

Downtown Revitalization and Community Engagement:

The revitalization of downtown areas was highlighted as crucial for fostering community engagement and economic vitality, with a focus on appropriate housing solutions driven by community needs.  

View the entire conversation here

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