I awoke the other morning depressed by a dream where I was struggling against being held down, restrained, unable to move forward. I was shouting, “You can’t hold me back. Stop trying to restrain me.” I had a choking, frustrated feeling in this dream.
If dreams are the portal to your real thoughts and feelings, perhaps this one was telling me that I needed to write about how it’s time for Manitoba to break its bonds of caution and insecurity and move forward boldly and courageously.
If this seems a bit “out there”, it probably only reflects the articles and discussions I have been listening to and engaging in with friends at the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Council, the Women of Winnipeg and the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce and so many others about where we are in Manitoba right now. These frustrations are top of mind for most of us in business.
It is time for a sea change in this province. It is time to step up and take some risks, let the world know who we are, do things differently, give our kids a chance.
I don’t want to be held back, to be tied down by last century thinking, by fear of competition, by an inability to accept the challenges of new ideas.
It’s not only time for a change in this province; it is time for a change with some real meaning behind it. This requires being open to altering old institutions and old approaches – what worked 20, 30, 50 years ago may not work now. Let’s be open, curious and ready to meet possibilities head on.
Confident but not cocky
Manitobans are creative, resourceful, intelligent people who generally lack only one thing: confidence in marketing themselves and their products. What we need is some encouragement and leadership assuring us that we can do it and that our government is behind us with sensible legislation, regulation and support.
What I want is a government that is confident in its people and their abilities to make good things happen for themselves. We need to have the courage to tackle the big challenges with an open mind, supported by creative thinking.
We need leadership that tells us to hold up our heads and strike out boldly on the path to success anywhere in the world.
We need to be open and welcoming to new companies and new investments. We have to project the message that if you’ve got a new idea, you can bring it home to Manitoba to build and nurture here in the province of new and bold ideas with our government’s blessing and backing.
Open to new ideas and better way to do things
Let’s stop rejecting new ideas just because that’s not the way we do things now.
Why not admit that there is already competition in the health care system and allow it to grow in a natural way? It’s happening in Saskatchewan!
Why not critically look at the delivery system for social services and see if there are better ways to provide care than how we are doing it now. Why do we need three different people, each one of whom does only one thing (and often not the critical thing that needs to be done) to provide home care? Wouldn’t it be better to have just one housekeeper/cook/helper who can walk and chew gum at the same time to assist our seniors to live at home as long as possible?
Surely there is a better way to provide the services needed to support kids in difficult family circumstances than to rip them away from their parents, who themselves need support, and then abandon them to the streets or place them in even more abusive circumstances.
Why not re-examine what we are doing with Manitoba Hydro and again admit that the road we are on right now makes little sense in a world where fracking is producing an overabundance of power on this continent? Let’s acknowledge that, any day now, new technologies are going to make the transmission of hydro electric energy over hundreds of miles too expensive, too dangerous and finally obsolete.
In preparation for this, why can’t hydro divert some of the billions it’s spending on transmission lines and hydro dams to exploring the new technologies with guys such as Elon Musk, whose brilliant power options will not only reduce our need for hydro power but help save the planet?
Open minds, open hearts, open future
We Manitobans can be so niggling, so closed, so afraid of competition, when all that does is narrow the playing field for everyone. What happened to our pioneer spirit that made us leaders in the past? When did we lose the courage to seize the day and shake the gold out of it?
Let’s get rid of the counter-productive marketing boards that stifle initiative in our province. Let’s open up the sales on alcohol and wine and allow other retailers to carry these products in competition with the government monopoly.
Let’s encourage non-profit organizations to do their best and continue providing services that they provide better than governments, instead of viewing them as completion for union jobs.
And speaking of unions, why not respect the work that unions do and get them to open their minds and hearts and help us create new and bigger opportunities, instead of slamming the doors on competition?
These are just a few ideas that would lead to real change and help return Manitoba to the gateway to opportunity it once was.
I’m sure you have a million more ideas. Let’s get the out there and see if we can inspire our politicians to make change real and productive for us and our province.