Provincial leaders commit to Prairie Innovation Centre at Assiniboine

Provincial leaders during debate in Brandon Manitoba

In a political campaign where candidates and leaders seek to differentiate themselves, sometimes a good idea can unite all parties.

This morning at the provincial leaders debate hosted by the Brandon Chamber of Commerce, all party leaders committed publicly to support the completion of Assiniboine Community College’s Prairie Innovation Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.

The college launched the Prairie Innovation Centre campaign in 2019 and has increased its fundraising goal twice, from $10 to 15 million, now nearing in on a new $20 million goal from donors.

The current Progressive Conservative government announced a $10 million commitment toward final design and costing in January 2023. In the summer they fortified that support with a commitment to a 216 new early learning centre as part of the development at the college’s North Hill campus

Manitoba’s New Democratic Party has also confirmed their commitment to the project, with a letter this month indicating that an NDP government would support both the Prairie Innovation Centre and the new child care centre within it. NDP leader Wab Kinew was unequivocal about that support at today’s chamber event.

Dougald Lamont and the Manitoba Liberal Party also confirmed their support publicly this morning. They had previously helped to advocate to the Government of Canada that it support the project as well.

“We’re heartened to see that while parties may be divided on certain issues, we’ve seen a unity of thought around a project whose time has come, with all parties in agreement that funding our Prairie Innovation Centre is an important step toward a better, stronger Manitoba.” said Mark Frison, President of Assiniboine.

One in three jobs in agriculture are expected to go unfilled by 2029. The Prairie Innovation Centre is an important project to add and strengthen training programs, industry engagement and applied research to support the agriculture and processing sectors in Manitoba. The Centre will redevelop the Parkland Building at the college’s North Hill campus.

“We know the role agriculture and related industries play in Manitoba. The province has seen significant private sector investment in agriculture and processing in recent years, and we know that we need to support those investments and attract more. We’re grateful to each of the provincial parties for recognizing this need—we look forward to working with you to bring the Centre to life.”