Making a pitch for Amazon
Winnipeg’s mayor and Manitoba’s premier have officially joined forces in their bid to attract Amazon’s second headquarters, though the mayor notes the price tag to woo the online retail giant isn’t clear.
The two joined the Premier’s Enterprise Team to work on that effort Thursday.
When asked if he expects the city and province would face a bidding war with other cities, Mayor Brian Bowman said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if tax waivers and other financial incentives were requested by the company.
But the mayor also stressed no exact asks have been made and a business case would be done to gauge what could be offered.
“What incentives are going to be requested? We don’t know, if (any). But when and if that happens, the business case would have to be made in order for me to support any such incentives from the City of Winnipeg,” Bowman said.
Both Bowman and Premier Brian Pallister said the $5-billion headquarters would have the potential to transform Winnipeg, since it’s expected to create up to 50,000 jobs.
“I call it a once-in-a-lifetime possibility to improve our province,” Pallister said.
Pallister said he disagrees with naysayers who argue Winnipeg “doesn’t stand a chance” of winning the investment. Critics claim the city is too small and lacks the mass transit, educational quality and talent pool to win.
Bowman said even if Winnipeg’s bid fails, it will prepare the city to compete for other business from Amazon and other companies.
“There’s tremendous benefit in assembling that team not only to go after this bid but to see if there’s other headquarters and other opportunities that we could work collaboratively with the province to go after,” he said.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister (left) looks on as Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman speaks yesterday.