Dabir Naqvi, left, accepted the gavel as the new Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce president from past president Angela Minish at the AGM Tuesday at the Days Hotel & Suites. Naqvi used the gavel to officially end the meeting. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO
Lloydminster residents will need act fast to rub shoulders and dine with former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
New Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce president Dabir Naqvi announced Harper will deliver a supper speech at the Lloydminster Stockade Convention Centre on June 14 with chamber members first in line to buy tickets as the host party.
Tickets to see and hear Harper in person will go on sale to members in April and to the general public in May.
“He will discuss growing global trade,” said Dabir at the chamber’s AGM at the Days Hotel & Suites on Tuesday.
“It’s all business related and we know that it’s going to be non partisan—we are very honoured to have our 22nd prime minister to come to Lloydminster.”
It’s likely Harper will also cover some recent trade deals and the North American Free Trade Agreement process.
“We thought that would be an interesting topic to learn more about,” added Serena Sjodin, the chamber’s executive director.
Sjodin noted the chamber will be selling sponsorship opportunities offering a private meet and greet with Harper before the prime rib dinner starts at 6:30 p.m.
The announcement by Dabir followed some annual business reports and a few words from 2017 chamber president Angela Minish about her term.
One of the highlights for Minish was the advocacy work of the chamber’s Political Action Committee (PAC) to secure $5 million in Alberta government grants to help Alberta fuel retailers offset the total carbon levy and fuel tax in the province.
She also had the honour to welcome Naqvi as the new 2018 president.
“I know that Dabir will be an excellent leader for our organization and I look forward to continue to work with him over the course of the next year,” said Minish who will stay on as a board member.
Naqvi takes over the presidency as a retiree and community volunteer who ended his 29-year career with Husky Energy as the general manager of heavy oil in Lloydminster.
“I feel honoured and very humbled that this community has given me this honour and I am hopeful that I will fullfil the expectations for my community,” he said.
He said he is committed to giving back and volunteering since his retirement.
Naqvi has been a board member since 2012 and a member of the PAC since 2011.
He is also a board member for Family and Community Support Services for the City of Lloydminster.
As chamber president, he said his number one priority “is to ensure that we implement our strategic plan.”
There are four components to the plan, namely organizaitonal growth, communication, membership and advocacy.
When it comes to growth Naqvi said, “We have approximately 550 members and we are very excited that we are ready to help them.
“When they come and ask for any kind of assistance related to civic, provincial or federal issues, we are there to do advocacy for them.”
Naqvi is well suited to advance the chamber’s 2018 policies including advocating to balance the need to reduce methane emissions while protecting jobs and investment provincially while minimizing the impacts of methane in the Lloydminster-Cold Lake oil corridor.
“I agree that the jobs and the investments are extremely important to this region,” he said.
Other policies on the agenda are developing an economic strategy for the City of Lloydminster and lobbying the city for an enforceable dangerous goods route.
“As was the case last year and years past, the Lloydminster Chamber of commerce continues to be a force and a voice for the Lloydminster business community,” said Naqvi in his acceptance speech.
“The changes we strive for make Lloydminster a great place to do business, whether you are on the Saskatchewan or the Alberta side of the border.”
Naqvi credited the board members for keeping finger on the pulse of the business community.
The AGM elected Chris Ketchum, Corrine Kelly-Hyde and Kristin McGowan as new board members.
The trio replace retiring members Aaron Klassen, who served for one year, Kevin Lundell who logged 10 years and former city mayor Rob Saunders who served for 24 years.
All three parting members were presented with gifts.