How Canadian Government Leaders Grew To Trust Peter Nygard’s Perspective

Usually there tends to be an uneasy alliance between a government and its business leaders. If it was always smooth sailing between these two groups, lobbyists wouldn’t exist in the world today. So when a government can rely on a business leader to have a business focus that aligns with their governmental goals, it’s invaluable.

Peter Nygard provided the Canadian Government with that invaluable opportunity. Peter
Nygard’s magnanimous nature meant he cared not only about his own workers, but the industry and the country as a whole. This was always on display in the way he communicated and by the actions he took.

There are three core factors that made the Canadian Government take notice of Peter Nygard and invite him to help them with their governmental goals:

1 - Peter Nygard cared about the apparel industry. This was on display from very early on in his career when he established the Manitoba Fashion Institute with a mission of improving the economic climate for everyone. His message to his fellow apparel principals was ‘let’s come together and help the industry succeed’.

2 - Peter Nygard was trusted among his industry stakeholders. Several industry associations in Canada had him serve as their organizations’ leader or serving on executive boards of the various industry associations and organizations.

3 - Peter Nygard wrote a white paper on free trade that presented a perspective that was good for Canada and not focused on what was best for his business. While other industry stakeholders opposed the idea of free trade, which posed a challenge for the Canadian Government’s interest in free trade back in the 1980s, Peter Nygard advocated for it and presented how and why it was good for the country as a whole.

These factors led to the Canadian Government wanting to have Peter Nygard as a partner in helping them to explore the idea of free trade. There was no doubt that he was the right person to help them in their deliberations, since in 1983, Peter Nygard stated in a speech, “The focus, therefore, must not be on whether to have free trade, but on what terms to have it.”

In 1984, the Canadian Government appointed Peter Nygard as the co-chairman of a fifteen-member task force created to make recommendations to the federal government concerning long-term industrial strategies for Canada’s textile and clothing industries.

This was only the beginning of a long-term relationship of trust. For many years, Peter Nygard represented the Canadian Government abroad as a trusted trade representative.