Prime Minister Trudeau delivers a keynote address at the Fortune Global Forum in Toronto
Hello everyone. Thank you for the warm welcome. It’s great to be here this afternoon and thank you for the kind introduction, Nina.
Ladies and gentlemen, what a pleasure it is to host you here in Toronto at one of the more exciting and interesting times in Canada’s recent history. Welcoming the world to Toronto for the 2018 Fortune Global Forum is yet another big moment in a series of big important moments for our economy and for our people.
Just look at the past few months. This summer we hosted the world’s political leaders at the G7 in Charlevoix Quebec to talk about how best to create an economy that works for everyone. Just a few weeks ago we made tremendous progress on trade with two of our closest partners. We reached an agreement in principle, with the U.S. and Mexico on a new modernized trade pact – the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The USMCA will ensure continued free and fair trade across North America and create new opportunities for Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs. It’s an agreement that will benefit our economy and strengthen our middle class.
Today is another important moment for Canada, with business leaders and CEO’s from around the globe, here to talk business, investment and innovation. And next month, we’ll continue this discussion when Montreal hosts the Fortune Most Powerful Women International Summit. I’m looking forward to being there, for what I know will be some very productive discussions.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is all just a start. Every day momentum grows as Canada takes the lead on the world stage and drives growth here at home. So, when I say that this is a big moment for the Canadian economy, here are just a few numbers to back it up. Canada’s unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 40 years; 600,000 more Canadians are working today than at this time two years ago. And wages are growing at their fastest rate in close to a decade. Those workers are powering success across the board; our economy is one of the best performing in the G7. Not only that, but Canada has the lowest net debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7, less than half the average of the other G7 nations. As you all know, that’s the marker of a strong fiscal foundation.
My friends, Canada’s recent economic success is not a coincidence. It’s a direct result of making smart, targeted investments in Canadian innovation and in Canadian communities. We took action to grow the economy by boosting consumer confidence, lowering taxes for the middle class, and putting more money back into the pockets of Canadians. Our next step was giving Canadians the tools they need for the jobs of the future, and investing nearly a billion dollars in five super-cluster regions that will serve as global innovation hubs. We’re also making historic investments in fundamental science to support innovation, introducing a regulatory reform agenda, lowering taxes for small businesses and offering greater support for women in the workforce.
And of course, we’re not doing this work alone. As a government, we know that by working with business leaders, we can transform the challenges into opportunities. You are key players in our plan for sustainable growth that benefits families and businesses alike.
As we establish and implement our long-term strategic vision for Canada, we’re already seeing impressive results. Two weeks ago, I was in Vancouver to announce the single largest private sector investment in Canadian history: $40 billion to build a major liquified natural gas project in Northern BC. This is truly an international project, a joint venture between five companies from five different counties. And it comes on the heels of other recent major investments by companies like SAP, Siemens, Sales Force, Toyota, Amazon, Microsoft and Thomson Reuters, to name just a few.
The LNG project is a great example of how, all at the same time, we can attract global investment, create jobs, and fight climate change with progressive environment policies like putting a price on pollution and introducing a world-class Oceans Protection Plan. LNG produces half the carbon emissions of coal, and this specific project will mean 10,000 good jobs for Canadians at the height of construction. Andy Calitz, the CEO of LNG Canada who is with us today, will do a fantastic job on this project.
On top of this historic investment, our huge progress on trade with the USMCA will support working people in every sector of the economy and ensure that Canadian businesses have access to a market of 470 million people. Between this agreement, CETA, CPTPP and our other trade agreements, Canada now has preferred market access to two-thirds of the global economy. Indeed, we’re the only G7 country with a free-trade deal with every other G7 country.
We’re also the only G7 country to have a trade deal with every other G7 member. That unique access secures Canada’s position in a global free trade network that benefits everyone. Because it’s not just Canadians themselves who are seeing firsthand the prosperity delivered by progressive and diversified trade, but businesses, too.
I’m looking forward to talking more about the Canadian advantage in my discussion with Alan because this is Canada’s moment to lead, and we’re making it easy for you to lead with us.
Our new Infrastructure Bank of Canada is helping the private sector partner with government to build major infrastructure projects. Our Global Skills Strategy helps businesses attract top global talent, so you can recruit the best and the brightest to Canada in as little as two weeks.
Just in case you doubt your high-school French, let me repeat that one right there.
Our new global skills strategy will allow companies from around the world to bring in their top talent and set up shop in Canada, in two weeks. Our new Invest in Canada agency is a one-stop shop for international businesses looking to invest with us. On that note, let me recognize Ian McKay, the CEO of Invest in Canada; who has just come from another fortune event in Japan to be with us this afternoon, and who is doing outstanding work in his role.
But there’s even more that creates the Canadian advantage and makes our country and our people competitive: Canada is home to one of the most highly educated and diverse workforces in the world. A workforce that’s constantly innovating and knows how to elevate a company to the cutting edge.
Our banking and legal systems are incredibly stable for citizens and investors alike, And our vibrant, multicultural communities are places where Canadians… people want to live, work, and raise their families.
So, ladies and gentlemen, whether you’re scouting locations for a new manufacturing plant, mulling over avenues for business expansion, or considering a new city for your corporate HQ, think about what Canada has to offer.
The conditions are right for Canada to cement our status as a global economic leader. This is Canada’s moment. And you’re all here because you’re interested in being a part of it. Together we can, and will, drive the progress that defines our generation here in Canada and right around the world.
Thank you all very much.