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Message to WEF: Canada open for business

Trudeau will be pushing a rebranding under his leadership to attract investment.


DAVOS, Switzerland — A new prime minister and a new Canada. That’s the message Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to deliver when he makes his entrance at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum as he tries to rebrand Canada on the world stage.

He will do that through a keynote address today entitled, “The Canadian Opportunity,” which will be delivered hours after a session called “Canada’s global pivot.”

Trudeau will reportedly frame Canada as a safe place to invest amid global economic uncertainty and a country that’s more open for business than it was under the previous Conservative government.

The Canadian economy could use the global help.

When he took office, Trudeau’s advisers told him that global trends – social and economic – would affect the domestic economy despite Canada’s solid policy foundation and a well-educated population. His briefing binder says those international trends “could be occurring at a faster pace and on a larger scale compared to previous eras.”

Those trends included more disruptive technologies, the declining financial influence of the West, aging populations in Canada and other countries that will put pressure on health care and government spending, and even the rise of the “sharing economy” that has placed “increasing pressure on traditional policy tools like regulations.”

Copies of the documents were obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

That disruption is part of the theme of this year’s meeting in Davos: “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” which is focused on how technology is changing the way companies and businesses operate.

Trudeau is a political celebrity at the meeting and his officials want to take advantage of the doors that opens by getting him as much face time as possible with international power brokers.

Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, who met with Trudeau in a meeting room on the lower level of the Davos hotel where Trudeau is staying, said the Swiss city was a place to meet with a lot of people in a short period of time.

Sitting across the table, Trudeau said he had an awful lot of meetings himself to “try and connect with as many different people as possible and talk about some of the challenges, but also some of the great opportunities in Canada.”

Trudeau will meet with Microsoft CEO Natya Nadella, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and billionaire George Soros, whose interests include combatting climate change. Five of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers will also be able to rub shoulders with some of the most influential and powerful political and business leaders in the world.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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