Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday January 21, 2016
Justin Trudeau distances himself from Harper at World Economic Forum in Davos
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used his moment on the main stage of the World Economic Forum today in Davos, Switzerland to present Canada as uniquely suited for the transforming global economy.
“If you are looking for a country that has the diversity, the resilience, the positivity and the confidence that will not just manage this change but take advantage of it, there has never been a better time to look to Canada.”
Trudeau spoke to a few hundred attendees inside the main hall at the WEF, attended annually by world leaders and the business elite.
The prime minister and several of his cabinet ministers are there for four days of presentations and meetings. This year’s summit is focused on the idea of the “fourth industrial revolution,” the idea that rapid technological innovation will drive a new era of change in the global economy.
“Today, we are gathered here to contemplate whether we are in the early stages of a fourth industrial revolution. What a breathtaking possibility that is,” Trudeau said. “Steam power changed the world utterly. So did electricity and more recently, computers. And now we may be on the cusp of change equal in magnitude and of a far swifter pace.”
In explaining why and how Canada could lead be at the forefront of this change, Trudeau attempted to differentiate himself from Stephen Harper, who addressed Davos as prime minister in 2012.
“My predecessor wanted you to know Canada for its resources,” he said. “I want you to know Canadians for our resourcefulness.”
The public stage of the WEF’s annual meeting in Switzerland is an obvious showcase for Trudeau and his ministers to be seen before the global elite. But the private meeting rooms of Davos will also be the stage for the unseen wooing of a wealthy audience, with the hope of attracting potential investors to Canada.
Before addressing the forum, Trudeau met privately with Ben van Beurden, chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell, the oil giant. He was also scheduled to meet Wednesday with famed financier George Soros, as well as executives from Facebook and Microsoft.
Trudeau’s presence in Davos has been widely touted by the international press and his speech was followed by an onstage interview with American journalist Fareed Zakaria, which was to be later aired on CNN. (Source: CBC News)