Off to sell Canada

Econ­omy fol­lows Trudeau on trav­els to fi­nan­cial fo­rum in Switzer­land

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau is trad­ing the snowy hill­sides of a sea­side New Brunswick town for the snow­capped Alps of Switzer­land, with the na­tional and global econ­omy fol­low­ing him across the At­lantic Ocean.

Trudeau left Tues­day for Davos and the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum, which brings to­gether the world’s most pow­er­ful and in­flu­en­tial political and busi­ness lead­ers, celebri­ties and ac­tivists.

“We’re go­ing to talk about how di­ver­sity is a strength and re­ally show­case the fact that Canada has tremen­dous op­por­tu­ni­ties and is fac­ing chal­lenges like lots of places, but we have the tools to sur­pass those chal­lenges in a way that should draw in global in­ter­est,” he said be­fore leav­ing a fed­eral cab­i­net re­treat in Saint An­drews, N.B.

Trudeau will have a chance to give a key­note ad­dress on Wed­nes­day, talk about gen­der par­ity in his cab­i­net along­side Melinda Gates and sell his plans for grow­ing the Cana­dian econ­omy.

Navdeep Bains, min­is­ter of in­no­va­tion, sci­ence and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, said that Davos — like last month’s cli­mate change con­fer­ence in Paris — is a chance to demon­strate that Canada can show global lead­er­ship.

In Paris, Canada signed on with Mis­sion In­no­va­tion, a group of 20 coun­tries com­mit­ted to dou­bling their sup­port for clean en­ergy de­vel­op­ment over the next five years and to share the break­throughs.

“At COP 21 we made a ma­jor com­mit­ment to Mis­sion In­no­va­tion and so that re­ally shows lead­er­ship when it comes to clean tech­nol­ogy,” Bains said.

The eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial re­al­i­ties of ev­ery­day Cana­di­ans will still hit Trudeau: the par­lia­men­tary bud­get watch­dog de­liv­ered an eye­brow-rais­ing re­port Tues­day about the eco­nomic risk posed by high lev­els of house­hold debt.

On Wed­nes­day, the Bank of Canada will de­liver a much-an­tic­i­pated in­ter­est rate an­nounce­ment, likely to come just min­utes be­fore Trudeau gives his first speech in Davos.

Trudeau and his cab­i­net min­is­ters were dogged by ques­tions about fall­ing com­mod­ity prices and a de­clin­ing loonie dur­ing their three-day re­treat in New Brunswick.

Trudeau would only say Mon­day that his govern­ment would put for­ward a bud­get that is “the right one for Cana­di­ans.”

At a com­mu­nity din­ner Mon­day night where 300-plus peo­ple crammed into a rec cen­tre to have some spaghetti and hear Trudeau speak, the prime min­is­ter touched on why cab­i­net was meet­ing out­side Ottawa — “to talk about the chal­lenges that we have be­fore us,” he said — be­fore try­ing to give it a pos­i­tive spin by talk­ing about “tremen­dous op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

CP PHOTO

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau waves as he boards his air­craft in Fredericton, N.B., Tues­day as he heads to Davos, Switzer­land, for the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum.

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