Cana­dian fi­nance min­is­ter makes pitch for in­vest­ment

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By HATTY LIU and YUJI ZHANG in Van­cou­ver for China Daily

Cana­dian Fi­nance Min­is­ter Bill Morneau called on en­trepreneurs and other rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Van­cou­ver Chi­nese com­mu­nity to in­vest in Canada.

“We have a sig­nif­i­cant deficit in in­fras­truc­ture, but we have the best bal­ance sheet among all G7 coun­tries,” Morneau told the au­di­ence last Wed­nes­day at the Sher­a­ton Hotel in Rich­mond, Bri­tish Columbia. “I can tell you the global con­sen­sus we’re hear­ing is al­most ex­actly what we’re hear­ing at home: In­vest­ments in the econ­omy are needed now more than ever.

“Canada now has the low­est in­ter­est rate in his­tory,” said Morneau. “We are look­ing for global part­ner­ships to over­come is­sues, such as slower eco­nomic growth and cli­mate change, to­gether.”

The evening opened with a pri­vate meet­ing, in which the min­is­ter an­swered ques­tions from five ma­jor lo­cal Chi­nese en­trepreneurs on the new gov­ern­ment in Ot­tawa’s poli­cies to­ward China, in­clud­ing bi­lat­eral trade, cur­rency set­tle­ment and the pos­si­bil­ity of Canada join­ing the China-led Asia In­fras­truc­ture In­vest­ment Bank.

At the re­cep­tion that fol­lowed, he out­lined new ini­tia­tives in the fed­eral gov­ern­ment bud­get to sup­port the mid­dle class, stress­ing that the Chi­nese com­mu­nity in Canada has a vi­tal role in the con­ver­sa­tion about Cana­dian pol­icy and its fu­ture di­rec­tion.

“I want to thank each and ev­ery per­son in this room for your sup­port in tak­ing our mes­sage of hope and hard work and turn­ing it into a gov­ern­ment that can be some­thing all Cana­di­ans are proud of,” he said.

“Canada is fac­ing a tough (pe­riod of) eco­nomic growth … and a volatile and chal­leng­ing global en­vi­ron­ment. We know that to­gether we can make an enor­mous dif­fer­ence in this coun­try,” Morneau said.

He also dis­cussed the gov­ern­ment’s stepped-up ef­forts at fam­ily re­u­ni­fi­ca­tion im­mi­gra­tion pro­grams and men­tioned that he looked for­ward to vis­it­ing China in Septem­ber for the 2016 G20 sum­mit along with Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau to has­ten the process of bi­lat­eral col­lab­o­ra­tion on clean en­ergy, trade and fi­nance.

“We now have a new gov­ern­ment with the most di­verse cab­i­net, which can de­velop a fair and cre­ative po­lit­i­cal plat­form that will tell the world Canada is open and can build much stronger eco­nomic re­la­tions with China,” said Hong Guo, the founder and di­rec­tor of the Guo Law Corp and co-chair of the event.

“We are so ex­cited to have this new fed­eral gov­ern­ment who strongly be­lieves in in­vest­ing in the fu­ture, help­ing the mid­dle class and those work­ing hard to help re­duce eco­nomic dis­par­ity among Cana­di­ans, and who be­lieve in in­vest­ing in ex­pand­ing trade re­la­tion­ships with China,” said Peter Liu, event co-chair.

Ear­lier in the day, Morneau vis­ited the Squamish Na­tion and dis­cussed the new gov­ern­ment’s in­vest­ments to im­prove liv­ing stan­dards in Canada’s in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties. This was fol­lowed by a lun­cheon with the Greater Van­cou­ver Board of Trade.

“Some peo­ple might chal­lenge the new gov­erhn­ment’s bud­get pub­lished this year — why we put bil­lions on help­ing in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties, the se­niors, chil­dren and solv­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems? I think Canada will ben­e­fit as a whole from the gov­ern­ment strat­egy of sup­port­ing its di­verse cul­ture and mak­ing fair rules to ev­ery so­cial group,” Guo said.

“Over­seas Chi­nese in North Amer­ica were po­lit­i­cally marginal­ized for long decades,” Guo said. “And I am glad that we are mak­ing progress here to let the new gov­ern­ment hear our voices.”

Bill Morneau, Cana­dian fi­nance min­is­ter

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