In a bid to reassure the assembled leaders that, despite the oil-price collapse, Canada’s economy was strong, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to the stage at January’s meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
"My predecessor wanted you to know Canada for its resources," Justin Trudeau, Canada's new Prime Minster, told an audience at the World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. "I want you to know Canadians for our resourcefulness." The 'fourth industrial revolution' had been a central talking point of the conference. "Today, we are gathered here to contemplate whether we are in the early stages of a fourth industrial revolution. What a breath taking possibility that is," Mr 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."
Mr Trudeau said that diversity was crucial to the creativity needed to harness advances in robotics, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, and other technologies.
"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," he added.
"We have a diverse and creative population, outstanding education and healthcare systems, and advanced infrastructure. We have social stability, financial stability, and a government willing to invest in the future."
Echoing concerns raised in the WEF's Future of Work report, Mr Trudeau said, "It's not hard to see how the connections between computing, information, robotics, and biotechnologies could deliver spectacular progress. It's also not hard to imagine how it could produce mass unemployment and greater inequality."
The report, released to coincide with the conference, warned that more than seven million jobs were at risk from the 'fourth industrial revolution'. It noted that mobility was one of the keys to adjusting to the new status quo.
"Technology itself will not determine the future we get. Our choices will. Leadership will," Mr Trudeau said. "I believe in positive, ambitious leadership. I don't believe leaders should prey on the anxiety of the disenfranchised.
"Leadership should be focused on extending the ladder of opportunity to everyone, on pursuing policies that create growth, and on ensuring that growth produces tangible results for everyone."
While his public address was an opportunity to showcase Canada to the global economic elite, the Canadian premier also held private meetings with major players from the business community.
As Mr Trudeau sought to attract inward investment, his government was also taking steps to revive the economy. Reports suggested that Canada was looking to accelerate its infrastructure spending in a bid to boost the economy, focusing on energy efficiency, transit and public housing.
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