January 12, 2017 — A senior federal government minister says Canada could be in a unique position to benefit from the wave of protectionist politics sweeping the world.
Chrystia Freeland, who on Tuesday was promoted from International Trade Minister to Foreign Minister, believes Canada’s positive attitude towards immigration and international trade makes it a world leader, as competitors looks to close off their borders.
In a year in which the U.S. elected Donald Trump and the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, Canada has completed a trade deal with the E.U. and established 300,000 as a benchmark annual number of new immigrants.
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Freeland told the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations: “The complexity of the international situation presents enormous possibilities for Canada. I believe we are the best-placed country in the world to emerge from this complexity.”
Freeland was instrumental in getting the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement signed despite opposition from several areas, including in Belgium when the regional Walloon parliament almost blocked the deal.
Her work earned her promotion to Foreign Minister, meaning she will lead the country on the international scene. And she feels proud that Canada has not been drawn down the same route as the U.S. and the U.K.
She said: “Out of all industrialized countries, Canada is the only one to go up against this tendency. Canada is defending an open society and saying: ‘We are open to immigration … we are open to trade.’”
Freeland is keen to promote the message that Canada is open for business to the global economy, the opposite of the rhetoric coming out of its major competing nations.
There are fears Canada could be under threat from Trump’s plan to either tear up or significantly change the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
But Freeland feels the Trump administration will see the importance of the relationship with Canada and realise how both sides can benefit.
Trump has been significantly more negative towards Mexico, the other member of NAFTA, highlighting plans to build a wall along the border as a key policy during his election campaign.
In terms of immigration, there is a feeling Canada could benefit from bringing in skilled workers no longer welcome in the U.S. and the U.K.
Traditionally Canada has struggled to hold on to its bright young people, with an estimated 350,000 of them lured to Silicon Valley or other parts of America.
They could be about to be forced to beat a retreat back home, and Canada is waiting with open arms to welcome them.
Conservative estimates suggest Canada will have 182,000 vacancies in the technology sector by 2019. The growing sector is driving the economy, with 71,000 companies employing 5.6 per cent of the workforce and responsible for 7 per cent of the country’s output.
More people are employed in technology than a combination of oil and gas, mining and forestry – a startling indication the Canadian economy is undergoing a significant transition, meaning it needs workers with the right expertise.
The British Columbia city of Victoria is growing as a technology hub, but companies are spread all over Canada looking for the right kind of people to help them grow. There are jobs everywhere for those with the required qualifications.
The message is simple: If the U.S. and the U.K. no longer want these skilled workers, Canada is ready to take them.
Interested employers: Kindly contact us here to receive further information.
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