Remarks for the APEC CEO Dialogues
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address you during this year’s APEC CEO Dialogues. This pandemic is truly a global challenge. And not just because every country, in every corner of the world, has been affected. But because there is no part of society, no industry, no aspect of daily life, that has not been changed.
This is a health crisis and an economic crisis.
It is a crisis of inequality and a crisis of trade.
These are not small challenges. And this is not the moment for half measures.
Around the world, there’s a growing consensus that we must think boldly.
This is our chance to build back societies that are fairer and economics that are more resilient. And that’s what I want to talk about today. In Canada, during the first wave of the pandemic, our government brought in the largest economic measures of our lifetime—measures that helped millions of people directly.
For families—it meant the difference between being able to pay rent and having to move out. For businesses—it meant keeping the lights on instead of going under.
This winter, we will be facing the second wave of the pandemic. And, as we did during the first wave, we will make wise investments to make sure that no one is left behind.
We have extended programs that have allowed a number of employers to stay open, notably by helping them to pay rent or their employees, or by granting them loans to create jobs.
But our support does not end there.
We’re focused on supporting Canadians through the coming months, while setting people up for success in the coming years. One of the best ways to do that is with real, meaningful action on climate change.
I don’t have to tell you that global consumers and investors are demanding—and rewarding—climate action. This is where the world is going. And it’s where Canada is going, too.
Today, our government is introducing legislation that cements our commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
This is an ambitious goal. But our kids, our economy, and our future can afford nothing less.
Net-zero is as much about avoiding the worst impacts of climate change as it is about creating good jobs and a competitive economy for years to come.
To reach this goal, we will work with every part of society, including the private sector. Already, many global businesses like yours are leading the way on net-zero targets. So let’s lead together.
If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we cannot look inward. To keep people safe and rebuild a strong and resilient economy, we must reach out.
Collaboration is the best way to create good jobs and foster shared growth.
It’s also the best way to fight climate change and promote international trade. Before the pandemic, our government committed to promoting progressive trade. Now, more than ever, we know that this is the way forward.
Already, Canada has negotiated trade deals with partners around the globe, from the new NAFTA to CETA with Europe. And we’re continuing to look to new opportunities to expand trade and investment, particularly in Asia-Pacific.
As a country proud of its Pacific coast, and a founding member of APEC, we’ve long worked with Asia-Pacific partners to promote good, progressive trade and defend a rules-based system.
We want to ensure that Canadians—and Canadian businesses—have access to these dynamic markets with huge potential for building shared prosperity. After all, working together just makes good sense; cities like Vancouver aren’t only gateways to the Pacific, they’re hubs for Canada-Asia trade.
That’s why we were one of the first countries to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It’s also why we are continuing to move forward on exploring the potential for an ASEAN-Canada free trade agreement.
By expanding our opportunities in these markets, we can create even more good middle-class jobs and support even more entrepreneurs who drive economic growth. We’re unlocking new opportunities not just for Canadians, but for businesses that choose to invest in Canada.
This is Canada’s moment to lead. And we want you to lead with us. Now, I know I’m a bit biased, but if I were a global business leader looking for a new market—choosing Canada would be a no-brainer.
Because in addition to our strong plan to support people and businesses through this crisis;
In addition to our trade deals that unlock access to the global economy;
In addition to our incredibly stable banking and judicial and political systems, even in the middle of a global crisis;
On top of all this, the true Canadian advantage is about people.
Canada is home to one of the most educated and diverse workforces in the world. And not that there was ever any doubt about their creativity and resilience, but this pandemic has shown once again that Canadians will thrive no matter what life throws at them.
Canada is ready for what comes next. And I know you are, too. As we see our world changing faster than we could have ever thought possible, as we are called to meet the challenges and the opportunities of this pandemic—we have a chance to build something new.
So let’s build it together.
Thank you very much.