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Institute for Research on Public Policy

Institute for Research on Public Policy

December 03, 2010 11:45 ET

BMO Vice Chair: Canada has Strong Story to Share With the World and has the Strengths to Become a Magnet for Talent

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 3, 2010) - In today's volatile and uncertain global environment, with many countries facing significant challenges, Canada has been doing a lot of things right, according to the Honourable Kevin Lynch, Vice-Chair, BMO Financial Group. 

Speaking at the Institute for Research on Public Policy's "A Snapshot of Canada, 2010" event in Toronto, Dr. Lynch stated, "it was not luck that enabled Canada to weather the 2008-2009 global financial crisis and recession with such resilience. It was due to solid economic management over more than a decade including low debt, a diverse and sophisticated economy, robust resources and a sound financial system."

He cited four of Canada's strengths:

  • Solid economic fundamentals: "The relatively strong economic and financial performance we have enjoyed has been partly the result of good policy foundations – Canada's economy was underpinned by prudent public finances. Canada has also had an effective inflation-targeting monetary policy since 1991, and its tax rates – both individual and corporate – are low by G7 standards."

  • A diversified and sophisticated economy: "Canada has always been known for its abundant natural resources, and this is paying off handsomely with the growing world demand for crude oil and minerals. In the past decade, however, the largest growth has been driven by the service, retail, scientific and technical sectors."

  • Robust resources, both natural resources and human resources: "Canada has been blessed with abundant natural resources and is a world leader in the production of many key commodities. As world demand for natural resources grows in line with rapid Asian expansion, this clearly benefits Canada. Also, Canada's workforce is educated, skilled and multicultural. This diverse, multilingual and multi-cultural talent base represents a wonderful strategic advantage for Canada and Canadian companies."

  • A sound financial system with strong financial institutions: "Canada was the only G7 nation whose banks did not require a government bailout during the recession; they remained liquid, profitable and continued lending. For the third consecutive year, the World Economic Forum has ranked Canada as having the soundest financial system in the world, bar none."

Dr. Lynch concluded by saying Canada must build on these strengths, not rest on them. "We need to tackle our productivity and innovation deficits. We need to broaden and deepen our economic ties to key emerging markets. We need to tackle the challenges posed by an ageing population. And most importantly, we need to compete to win in a rapidly changing world economy, because we can." He cited BMO's recent $4 million gift to create the BMO Financial Group Isaac Newton Chair in Theoretical Physics at Perimeter Institute as an example of how the private sector can accelerate research and innovation in Canada and serve as a magnet for talent.

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