THE RIGHT HONOURABLE JUSTIN TRUDEAU (Prime Minister of Canada): Thank you very much Ravi for your kind words and your introduction. It’s great to be here at the 2018 Singapore FinTech festival to celebrate the outstanding work that Canadians and people throughout this industry are doing.
Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t have to tell you that the tech sector is stronger when people collaborate. This industry gets its best results when everyone brings something unique to the table. So when we talk about Canadian entrepreneurs working together with people from Singapore, or anywhere else for that matter, what’s our unique Canadian advantage? Well to start with, our incredibly stable banking system is good for people and investors alike. People here in Singapore which is also known for its reliable system, understand why that’s so important. It’s a foundation for growth, and there’s no doubt that Canadian businesses are doing well. Our entrepreneurs are being noticed around the world because they’re on the cutting edge of innovation and creativity. Canadian FinTech companies are keeping banking up-to-date in the ever-changing digital market, make investing easier and more accessible, and helping people keep more of their hard-earned money. Add to the mix that Canada has a skilled and diverse workforce, and we’re in great shape to become a global hub for innovation right across the board.
To make sure we don’t miss that opportunity, our government is investing to support the incredible potential of our startups and entrepreneurs. We’re making historic investments in clean tech and we’ve put together a national strategy on AI to capitalize on being a world leader in the field. In fact, I know that NextJ Systems is here today — where are you? There we are — a Canadian company that’s a trailblazer in AI. That’s why our government is investing to help our researchers and companies succeed and build prosperity for everyone.
Et en même temps nous préparons nos jeunes aux emplois de l’avenir, nous investissons dans la formation des compétences pour leur permettre d’obtenir de l’expérience en milieu de travail, ou un stage co-op. Grâce à notre stratégie en matière de compétences mondiales, nous aidons aussi des entreprises comme les vôtres à attirer les meilleurs talents du monde en seulement deux semaines. Nous vous aidons à recruter les gens dont vous avez besoin pour faire croître votre entreprise.
And since we’re here in Singapore, let me also mention the tremendous progress we’re making so that Canadian businesses have access to growing Asia-Pacific markets. Just a few weeks ago we ratified the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership. CPTPP will create new opportunities for this sector and for entrepreneurs in every sector to work and invest in this region.
My friends, we’re here today because this market gives us a chance to keep building economies that work for everyone; it’s a smart move for Canada and Singapore to work together. It’s how we can create the right conditions for our FinTech sectors to grow and prosper, and how we can build shared success; and not just here, but around the world, like with Squares Union, a Canadian online system that lets people send and receive money from Africa. Thanks to entrepreneurs and innovators like you, soon we’ll see FinTech everywhere we go, paying for food in Singapore or helping people do business and manage their money in Toronto.
Because that’s ultimately what Canadians do, it’s what we get about the world — that connecting people of different experiences and different backgrounds makes for a better world. In that, Canada is very similar to Singapore — you know I said that last night and people laughed at me — Canada is one of the biggest countries in the world, Singapore, perhaps one of the smallest. But we’re both very unique but similar in two specific ways.
First of all, we both understand diversity. Drawing people from different backgrounds, different origins, different regions, different cultures, different religions, different languages, coming together to solve shared problems, is something both of these places do extraordinarily well. In Canada we’ve demonstrated that differences are a source of strength, and here are the kind of resilience that you’ve built in Singapore from people coming with different perspectives and different backgrounds is an example that that holds everywhere around the world.
The other thing is we’re two countries that have understood the importance of trade. Singapore, because, as a hub connecting regions, and countries throughout the region, and people across Asia and the Pacific, has developed into an extraordinary place where trade is more successful here in Singapore than just about anywhere else in the world — it’s your very reason for being. Well, Canada was a country that always had and is still a country that has more natural resources then we have a domestic market to draw on them. So we’ve always needed to rely on trade; trade in beaver pelts, and fish, and lumber in the very beginning, continues to be mining and forests and natural resources and energy resources, but Canadians understand that trade is essential for our success.
And what we’ve done over the past years in Canada is realize that, as important as our national resources are, our human resources are the most important thing about Canada. And that’s where investments in education, in skills training, investments in research and science have brought us to a place that is pretty exciting right now in Canada.
We are a country that has decided that, despite all the anxiety about the future and the transformations of our workplaces and our economies, that while some people seem to be trying to drag out the last of the way things used to be and hold on to the old ways as long as possible, Canada is much better to be doubling down on the future; to investing in the kinds of solutions that we’re going to need tomorrow and the day after tomorrow; realize that with the fourth industrial revolution is coming an opportunity to reshape the world, reshape the nature of work. Our investments in AI, our investments in the tech industry, our investments in superclusters that are combining academics and governments and entrepreneurs and businesses, are demonstrating that we get the way the world is going.
And the reason we can be most optimistic about that — well we’ve got great examples right here in this room — Canadians ourselves, who are focused on the future, ambitious, creative, and mostly willing to learn, willing to learn from what other people are doing, willing to be challenged by the excellence we see in forums like this here in Singapore, and to figure out new ways of doing things, not just for our own benefit, but the benefit of our neighbors, whether they be down the street, or on the other side of the world. That’s really what Canada has going for it right now, as exemplified by all of you in this room.
Our contribution here at this FinTech Summit, our contributions all around the world is really the calling card that we have right now that is making the world to take notice of Canada. But make no mistake, if the world is noticing Canada right now, it’s because of all of you, it’s because of Canadians, that’s why I’m so glad to be here, today, in Singapore, to highlight just how great Canadians are doing here and everywhere around the world, as we shape and determine a better future for us all.
Merci beaucoup mes amis.