Canada needs a clear, new program for competitiveness that accounts for classic economic challenges and a new set of disruptions such as intellectual property, data and labour participation.

The Plan: The Public Policy Forum is focused on the social and economic determinants of growth, and our work in this area includes our annual Canada Growth Summit and the recently released report on trade with China Diversification not Dependence: A Made-in-Canada China Strategy. Building on these projects, we are currently working with two former policy advisers to Liberal and Conservative governments to identify what will make the Canadian economy competitive in new realities. They will co-author a report on prospects for Canadian competitiveness.  

  • Robert Asselin was a policy adviser to Stéphane Dion and Pierre Pettigrew, and a speechwriter and adviser to Paul Martin. From 2007–2015 he served as Associate Director of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa and was Policy and Budget Director to Minister of Finance Bill Morneau from Nov. 2015 to Nov. 2017. He has held the position of Vice President of Policy and Research at Canada 2020, and was a senior adviser to Justin Trudeau ahead of the 2015 federal election. He is currently Senior Director of Public Policy at Blackberry and a Senior Fellow in Public Policy at the Munk School.
  • Sean Speer served as senior economic adviser to former prime minister Stephen Harper. He was an Associate Fellow at the R Street Institute, and is currently Senior Fellow in Public Policy at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. He has been cited by The Hill Times as one of the most influential people in government and by Embassy Magazine as one of the top 80 people influencing Canadian foreign policy. His articles have appeared in publications in Canada and the U.S., including The Globe and Mail, National Post, The Wall Street Journal, and National Review Online.‎

This discussion will feature some of the classic Canadian economic challenges in areas such as taxation, inflation, trade policy and infrastructure, as well as a secondary set of unprecedented challenges such as intellectual property, data management, the internet of things, and labour-market participation. The dialogue the subsequent report will frame a holistic competitiveness lens, which can be applied long-term across government. It will draw on four categories defined by the World Economic Competitiveness Index: (1) Enabling Environment, (2) Human Capital, (3) Markets, and (4) Innovation Ecosystems, to articulate how Canada can best define and leverage its comparative advantage. The report, set for publication in April 2019, will provide recommendations on these four key areas.

Contact: Chris Cornthwaite, Policy Lead

 

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