Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been running around attending tech events both in the Vancouver area (Canada) and in Seattle these last few days (May 17 and May 18, 2017). First he attended the Microsoft CEO Summit as noted in a May 11, 2017 news release from the Prime Minister’s Office (Note: I have a few comments about this performance and the Canadian tech scene at the end of this post),
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today [May 11, 2017] announced that he will participate in the Microsoft CEO Summit in Seattle, Washington, on May 17 and 18 , to promote the Cascadia Innovation Corridor, encourage investment in the Canadian technology sector, and draw global talent to Canada.
This year’s summit, under the theme “The CEO Agenda: Navigating Change,” will bring together more than 150 chief executive officers. While at the Summit, Prime Minister Trudeau will showcase Budget 2017’s Innovation and Skills Plan and demonstrate how Canada is making it easier for Canadian entrepreneurs and innovators to turn their ideas into thriving businesses.
Prime Minister Trudeau will also meet with Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
“Canada’s greatest strength is its skilled, hard-working, creative, and diverse workforce. Canada is recognized as a world leader in research and development in many areas like artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and 3D programming. Our government will continue to help Canadian businesses grow and create good, well-paying middle class jobs in today’s high-tech economy.”
— Rt. Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
- Canada-U.S. bilateral trade in goods and services reached approximately $882 billion in 2016.
- Nearly 400,000 people and over $2 billion-worth of goods and services cross the Canada-U.S. border every day.
- Canada-Washington bilateral trade was $19.8 billion in 2016. Some 223,300 jobs in the State of Washington depend on trade and investment with Canada. Canada is among Washington’s top export destinations.
Here’s a little more about the Microsoft meeting from a May 17, 2017 article by Alan Boyle for GeekWire.com (Note: Links have been removed),
So far, this year’s Microsoft CEO Summit has been all about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s talk today, but there’s been precious little information available about who else is attending – and Trudeau may be one of the big reasons why.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates created the annual summit back in 1997, to give global business leaders an opportunity to share their experiences and learn about new technologies that will have an impact on business in the future. The event’s attendee list is kept largely confidential, as is the substance of the discussions.
This year, Microsoft says the summit’s two themes are “trust in technology” (as in cybersecurity, international hacking, privacy and the flow of data) and “the race to space” (as in privately funded space efforts such as Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket venture).
Usually, Microsoft lists a few folks who are attending the summit on the company’s Redmond campus, just to give a sense of the event’s cachet. For example, last year’s headliners included Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson (who is now the Trump administration’s secretary of state)
This year, however, the spotlight has fallen almost exclusively on the hunky 45-year-old Trudeau, the first sitting head of government or state to address the summit. Microsoft isn’t saying anything about the other 140-plus VIPs attending the discussions. “Out of respect for the privacy of our guests, we are not providing any additional information,” a Microsoft spokesperson told GeekWire via email.
Even Trudeau’s remarks at the summit are hush-hush, although officials say he’s talking up Canada’s tech sector. …
Laura Kane’s May 18, 2017 article for therecord.com provides a little more information about Trudeau’s May 18, 2017 activities in Washington state,
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continued his efforts to promote Canada’s technology sector to officials in Washington state on Thursday [May 18, 2017], meeting with Gov. Jay Inslee a day after attending the secretive Microsoft CEO Summit.
Trudeau and Inslee discussed, among other issues, the development of the Cascadia Innovation Corridor, an initiative that aims to strengthen technology industry ties between British Columbia and Washington.
The pair also spoke about trade and investment opportunities and innovation in the energy sector, said Trudeau’s office. In brief remarks before the meeting, the prime minister said Washington and Canada share a lot in common.
But protesters clad in yellow hazardous material suits that read “Keystone XL Toxic Cleanup Crew” gathered outside the hotel to criticize Trudeau’s environmental record, arguing his support of pipelines is at odds with any global warming promises he has made.
Later that afternoon, Trudeau visited Electronic Arts (a US games company with offices in the Vancouver area) for more tech talk as Stephanie Ip notes in her May 18, 2017 article for The Vancouver Sun,
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Metro Vancouver Thursday [may 18, 2017] to learn from local tech and business leaders how the federal government can boost B.C.’s tech sector.
The roundtable discussion was organized by the Vancouver Economic Commission and hosted in Burnaby at Electronic Arts’ Capture Lab, where the video game company behind the popular FIFA, Madden and NHL franchises records human movement to add more realism to its digital characters. Representatives from Amazon, Launch Academy, Sony Pictures, Darkhorse 101 Pictures and Front Fundr were also there.
While the roundtable was not open to media, Trudeau met beforehand with media.
“We’re going to talk about how the government can be a better partner or better get out of your way in some cases to allow you to continue to grow, to succeed, to create great opportunities to allow innovation to advance success in Canada and to create good jobs for Canadians and draw in people from around the world and continue to lead the way in the world,” he said.
“Everything from clean tech, to bio-medical advances, to innovation in digital economy — there’s a lot of very, very exciting things going on”
Comments on the US tech sector and the supposed Canadian tech sector
I wonder at all the secrecy. As for the companies mentioned as being at the roundtable, you’ll notice a preponderance of US companies with Launch Academy and Front Fundr (which is not a tech company but a crowdfunding equity company) supplying Canadian content. As for Darkhorse 101 Pictures, I strongly suspect (after an online search) it is part of Darkhorse Comics (as US company) which has an entertainment division.
Perhaps it didn’t seem worthwhile to mention the Canadian companies? In that case, that’s a sad reflection on how poorly we and our media support our tech sector.
In fact, it seems Trudeau’s version of the Canadian technology sector is for us to continue in our role as a branch plant remaining forever in service of the US economy or at least the US tech sector which may be experiencing some concerns with the US Trump administration and what appears to be an increasingly isolationist perspective with regard to trade and immigration. It’s a perspective that the tech sector, especially the entertainment component, can ill afford.
As for the Cascadia Innovation Corridor mentioned in the Prime Minister’s news release and in Kane’s article, I have more about that in a Feb. 28, 2017 posting about the Cascadia Data Analytics Cooperative.
I noticed he mentioned clean tech as an area of excitement. Well, we just lost a significant player not to the US this time but to the EU (European Union) or more specifically, Germany. (There’ll be more about that in an upcoming post.)
I’m glad to see that Trudeau remains interested in Canadian science and technology but perhaps he could concentrate on new ways of promoting sectoral health rather than relying on the same old thing.