Trudeau makes pitch to Silicon Valley, Amazon to invest in Canada

Trudeau makes pitch to Silicon Valley, Amazon to invest in Canada

AI-based R&D has thrived in Canada with Justin Trudeau, the country's prime minister set to visit California to meet chief executives from United States tech companies.

In May, Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] said it would open a new artificial intelligence research hub in Toronto.

Amazon expects to spend up to US$5-billion on a second headquarters, which it says will create 50,000 high-paying jobs. But he said Canada's education system, pro-business climate and access to worldwide markets through trade deals have been enough to lure large technology companies such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft in the past, not tax breaks and subsidies.

Mr. Trudeau has lamented a "brain drain" of Canada's best tech minds, saying at a recent Google event in Toronto, "Quite frankly, we're exhausted of Google poaching our best graduates from the University of Waterloo and sucking them down to California".

"I think any investment into Canada would be a great thing, and obviously the Amazon (amzn) second headquarters would be a significant boom for any city that got it", Trudeau said. Toronto is the only city outside the USA on the company's shortlist.

Ahmad declined to comment specifically on the meeting with Bezos.

Stats Canada reports January unemployment rise in Victoria, Nanaimo and Canada
The wage improvements in January arrived the same month that saw Ontario take the controversial step of raising its minimum wage. Over that same period, the number of less desirable part-time positions declined by 125,400 or 3.5 per cent.

Trudeau's visit to San Francisco marked the first time in more than 70 years that a Canadian prime minister had come to the city, and his first in-person pitch to Silicon Valley.

During his trip, Trudeau will also meet with other technology executives, including eBay Inc chief executive officer Devin Wenig.

While in San Francisco, Trudeau has been touting Canada's tech talent and virtues as a technology hub. At least some of that enthusiasm translated into new investment.

"The point of those meetings is to portray Canada as a good place to invest. and to explore opportunities related to job growth with those prominent business leaders who may be interested in expanding their operations in Canada", said spokesman Cameron Ahmad.

Trudeau did not say what kinds of incentives the Canadian government is offering to US technology companies to convince them to settle in the country, and instead pitched Canada's "great talent" and the government's investments in artificial intelligence. "That means that we're going to have to ensure that we're standing up for Canadian interests as we move forward on a deal that works for everyone".

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