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Trudeau heads out to sell Canada

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SAINT ANDREWS, N.B.—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will trade the snowy hillsides of a seaside New Brunswick town this morning for the snow-capped Alps of Switzerland, with the national and global economy following him across the Atlantic Ocean.

Trudeau left today for Davos and the World Economic Forum, which brings together the world’s most powerful and influential political and business leaders, celebrities, and activists.

“We’re going to talk about how diversity is a strength and really showcase the fact that Canada has tremendous opportunities and is facing challenges like lots of places, but we have the tools to surpass those challenges in a way that should draw in global interest,” Trudeau said before leaving a federal cabinet retreat in Saint Andrews, N.B.

Trudeau will have a chance to give a keynote address tomorrow, talk about gender parity in his cabinet alongside Melinda Gates, and sell his plans for growing the Canadian economy.

Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development, said that Davos—like last month’s climate change conference in Paris—is a chance to demonstrate that Canada can show global leadership.

In Paris, Canada signed on with “Mission Innovation,” a group of 20 countries committed to doubling their support for clean energy development over the next five years and to share the breakthroughs.

“At COP 21, we made a major commitment to ‘Mission Innovation’ and so that really shows leadership when it comes to clean technology,” Bains noted.

The economic and financial realities of everyday Canadians still will hit Trudeau: the parliamentary budget watchdog delivered an eyebrow-raising report earlier today about the economic risk posed by high levels of household debt.

Then tomorrow, the Bank of Canada will deliver a much-anticipated interest rate announcement—likely to come just minutes before Trudeau gives his first speech in Davos.

Trudeau and his cabinet ministers were dogged by questions about falling commodity prices and a declining loonie during their three-day retreat in New Brunswick.

Trudeau only would say yesterday that his government would put forward a budget that is “the right one for Canadians.”

At a community dinner last night, where 300-plus people crammed into a rec centre to have some spaghetti and hear Trudeau speak, the prime minister touched on why cabinet was meeting outside Ottawa (“to talk about the challenges that we have before us,” he said) before trying to give it a positive spin by talking about “tremendous opportunities.”

“Canada is an incredible country whose greatest strength we all know are its people,” Trudeau said.

“We are hopeful, optimistic, resilient, forward-looking, hard-working, and nowhere is that clearer than right here in New Brunswick,” he noted.

“And it’s such a pleasure to be working with you, and to be surrounded by all of you, as we map out a plan to create growth for the middle class, to offer a brighter future to Canadians, and to build, once again, an extraordinary country that we can all be proud of as we celebrate into the coming years.”

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