Canada is a great country -- and our economy has (for the most part) been spared a lot of the grief experienced elsewhere during the Great Recession. Still, things could be better. Central Canada is struggling with new economic realities. Western Canada is coddled with high resource prices, and risks "death by complacency." And Atlantic Canada struggles with falling population, espeically in rural areas.
Below are ten key messages that Canadians need to understand if we are going to succeed and prosper in the very hot global economy of the 21st century:
1. Although Canadians recognize that our economy is far from perfect, there is a general sense that we are doing “okay” and we can overcome the challenges we face by doing more of/getting better at what we already do.
2. This complacency blinds us to the fact that global forces are turning up the temperature in our particular pot of water and that we have to make some fundamental changes that go beyond “making more stuff in Canada” or our economy will falter in serious ways.
3. Those parts of the economy that have natural resources driving them have some extra time to adjust, but resources are not sufficient or stable enough to underpin the Canadian economy over the long haul.
4. Canadians need to transform the economy in six interrelated ways that work together as package solution (which are detailed in Points 5-10).
5. Creativity has to flood into every nook and cranny of the economy for it is ideas that will create wealth in Canada in the years ahead and the education system has to be revolutionized to facilitate this unleashing of creative abilities.
6. This creativity is useful throughout the economy, but it is most valuable at the top end of the global value chain and this is where Canadians should seek to lodge more of their economic efforts.
7. Canadians need to be come much more outward looking and seize the opportunities presented by the wider world.
8. Applying creativity in the workplace, commercializing ideas, taking advantage of international opportunities and rising to the top of the global value chain all require a much greater degree of comfort with risk and failure.
9. A strong and vibrant civil society is the foundation upon which our economic success rests and is essential to achieving the transformation we suggest.
10. Doing all of the above in the most environmentally efficient manner will pay huge economic dividends and ensure that the Canadian economy has the green credentials it needs to operate freely.