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Perspectives

Navigator’s folio of ideas, insights and new ways of thinking

O , C A N A D A !

Jaime Watt
Jaime Watt | Executive Chairman
November 30, 2017 lnkdn_btn-svg
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THERE HAS NEVER been a better time to be Canadian.

Donald Trump’s presidency has rocked the world’s confidence in the United States. Brexit has left the United Kingdom in a state of limbo. There is no question that our world is shifting. Tumultuous political change and global risk is all around us. The most stable and respected democracies in the world have been shaken.

In a world filled with uncertainty, Canada, at least for the time being, appears to be an outlier.

Canada offers a welcoming business environment, one that makes it, according to Forbes Magazine, the second-best country in the G20 in which to do business. Over the past decade, Canada’s growth numbers lead the G7. It offers assured preferential access to over half the world’s output of goods and services. Low business tax costs, a competitive R&D environment, and a banking system the World Economic Forum believes to be the soundest in the world undoubtedly make Canada the best country in which to invest and innovate.

Our hospitals, universities and social services are modern and accessible.

It is indisputably cool to be Canadian. We are no longer known only for hockey, cheap beer and apologies. Instead, we are considered compassionate, collaborative, humorous, musical, stylish and pragmatic. Canadian ex-pats all over the world are proud of where they’re from.

Compare this with the situation with our neighbour to the south. The New York Times has said that Americans should be forgiven for looking northward with yearning. This is a first.

All of that said, we are not without our own challenges. In particular, Indigenous communities across this country are suffering. I am hopeful that the government and civil society at large will work to find positive solutions with Indigenous communities, to clear a path forward.

This issue of Perspectives looks at how business and other segments of society can take advantage of Canada’s new place on the world stage. We look at the evolution of our country’s brand, take stock of our regional differences, delve into how we are perceived internationally, and shed light on some of the opportunities we see on the horizon.

Remember: fads, trends and successes are transitory. We are not immune to global challenges, and our domestic circumstances could change in the blink of an eye. We do not know the time horizon on this period of success, but what we do know is that now is Canada’s time and, therefore, the time to take advantage of it is now.

 

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About the author:

Jaime Watt
Jaime Watt | Executive Chairman
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Jaime Watt is the Executive Chairman of Navigator. He specializes in complex public strategy issues, serving both domestic and international clients in the corporate, professional services, not-for-profit, and government sectors.

Widely regarded as Canada’s leading high stakes communications strategist, he is a trusted advisor to boards of directors, business and professional leaders as well as political leaders at all three levels of government across Canada. Jaime has led ground-breaking election campaigns that have transformed politics because of their boldness and creativity.

Jaime has been involved in corporate governance education and thought leadership throughout his career and regularly provides expert opinion in challenging governance situations. He is an adjunct faculty member of the Directors Education Program, jointly developed and administered by the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) and the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He is also a guest lecturer for a variety of Rotman School programs, and the Ivey School of Business at Western University.

Currently, Jaime chairs the board of OCAD University. As well, he serves on the board of University Health Network, the Literary Review of Canada, CANFAR and the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

He is a past president or chair of the Canadian Club of Toronto, the Albany Club, Casey House – Canada’s pioneer AIDS hospice, Canadians for Equal Marriage, Canadian Human Rights Campaign and Canadian Human Rights Trust among others. Additionally, he is a past director, trustee or governor of many organizations including the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation, Stratford Festival, TD Bank Private Giving Foundation, Clean Water Foundation, Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, and the Canada Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington D.C.

In his board leadership activities, he has frequently been elected to strategic planning, audit, succession planning, search and crisis management committees.

Deeply involved with efforts to promote equality and human rights issues, he was the inaugural recipient of Egale’s Lifetime Achievement Award and has been awarded the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals for service to the community. He recently received Out on Bay Street’s Leader to be Proud of Award. Jaime has been elected to the College of Fellows of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, is a Toronto Heritage Companion, and was named one of Toronto’s most influential citizens.

A highly regarded speaker, Jaime appears often as a public affairs commentator in the media. He is a regular contributor to all CBC platforms across Canada. He also writes a weekly column for The Toronto Star and is a Policy Magazine contributing writer.

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