Salesforce investing $2 bln in Canada, as USA tech firms head north

Posted February 10, 2018

Toronto is a hub for artificial intelligence research and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is visiting California this week in part to speak with U.S. technology chief executives.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said, "We value equality and we also value innovation, we know we will be able to have a great business environment in Canada". Canada has also invested millions to attract top talent and researchers away from other countries.

Two years ago when Trudeau took office, Canadian expats who were veterans of Silicon Valley talked to The Canadian Press about the hard sell their home country faced.

"I'm enthused about the interest that these global companies are taking in Canada", Trudeau told reporters at AppDirect.

"The generation of Canadian, American and Mexican leaders who bequeathed to us the original treaty, in a very real sense, invented the idea of North America", he said.

Governments, including Canada, need to do a better job of spreading the benefits of free trade more widely across the work force, Mr. Trudeau said. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom Friday morning before heading to Los Angeles.

Uncertainty over Trump's immigration policies has provided momentum for Trudeau's economic pitch to Silicon Valley, where many companies that rely on foreign workers have become uneasy over increasing scrutiny on the H1-B work visa program. We have access to markets around the world with the trade deals we're signing.

Mr. Trudeau wrote to Mr. Bezos a year ago, asking him to consider Canada for the company's second headquarters, because of its inclusiveness, single-payer health- care system, and an immigration system created to attract high-skilled talent.

Trump called NAFTA a job-killing "disaster" on the campaign trail and has threatened to withdraw from it if he can't get what he wants.

Ahmad declined to comment specifically on the meeting with Bezos.

A number of different US know-how firms are increasing into their northern neighborhood.

"We're going to continue to make an argument that it's not enough to just trade, we have to ensure that the benefits of trade are properly and fairly shared", he said.