World Economic Forum in Davos
This year’s theme at Davos is “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” apparently a reference to automation in manufacturing, distribution and consumption.
The Prime Minister’s Office won’t confirm it, but there’s speculation that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been invited to give the opening address at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, later this month.
The opener is seen as the most-coveted spot at Davos, where world leaders and assorted billionaires gather to contemplate the eternal verities and work towards the modest goal of “improving the state of the world.” Some have dubbed the conference “Burning Man for the 1 per cent.”
If Trudeau were tapped to give the kickoff speech, it would put him in rare and elite company. In recent years, the honour has gone to French president Nicolas Sarkozy, German chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin, and Australian prime minister Tony Abbott.
Former prime minister Stephen Harper spoke at Davos in 2012, infamously using the Alpine venue to tip coming changes to Canada’s Old Age Security system.
And former finance minister Jim Flaherty made headlines from the resort, when he blamed his bizarre, slurring interview with Bloomberg TV at the forum on fatigue and medication he was taking for a skin condition.
The initial schedule of this year’s forum already includes a Canadian component. On January 21, delegates will hear an address titled, “A New Chapter for Canada,” starring as-yet-unspecified Liberal cabinet minister(s):
What are the global, regional and industry agendas of Canada’s new government?
Meet representatives of Canada’s Liberal government for an in-depth discussion of the country’s future and its role in the world.
Kate Purchase, a spokesperson in the Prime Minister’s Office, would not confirm Trudeau had been invited to speak.