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Oct 18, 2017

Ed Clark to Amazon: The American dream now lives in Canada

Let's bet big on knowledge economy — with or without Amazon: Ontario advisor

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The man leading Ontario’s bid to lure Amazon said the ecommerce giant should move to Canada if it wants to chase the American dream.

“Our values put us on the right side of history,” Ed Clark, Premier Kathleen Wynne's business adviser, said Wednesday during a speech at the Canadian Club in Toronto.

The former TD chief cited Canada’s “welcoming approach” to immigration, well-funded schools and free healthcare, as examples of Canada’s strong values.

“The American dream hasn’t died, it just lives here in Canada,” he said, to laughter and applause.

Clark also argued Amazon could save $1.5 billion a year in lower salaries for tech workers by locating in the Greater Toronto area.

Salaries, he said, are about 30 per cent cheaper in Ontario, compared to Boston and New York.

But the businessman conceded U.S. protectionism may compel Amazon to pick an American city, which “might be a victory” for President Donald Trump.

“I get that there’d probably be some political pushback if they said ‘We’re going to Canada’,” he said in an interview with BNN.

North American cities have until tomorrow to apply to be the location of the next Amazon headquarters. The ecommerce company said it expects to announce its decision next year.

Amazon said last month that it is hunting for a second North American head office, adding that it would spend $5-billion to build the new headquarters to house as many as 50,000 employees.

With files from the Canadian Press