“Canada is open for business”

An over-worked political slogan used by federal politicians of every stripe to drum up business for – and investment in – Canada

No politician has a monopoly on this phrase, but Brian Mulroney gave it prominence in the early 1980s while still Leader of the Opposition. 

Leading up to the 1984 federal election in Canada, he flew down to the U.S. to meet with fellow free-marketeer President Ronald Reagan, proclaiming that under his leadership Canada would be “open for business”. Mulroney then hit the campaign trail to denounce the Liberal’s restrictive regulation on foreign investment. Prime Ministers Jean Chrétien, Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau all subsequently used the phrase at home and abroad to drum up business.

The phrase “Canada is open for business” is not without controversy. Attempts to attract foreign investment crash into more parochial interests to keep foreigners out, create Canadian champions, and avoid Canada being a branch-plant economy. And don’t even think of selling Canadian water.

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