Backing potential economic winners can boost overall prosperity, says Morneau

Rewarding talent and nurturing the economy’s potential winners can help ensure prosperity that benefits the broadest swath of Canadians, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau suggested at a policy conference in Toronto on Thursday.“So far, our approach is working,” Morneau said, when asked how Ottawa can square its investment in six sectors of the economy and spending on a handful of tech research hubs with the Liberals’ long-standing focus on inclusive growth. Morneau told the Public Policy Forum’s Growth Summit that the strategy is to focus on areas “that can make a big difference.” He said the government’s deliberate approach over the past 18 months has produced middle-class tax cuts, increases in child care benefits, falling unemployment, along with rising incomes and household spending. “The challenge is to keep making the investments to sustain that,” he said.Article Continued BelowMorneau added that ambitious investments in families, communities and high-growth industries lead to opportunities that create a more confident consumer.The federal government in its budget last month said it would invest in sectors “where Canada will lead,” including clean tech, and said it will spend to promote learning in science, technology, engineering and math, especially for young women, girls and indigenous youth.The budget also announced a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy with a $125-million budget that aims to link main centres of artificial intelligence expertise across the country.