Trudeau, Theresa May among key players to watch in 2017

No one knows for sure what’s coming in 2017, but here are five people who are likely to be key newsmakers in business over the next 12 months.Justin Trudeau, prime minister of CanadaThe federal Liberal leader’s challenge is to maintain a semblance of the ambitious, feel-good agenda that carried his party to power in 2015, and which, together with the 44-year-old PM’s upbeat, energetic persona, accounts for a honeymoon longer than most PMs have enjoyed. The new government’s reforms to child-benefit policy are emblematic of its commitment to fiscal stimulus matched with relief for Canadians in financial distress — even more so than Ottawa’s considerable spending on long-overdue infrastructure projects. Sadly, the world didn’t sign on to the Trudeau agenda. Article Continued BelowCanadian GDP has stagnated as economic recovery in the U.S., Canada’s principal export market, has been tepid; and economies in Europe and Asia have remained stuck in recession or have flat-lined. Robust exports to China that cushioned the blow to the Canadian economy of the Great Recession have dropped since Beijing deliberately slowed a Chinese economy in danger of overheating. Then there have been unexpected setbacks, including a stubbornly low world oil price that has put about 100,000 Albertans out of work; the Brexit shock that has roiled currency markets and disrupted flows of foreign direct investment and the Fort McMurray wildfire, which trimmed GDP growth. Fortunately, the Trudeau government budgeted for a lower GDP growth rate than experts were calling for at the time of its March 2016 budget. It also built in a cushion of roughly $6 billion in reserves against revenue shortfalls.

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