Canada 3.0 Conference
Thank you. It's a pleasure to join you today.
I want to begin by thanking David Johnston and everyone at the University of Waterloo and the Stratford Institute for organizing this dynamic conference.
And before I begin, I want to take a moment to thank all of you for being here and for the work you do each day.
You are the leaders, creators, thinkers and most of all -- the doers and the risk-takers who are transforming how we live, communicate, share and collaborate.
And you've done it so well we sometimes take it for granted.
But it makes a real difference in our lives, in big ways and in small ways.
Let me give you one example from my own life.
A couple of years ago, my daughter, Carleen, was in Sri Lanka working for an international aid organization.
I can't imagine what it would have been like 15 or 20 years ago.
We would've gotten a letter in the mail every few weeks, maybe.
Long distance calling would have been expensive for her and, perhaps, unreliable at times.
There would have been some sleepless nights.
But because of the advances we've made through creative thinking, we got updates all the time through the internet.
We could go to Flickr to look at Carleen's photos of the people she'd met and see that she was among friends.
And her aunts, uncles and cousins, they could see all that stuff, too.
The thing that's so wonderful about the new technologies is that they're inspired by age-old, inherently human desires.
We want to feel closer to the people we care about.
We want to be part of a community.
And we want to understand each other.
We save time, which we all need.
We're exposed to new ideas, which we can all use.
And we get a richer life, which we all want.
So, I want to thank you for that.
And I want to thank you for all the ways you contribute.
Thank you for the risks that you take, for the investments that you make,
for the jobs that you create, for the families that you support.
In short, thank you for the contribution you make to our quality of life here in Ontario, the greatest province in the best country in the world.
Your contribution is particularly important, now, in the middle of a global recession.
We live in what Shakespeare might have called "a scrambling and unquiet time".
This is a time of great challenge for Canadians.
Here in Ontario, when the recession hit the U.S., it hit us hard too.
That's not surprising, since over 81 per cent of our exports go to the U.S.
So, we're doing what it takes to protect the jobs we have.
And through our innovation agenda, we're laying a new foundation for the economic growth that will create the jobs of the future.
In short, working with Ontarians, we need to do whatever it takes to build a stronger, more competitive, sustainable economy.
And that's why the work you're doing is so important.
Because soon, parents won't just be looking at their children's photos on the home office computer, we'll be doing it anywhere on our hand-held devices.
Consumers are hungry for these kinds of advances.
Communication has been the fastest growing household expenditure item in OECD countries since 1995.
Handheld devices are replacing the sit-down computer as people's window on the web.
Here in Ontario, we have dynamic technology companies, like Research in Motion and Open Text, who are helping make all this possible.
And we have the creative people who are imagining all the possibilities.
We have leading institutions like the University of Waterloo, the Ontario College of Art and Design and Sheridan College.
We have a tremendous cultural legacy that stretches far beyond our borders from Margaret Atwood to Marshall McLuhan to Atom Egoyan, to Feist, Avril Lavigne or Leonard Cohen.
We've been home to many authors, thinkers, filmmakers and musicians who've had an impact around the world.
Right here in Stratford, we're in a place that's world-famous for its theatre and festival.
Just recently I visited Starz Animation in Toronto, with Sir Elton John, who chose their 3D animation studio to work on his latest project for Miramax.
He had the world from which to choose. He chose us.
By the way, the guy that heads up Starz Animation in Toronto was until recently, head of Walt Disney Animation in the U.S.
He came to Ontario because he said we are an animation powerhouse, incredibly rich in animation talent, fed by a world-class university of art and technology.
Which leads me to another story, two weeks ago I was in New York City, where I met with Gary Cohn, the head of Goldman Sachs.
Goldman's is considered one of the world's premier financial services firms.
His business has thousands of employees around the world.
Mr. Cohn said this to me:
"You know, if you think about it, we use the same airplanes as the competition.
"We sleep in the same hotels, ride in the same taxis and use the same technology. Do you know what makes us the best? Talent."
And he's right.
You and I live in a world today where you can borrow capital, copy technology and buy natural resources.
That means there's only one thing left on which to build a high wage, high quality of life, high-standard of living economy: talent.
There's nothing else.
And fortunately, we've got lots of it here and we're drawing more of it from across the world.
Ontario's entertainment and creative industries already generate almost $12.2 billion of our gross domestic product.
And this sector represents one of our greatest growth opportunities.
Because new media is one of the world's fastest growing industries.
In fact, the global entertainment and media sector is expected to be worth about $2.2 trillion US dollars by 2012.
We have to seize these opportunities, make the most of our advantages and that means we have to support and encourage the risk-takers who are willing to be among the first to explore this new media landscape.
That's what you're doing here with the Stratford Institute.
You're bringing people together from business, technology and the arts.
And you're creating an environment where creators, dreamers and visionaries are going to find like-minded people, who support each other, challenge each other and collaborate with each other.
So our government is proud to provide $10 million to help get our new institute off the ground.
Ontario's commitment to the Stratford Institute is part of our larger effort to support innovation across the province.
We recognize that new industries are emerging and we want those industries -- like digital media -- here in our province, employing our people.
That's why digital media is a priority for Ontario's Innovation Agenda -- a commitment to support research and innovation that our government has backed with $3.2 billion.
It's why we have tax incentives such as the Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit.
It's why we have the Ontario Media Development Corporation.
Ontario can take advantage of the greatly reduced distribution costs -- and huge potential audiences -- inherent in digital media.
So, we're supporting both the technology and content production side of digital media because we know we're in a race.
It's a race to turn new ideas into new technologies.
It's a race to turn creative impulses into engaging content.
And it's a race to be first -- the first to get them into the hands of consumers.
When we succeed, that attracts even more jobs and investment.
By the way, the work you do is helping us with the work we are doing in government.
You know, since taking office, my Premier's website has undergone a few makeovers.
And every time, there's some new way to connect.
I am the first Ontario premier to use video on the web.
That almost seems old school now.
But we know people want this.
You only have to look at YouTube.
They get 20 new hours of video every minute.
So, since I started speaking, 300 hours have been posted.
Our government is focused on using information technology to make a practical, meaningful difference in people's lives.
We're excited about the opportunity to use the internet to deliver better services and connect people to the information they need: to find a job, or career training,
or to start a business, or get a birth certificate for their new baby through Service Ontario.
Because when it comes to new media, we used to talk about improving people's virtual reality, but now we're seeing how we can improve their everyday reality.
And that's what you're doing through the work you are doing, too.
When you build businesses, hire thousands of people, create internships for students and invest in research and development, you're generating the prosperity that supports the public services that everyone depends on.
And in these challenging times, our ability to generate prosperity depends greatly on creating economic value through innovation.
Because this isn't just about neat stuff we can do with a cell phone.
This is about the really important stuff.
This is about creating prosperity for schools for our children, hospitals for our friends and neighbours long-term care homes for our parents and the roads and transit and parks that make our communities great places to live and work.
Because the businesses you build provide the tax revenues that support the public services we depend on.
This is about building the caring, compassionate society that we long to leave to our children.
Previous generations didn't shy away from the challenges and the opportunities of their era.
And you're putting us on the forefront of the digital era.
You're teaching, inspiring and training the next generation of thinkers and creators -- people who will make Ontario a new media powerhouse.
And together, by tapping into the creativity of our people, we can build an Ontario that is strong, dynamic, and prosperous -- an Ontario that continues to be the best province, in the best country in the world.