The Governor General's Canadian Leadership Conference


Ingrid Srinath
Ingrid Srinath
Chief Energy Economist
ARC Financial Corporation
Ingrid Srinath  

Excerpts from speech delivered to the Conference:

At the World Economic Forum they came up with two over-arching risks, two things that prevent us from fixing the world’s problems. One was inequality and the other was global governance. And this lack of global governance is preventing us from making progress on the big existential threats that we’re facing. We’ve got to find some way of breaking through this impass in global politics. Every single global summit since Copenhagen has simply kicked the can down the road, because nobody has the political will or the political imagination to break through this clutter. The task before you is to shape the future, rather than simply being creatures of what’s gone before you.

Humility is going to be a good starting point for anyone who wants to lead in the 21st Century. I mean to start off by acknowledging how little we know and how much we have to learn and who we have to learn it from, would be a good starting point. You have to unshackle your minds because the biggest risks we face are the things we think we know. These prove to be greater barriers to achieving results than the things we know we don’t know.

For the rest of the world, Canada has been a benchmark that we’ve all aspired to. Your power on the global stage does not come from your military or economic might. It comes from what you stand for. You’ve been at the leading edge of these issues that I’ve talked about, whether it’s peace or human rights, or equity and justice. And my plea to you is that now more than ever, we and the rest of the world need you first and foremost to uphold those values at home. Because when the bar drops here by a few inches, it falls precipitously in Zimbabwe. You have the capacity, the access, the relationships, and the goodwill to play a much greater role in filling that void in global governance, and leading on the reform of global institutions and to lead by example on overseas aid, on peacekeeping and on climate. So we need you at this point to not be the gentle, soft-spoken, polite people you’ve been.. and to get out there, say your piece and take the lead.


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