Canada and the United States have the strongest partnership in the world. This should not be taken for granted, but continually nurtured and maintained. Canada's strong economy, along with the United States, creates two strong nations which can be equal partners. Strong security at the border and continuing trade benefit both countries. It is also important to work together on international issues, such as disarming Iraq, poverty, and AIDS. Speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, Chicago, Illinois, February 13, 2003.
I want to reflect with you on shared challenges. On how in a dangerous time, we can advance values cherished by our societies and admired by so many in the rest of the world.
Specifically, I will address three themes underpinning the Canada-United States relationship: being strong at home; being strong in partnership; and being strong internationally.
In my view, the long term security of our democracies requires us to succeed on each of these fronts.
Strong at home
Let me begin with a few remarks on the Canadian economy. For, quite simply, it matters to your economy that ours does well: we consume 25% of your exports.
I am pleased to tell you that our economy is firing on all cylinders right now. We are strong at home. And a sound fiscal situation assures us of continued success.
Canada avoided recession in 2001. We led the G7 with growth of 3.3% in 2002. And the IMF and OECD predict that our GDP growth will again lead the G-7 in 2003.
Our economy created close to 560,000 jobs in 2002, the highest number of jobs ever created in a single year in Canada. In a country one tenth your size, this is no small achievement.
Inflation has been low and steady for 10 years. Interest rates are lower than they have been in 40 years. We are implementing the largest tax reduction in our history. And Canada's corporate and capital gains tax rates are now below American rates.
Canada has also enjoyed a dramatic fiscal turnaround: we have had five consecutive budget surpluses. We are predicting another budget surplus for this year and surpluses in the years after that. Canada …