The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

The meeting between the Canadian Prime Minister and Irish Taoiseach as seen by the leaders of tomorrow

On May 4, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny met up to discuss the close ties between their two countries. Students of the École nationale d’administration publique [The University of Public Administration] were in attendence. What messages did they take away? In their opinion, what makes a good leader? An overview of a generation with globalization in their DNA.

The 3 key messages they remember

  • Historic and economic ties

The relationship between Canada and Ireland is first and foremost a historic one. Justin Trudeau reminded the audience that the Irish helped build Montreal and was one of Canada’s largest communities at the time. This relationship is also an economic one since bilateral trade between the two countries amount to $2.3 billion1.

“The Prime Ministers laid the groundwork so both countries can work closely together.” – Marie-Josée Frenette
  • CETA: an opportunity for all

This economic tie is strengthened by the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), signed by Canada and the European Union. The two leaders spoke at great length about this topic, highlighting the closer ties between their respective countries. Mr. Trudeau also spoke of the key role Ireland played in reaching this agreement.

Both leaders also shared their vision of free trade: a driving force of economic growth which helps the middle class become stronger, promising a bright future for younger generations. To this effect, CETA will create opportunities for the workforce and the next generation should immediately start looking into the employment prospects available to them.

“Free-trade agreements that focus on an economic and humanist approach are the key to globalization.” – Benite Manaka
  • Nationalism criticized

Within this eventful European context (tense presidential elections in France, negotiations surrounding Brexit), Enda Kenny spoke of the difference between patriotism and nationalism. “Patriotism grows in the heart, where nationalism grows in destruction,” he said. Mr. Kenny also added that he was profoundly committed to the European Union, explaining that the freedom to live and work anywhere in the European Union was a sign of success for his country.

“For me, patriotism means loving your country; nationalism means hating others” – Cédric Debernard

The main qualities they look for in a leader

… and found in the Prime Minister and Taoiseach

  • A vision, specifically a long-term one. This involves a good ability to analyze, a team that shares this vision, and the willingness to lay the foundations for sound management, in the long-term, to support infrastructure.
  • Close ties to people. They must be able to identify with the leader, to feel close to them and share their values.

This proximity is based on how accessible the leader is. We are living in an era of politics 2.0, where someone’s personality exists throughout social media where they can easily reach people.

The person is naturally charismatic. They become someone who knows how to draw crowds and knows how to speak to them.

This blog was written with testimonies from students of the ÉNAP: Kasandra Hernandez; Tom Sedzro; Éric Bergeron; Amadou Diallo; Lionel Ghislain; Bénite Mandaka; Kasandra Hernandez; Cédric Debernard; Marie-Josée Frenette.

Students were able to attend this event thanks to the Leaders of tomorrow program and the support of Power Corporation Canada.

1According to 2015 data, The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service.
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