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Nov 14, 2019

Maple Leaf Foods CEO commits to Canada, praises its 'responsible' fiscal path

We'll always stand for brand Canada: Maple Leaf Foods CEO

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As some companies distance themselves from Canada, Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has no plans to abandon its foothold in the country, according to chief executive Michael McCain.

“I’m a hardened, ardent, dedicated Canadian. And you know, I will always advocate for the Canadian experience,” he said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman.

“That doesn’t mean we don’t invest in other countries. We have, we will continue to do that. But I’ll always stand for brand Canada and our position here in this country and I think we’ve demonstrated that through the significant capital investments that we’ve made in our backyard and are continuing to do so.”

McCain’s comments come two weeks after Encana Corp. made headlines for its decision to change its name to Ovintiv Inc. and redomicile to the U.S., and amid growing concerns about Canada’s competitiveness.

Diverging from a score of other Canadian business leaders who have cautioned on the country’s lagging competitive edge in attracting investment, McCain said the Canadian economy has “a great deal in its favour.”

In particular, he praised the Canadian government for taking a “more responsible” fiscal path than its American counterparts, adding that while Canada’s books aren’t yet balanced, its deficit levels are “a fraction” of what they are in the U.S.

“[The Americans] are experiencing some near-term benefit on the back of a trillion-dollar deficit. You can have a hell of a party for a trillion dollars,” McCain said.

But he added that more can be done to make Canada a more favourable place to invest in.

“There are things — as there always will be — things that we should concentrate on trying to be better and stronger and smarter at,” McCain said. “Productivity gaps [could] probably be at the top of the pile.”