National Bank CEO, Réal Raymond, praises Montreal's knowledge-based economy to the Canadian Club
Montreal, 27 January 2003 -
Réal Raymond, President and Chief Executive Officer of National Bank of Canada, was the guest speaker today at the Canadian Club of Montreal. The topic of his address was Montreal's knowledge-based economy and specifically, employment, the industrial structure and investments linked to the high-tech sector.
According to the head of the National Bank, the rebound in Montreal's economy, which had been particularly evident in recent years, is attributable to both the balance and the great diversity of the city's high-tech sector. Montreal's strength lies in having successfully developed a high-tech industry that relies less on dominant players and more on industrial diversification.
Despite this strong balance, some industries such as information technology, bio-pharmaceuticals and aerospace – pillars of Montreal's high-tech sector – have admittedly played a larger role in the city's renewal. But the success of Quebec's largest city can also be attributed to the growth of the manufacturing sector as a whole, and to value-added services such as teaching and services to business.
Even that which seemed highly unlikely, if not impossible, just a few years ago, has been accomplished – Montreal has caught up to its long-time rival Toronto on the employment front. In fact, the gap in the unemployment rate for each of the two cities has shrunk to only 1.1%, compared to 2.8% in 1998 and 5.7% in 1988".
"The number of technology jobs in the Montreal region jumped from 60,000 to 130,000 from 1987 to 2000," Mr. Raymond pointed out. He added that this was in keeping with the Canadian industry which is also booming: "Canadian cities comprise three of the top six in terms of per capita information technology employment."
While extolling the virtues of such growth, Mr. Raymond recalled the recent difficulties experienced after the technology bubble burst and the stock market began its dramatic slide. Although certain well-established Montreal industries, such as the aerospace and telecommunications sectors, suffered during this difficult period, Mr. Raymond noted that other sectors like biotechnology took up the slack and enabled Montreal to turn in a good performance under the circumstances.
Mr. Raymond concluded his address by calling for solidarity among Montrealers to take up the challenges of high-tech. He stated that it is only through cooperation between the academic and business worlds, sustained government financing, adequate human resources development, a beneficial tax treatment and by keeping non-francophone graduates and maintaining its enviable quality of life that Montreal will be able to ensure the growth of the knowledge-based industries that are so important to our collective future.
About the Canadian Club of Montreal
The Canadian Club of Montreal was founded 97 years ago. The fundamental objectives of the Club are to strengthen our bonds as Canadians, Quebecers and Montrealers by organizing luncheon-conferences and social events.
About National Bank of Canada
National Bank of Canada is an integrated group which provides comprehensive financial services to consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations in its core market, while offering specialized services to its clients elsewhere in the world. The National Bank offers a full array of banking services, including retail, corporate and investment banking. It is an active player on international capital markets and, through its subsidiaries, is involved in securities brokerage, insurance and wealth management as well as mutual fund and retirement plan management. The National Bank has assets of about $75 billion and, together with its subsidiaries, employs over 17,000 people. The Bank's securities are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (NA:TSX). For more information, visit the Bank's website at www.nbc.ca.
Information : (the following telephone number and e-mail address are intended solely for the use of journalists and other media representatives)
A copy of Mr. Raymond's address can be found on our website at www.nbc.ca, under Corporate Information, Public Statements.
Director of Public Relations
National Bank of Canada
Tel.: (514) 394-8644