Speech by Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Member of the German Bundestag, at the „German-Canadian Business Conference“

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Prime-Minister, dear Justin,

Honorable ministers,

Ms. Denz,

Mr. Beatty,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

What a skyline!

Looking out on this city, who would not think: What a dynamic, energetic North American metropolis. And, of course, that is exactly what Toronto is. 

But there is something else. Something that we as Europeans and maybe particularly we Germans feel, when we step off a plane here in Canada. I got the feeling at the restaurant in the center of Montreal where Justin and I had dinner yesterday. And I get the same feeling, here, in the streets of Toronto – and that is not just due to the impressive number of German cars.

As different as Canadian and German landscapes and cities may look from above – on the ground we both feel at home at each other’s homes – more than in most other parts of the world.

Maybe kinship is the best term to describe our connection.

The diversity of this multi-lingual, multi-cultural country speaks to us Europeans. Our two countries share a culture of consensus that makes our societies resilient. You have your strong provinces and territories, we have our federal states. For Canadians and Germans alike getting things done means: building bridges, respecting differences, reaching across the aisle.

We believe in free and fair trade. In competitive and social economies. In democracies that are not defined by a majority ruling over a minority, but by the virtue of treating each and every citizen with equal respect. And we stand up for a world based on rules, where right makes might – and not the other way around.

In essence, I feel that Germany and Canada are united in being progressive countries. 

That realization, of course, is not entirely new to me. Especially not when it comes to Justin Trudeau. As mayor of Hamburg, I invited you, Justin, to be our guest of honor at Hamburg’s traditional Saint Matthew’s Meal. That was in 2016, right after finishing the negotiations on CETA, which sets a global gold standard for modern trade agreements. And I am glad that ratification is under way in the German parliament.

I also experienced the kinship of our progressive countries as minister of finance. Canada was our closest ally in reaching an agreement on the global minimum tax in the G7 and G20. I announced the breakthrough shoulder to shoulder with Chrystia Freeland – at the Canadian Embassy in Washington.

Under the German presidency, the G7 agreed to work towards the establishment of a “climate club” by the end of this year. The objective is to accelerate the decarbonization of our industries, but without contributing to carbon leakage or triggering international trade conflicts.

Thank you, Justin, for your support on this matter. I am grateful that you were an early advocate for the idea.

There is a stereotype in international politics that Germans and Canadians can finish each other’s sentences.

Well, we can. And – given the urgency of the current situation – we also must.

What we are experiencing right now is a perfect storm: A multitude of overlapping and mutually reinforcing global crises and fundamental geopolitical shifts.

You all know what I am talking about: Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the ensuing energy crisis, global food shortages, inflation.

All of this comes at a time when the world is still grappling with the COVID pandemic, when we see autocracies rising and the climate crisis taking its toll on people all around the world, including in our own countries.

Yet, this is not the time for somber analyses. Deputy-Chancellor Robert Habeck and I, together with our delegation, have come to Canada to join hands with you. And that’s precisely what we are doing.

As members of the G7, we are imposing unprecedented sanctions against the Russian aggressors. We are united in supporting Ukraine, also because defending Ukraine means defending the rules-based international order that our two countries rely on. Justin and I just reaffirmed this at the Crimea platform here in Toronto this morning.

As Germany is moving away from Russian energy at warp speed, Canada is our partner of choice. For now, this means increasing our LNG imports. We hope that Canadian LNG will play a major role in this.

But the task at hand is much bigger than simply diversifying our energy supply. For us, what lies ahead is nothing less than the biggest transformation of our economy, infrastructure and mobility since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

Germany has decided to become climate neutral by 2045. And at the same time, we are determined to remain a world leading industrialized country.

So, we have set ourselves clear and firm goals: producing 80 percent of our electricity from renewables by 2030 is one of these.

Over the last months, we have been cutting red tape to speed up administrative processes.

Billions of euros are being invested in reliable grids, new infrastructure, and climate-friendly technologies.

The external shocks we are witnessing only strengthen our resolve to seek new partners and to deepen old friendships. Like ours, between Canada and Germany. 

You can take my word for it. Or you can simply take a look around this room.

The who-is-who of the German economy has joined Robert and me to this trip. They are just as keen to forge new partnerships with Canadian companies as we are to provide the necessary political backing.

And here comes the good news: The outlook for this new “can do”-partnership between our countries couldn’t be more ideal.

In the global puzzle that is our multipolar world, Canada and Germany are two perfectly matching pieces.

Before the trip someone told me: “Canada has everything Russia has also got. But the much better investment climate. And is a democracy.”

You were the guy.

Well, I couldn’t agree more.

Canada is a reliable companion.

Canada shares our values.

You are our friend and ally.

Your country has almost boundless potential to become a superpower in sustainable energy and sustainable resource production.

And Germany for its part stands ready to become one of your closest partners.

Not just as a consumer of Canadian energy and raw materials or as an exporter of high-end industrial goods. But as someone with the know-how and the willingness to invest in durable, future oriented and sustainable value chains and in the real integration of our economies.

Canada’s pioneer in hydrogen and energy technology, Alexander Thomas Stuart, built his first electrolyser in 1905. Around the same time, a German, Fritz Haber, invented the synthetic production of ammonia.

Today, our two countries can once again write technological and scientific history, not least when it comes to the future uses of hydrogen or power-to-ammonia.

So, I am looking forward to experiencing the strong winds of Stephenville this afternoon with their huge potential for green hydrogen production

The Canadian-German synthesis is taking place not only with respect to electrical power. But brain power, too.

Yesterday, we met with Yoshua Bengio in Montreal, one of the grandmasters of artificial intelligence and deep learning. He and his team are working with German neuroscientists at Jülich Research Center to create the first map of the human brain.

Their joint work could help us understand how the human brain works – and in doing so revolutionize medical science.

Examples like these abound – as do new business opportunities between our countries.

I am delighted to hear that Canada accepts the invitation to be the partner country of the world’s biggest industrial trade fair, the Hannover Messe, in 2025.

Already on this trip we will see the signing of a new memorandum of understanding of critical minerals between the Canadian government, Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz.

So, the opportunities are there.

The political will is there.

The right partners are there – many of them even in this room.

And I can confidently add: The necessary capital is also there.

That’s at least the impression I got from yesterday’s meeting with representatives of the Canadian pension funds. They are specifically looking for investments into environmentally and socially sustainable projects. And that is also the message I am hearing from German business leaders at home and on this trip. 

So, let us seize this unique opportunity to reinvent the partnership between our two countries, expand it, and adapt it to what I’ve called a „Zeitenwende“ – the change of times that we are witnessing.

In Europe, close to Russia‘s war, we feel a new sense of urgency and purpose. And I know that Justin and many of you here in Canada share that sentiment.

Yes, Canadians and Europeans are separated by an ocean. But in today’s globalized, fast-paced, digital world, geographical distance matters less than ever before in human history. What matters though are shared values, common goals and the will to move forward.

And we have all of that – and more. Since June of this year, Europe and Canada basically even share a joint land border.

On Hans Island, somewhere between Canada’s north-east coast and Greenland. For decades it was disputed between Canada and Denmark – until an agreement was reached to simply divide the island peacefully.

I want to thank the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce for the kind invitation.

And thank you all for joining us this morning!