Merger of the Century
Why Canada and America Should Become One Country
Creating a robust agenda for the development of emerging tech isn’t a frill, but a necessity in the 21st century. An award-winning, bestselling author and futurist, Diane Francis argues for a more effective innovation policy and cultural shift—to build the vibrant venture capitalist infrastructure we need, and to help Canadian entrepreneurs create world-beating companies at home.
Diane Francis is an expert on Silicon Valley, future technology, geopolitics, the Ukraine-Russia conflict, Putin, energy, business, and white collar crime. Always provocative, her direct and forceful writing has established her international reputation in covering the personalities, trends, and financial backstories that affect companies, individuals, governments and societies. Her popular twitter feed on tech and corruption has more than 600,000 followers around the world.
An award-winning columnist, bestselling author, investigative journalist, television commentator, and screenplay writer, she writes pieces for newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Politico, The WorldPost, and Miami Herald, and is a regular contributor to the New York Post and The Guardian. She is Editor-at-Large at Canada’s National Post and writes for the US Edition of The Huffington Post. She is a regular contributor to Al Jazeera America and CCTV-America (China TV).
Francis is Adjunct Faculty at Singularity University in Mountain View, California, a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, and sits on the boards of the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative and the Canada-US Law Institute. She is an activist, and has organized major conferences in Canada at Ryerson University on bio-tech and business, with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on future technologies, and raised $1 million in corporate sponsorships to mount Singularity University’s first Canada Summit. She is a member of Abundance360, created by Silicon Valley influencer and space pioneer Peter Diamandis, who leads this exclusive group of 250 entrepreneurs.
In 1991, Francis became Editor of Canada’s Financial Post, the first woman editor of a national daily newspaper in Canada, a position she held until the paper was sold in 1998. She is the author of ten books, including Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country (2013, featured in a cover story in Foreign Policy), Who Owns Canada Now?: Old Money, New Money and the Future of Canadian Business (2008), and Immigration: The Economic Case (2002). Her latest major project is completion of a full-length motion picture script with Hollywood producers—an original concept and unlike other science fiction films in production. She is also working on a second movie project, based on her seventh book, Bre-X: The World’s Biggest Gold Swindle.
“Your comments, insights, and perspectives on the electricity industry as well as the global economy were certainly thought provoking and enjoyed by all who attended. We have received a great deal of positive feedback from those who attended. We found your delivery to be very entertaining and your candor was appreciated.”Ontario Hydro
“Refreshing insightful and a delight to listen. I am honored to have the experience of listening and participating. Very dynamic speaker, great global perspective.”Canadian Marketing Association
“Your knowledge and perspective helped to make the conference informative, interactive and entertaining. With your help, we set a new standard of excellence for this major conference.”British Columbia Tourism Industry Conference
“Diane's speech was very well received by our management team. Her breadth of knowledge on many subjects was appreciated and her honest perspective was refreshing.”C-Mac Industries
“The anecdotal feedback we have received so far indicates that your speech was the highlight of the Convention. We appreciate all the effort that went into preparing and presenting your session.”Ontario Nursing Home Association
“Our membership thought you were the best!”Canadian Association of Insurance and Financial Ad
“I would like to extend our sincere thanks for the tremendous contribution that you made to our session. The feedback we’ve received to date suggests that this was one of our best seminars yet and your after luncheon speech was the highlight of the day.”Honeywell Limited
“Thank you very much for being our keynote speaker at our Halifax, Ottawa, and Calgary Financial Solutions Shows. You were an excellent draw and the crowd seemed very inspired by your educational outlook on the future of the markets.”National Event Management
We’re living in an era of dramatic deflation, says Diane Francis. Technologies have driven down the price of goods and services across every industry. A simple GPS system cost $150,000 20 years ago—now it’s a $10 chip in your $700 iPhone. Scores of other formerly expensive technologies have undergone similar price compression. Services are being made redundant—newspapers, libraries, schools, hotels, and taxis have all fallen prey to digital disruption. Now, algorithms write news stories; AI performs legal research; robots dominate manufacturing; driverless cars threaten to slash 12 percent of jobs. Meanwhile, governments haven’t caught on. They’re printing money to generate inflation, and failing. Corporations are hoarding cash, and interest rates are plummeting. In such a chaotic market, what company survives?
The answer? Yours. In this talk, Francis introduces us to the organizations that are thriving in the age of compression. They’re called ‘exponential organizations’ (a term coined by Singularity University co-founder Salim Ismail), and they’re leveraging new media in ways traditional industries cannot. To survive the digital economy, Francis says, corporations and workers must reinvent themselves. And this keynote, full of cautionary tales and pragmatic strategies, will not only help your company stay afloat, but prosper in the era of disruption and deflation.
The world’s now-globalized financial architecture is dangerously unregulated. Dirty capital flows through tax havens, secrecy havens, complicit banks, and money laundries, damaging nations both rich and poor. In developing nations, this “hot” money jumps offshore, markets crash, and mass emigration ensues; in developed countries, it clogs up real-estate markets (Toronto and Vancouver markets are up 14 and 30 percent, respectively, in the last year alone) and pushes locals out. Cybercrime, too, has taken off—email scams, identity theft, and online crime hubs like Silk Road are just the start.
Diane Francis is the author of three books on white collar crime, and specializes in fraud, money laundering, and the illicit transfer of funds worldwide. She is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasian section, where she focuses on Putin, Russian oligarchs, and Ukraine’s struggles against corruption. She also sits on the advisory board of the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative, an organization dedicated to tracking kleptocrats—corrupt members of nations’ ruling classes—for the benefit of journalists, law enforcement, and investors. In this talk, Francis shines a light on corruption the world over, and calls for governments to “act in concert to bring about transparency, criminalization and information sharing.”
Canada and the United States are sibling nations and, along with Mexico, have been involved in NAFTA since 1994. The three form a symbiotic economic and social relationship that is frayed and uncertain. Geopolitically, the world is dividing into more regional blocks, but those blocks that already exist may divide under nativist and protectionist pressures from local politicians.
What does the short term future look like for Canada and the US, whose socio-economic interdependence is among the most intense in the world? What is the future of NAFTA, based on who controls the Presidency and Congress? Moreover, what is the impact of technology, harmful global trade, illicit financial flows, real estate bubbles caused by foreign money laundering, employment, educational systems, deflation, Putin, the EU's challenges, Brexit, China's slowdown and the pushback toward global trade in general?
Diane Francis draws upon her knowledge, writings and relationships concerning geopolitics, business, white collar crime and technology to present the scenarios, warnings, trends and solutions for corporate and individual audiences.