Numbering among those that were submitted for the title of most influential Canadian expats are names like Kim Campbell, Celine Dion, Wayne Gretzky, and others that have significantly influenced world. This event, orchestrated by the Canadian Expat Association, is scheduled for release as a public vote in October.
Others that may be lesser known to the public at large include Tony Burman, the managing director of the al-Jazeera news network, as well as several actors, singers, and athletes. The point of the competition was to compile a list of those Canucks that have influenced business, politics, and culture beyond the Canadian borders in substantial ways.
Some figures estimate that there are approximately 2.7 million talented Canadian expats that regularly contribute billions of dollars in bilateral trade.
One expat, R. Glenn Williamson, originally from Montreal, has made his home in Phoenix for 22 years. The Arizona city has been known as a major tourist destination for western Canadians for years, but it was Williamson who saw the untapped market for trade between the southwestern American region and Canada. The main point of contact is focused on the aerospace, life-science, and technology industries and the total trade has surpassed $3 billion.
Figures such as those compiled by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada in 2006 noted that there were approximately 644,000 Canadian expats in Asia. It further revealed figures for the U.S. and Europe, 1.2 million and 500,000 respectively. Around 380,000 were living in other regions. It was nearly the equivalent of the city of Toronto spread across the globe.
Often having a resident expat population in a country like China can have some unexpected benefits. Such was suggested by Kenny Zhang, a project manager for the foundation. One example cited was the creation of a market for quality Canadian built houses in China. The reason for this success was the demand for such projects from resident Canadian expats.
Still, there is some uncertainty among many expats living in other countries. This uncertainly revolves around questions of outreach. Many like Zhang and Williamson consider such efforts by the Canadian government to be insufficient. Yet, countries like Australia where this is a large Canadian expatriate population have taken steps, such as the creation of the social-networking website, www.expatriateconnect.com , to provide a greater sense of community and a place for the business-minded to meet and exchange ideas.