World Markets and Opportunities
CANADA - c ountry of diversit y -
116 June 2014 | 59
CANADA HAS TEN provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan) and three territories (Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon).
ACCORDING TO THE UNITED Nations Human Development Index, Canada has the fourth highest quality of life in the world.
OCCUPYING THE NORTHERN HALF of North America, Canada is the second largest country in the world (approximately 9,984,670 sq. km), with a population of about 32.5 million and comprising six time zones. Ottawa is the capital of Canada and the country's fourth largest city.
CANADA IS A DEMOCRATIC constitutional monarchy, with a Sovereign as head of State and an elected Prime Minister as head of Government. The Sovereign appoints the Governor General, who performs the monarch's duties, but does so only on the Prime Minister's recommendation.
LEADING EXPORTS are: automobile vehicles and parts, machinery and equipment, high technology products, oil, natural gas, metals and forest farm products.
HOCKEY AND LACROSSE are the national sports.
BETWEEN 2006 and 2011 around 1.2 million foreign-born people immigrated to Canada. These recent immigrants made up 17.2% of the foreign-born population and 3.5% of the total population of Canada. Source: Employment and Social Development Canada
THE COUNTRY'S ECONOMY is heavily dependent on natural resources. In the vast wilderness of Canada one can find bears, beavers, moose, lynxes, cougars, geese, pigeons, herons and eagles. In the coastal waters there are whales, dolphins, sharks and salmon.
INTERVIEW H.E. ROMAN ANDREW WASCHUK, CANADIAN AMBASSADOR TO SERBIA
Land of Diversity Canada is considered a promised land for many young people, especially educated ones, and after graduation foreign students can stay and work in Canada for a maximum of three years
alism are always of making sure that everyone can feel at home; (c) we continue to believe in building caring communities - our healthcare and education programmes are designed to protect citizens, both old and new, from catastrophic health risks and provide a level playing field to make the best of young people’s talents.
anada is a vast, multicultural, bilingual, academically successful, economically powerful and culturally diverse nation and, according to Ambassador Waschuk, it also enjoys excellent cooperation with Serbia, thanks in no small part to the Serbian Diaspora living in Canada. ■ Canada is one of the world’s most developed and stable economies, a vast country with large natural resources and a highly educated workforce. What would you add to this? - I’d have to agree with you on that trio of key characteristics of our country, and add three more: (a) we are a nation built on evolution, not revolution, drawing on one of the world’s oldest continuous constitutional traditions as a guarantee for our democracy; (b) Canada accommodates diversity within its vastness - federalism in the form of 10 provinces and 3 territories, recognition of aboriginal self-government, official English and French bilingualism and multicultur-
■ Your country is also something of a “promised land” for young highly educated immigrants who come from
It is easy for a young person from abroad to integrate in Canada because of its multiculturalism, which is interwoven into every part of their daily professional and personal experience in Canada, while foreign students are also eligible to register for work & study programmes
WORLD MARKETS AND OPPORTUNITIES | CANADA
all parts of the world, including Serbia. What does Canada offer them and what are the experiences of young people who come from Serbia and the region like? - Indeed, Canada is considered a promised land for many young people, especially educated ones. Postsecondary diplomas from Serbia and other regional countries are very
much respected in Canada, especially in the fields of IT, mining, electrical engineering, agriculture and environmental studies. There is a wealth of different programmes offered for international students. Students from this region have very good experience with Canadian education’s system of combining theoretical knowledge with practical experience. The education system in Canada constitutes an excellent environment that allows the student not only to succeed but also to bloom, because students gain from practical placements in industry. For a young person coming from abroad, it is also easy for them to integrate in Canada because of its multiculturalism, which is interwoven into every part of their daily professional and personal experience in Canada. A foreign student in Canada is also eligible to register for a work & study programme once they are enrolled at a university in Canada. Such an experience enriches their own learning experience and helps them develop policies on how to bridge the gap between the lab, field an society. After graduation, foreign students can stay and work in Canada in the field of their studies for a maximum of three years and in that way gain international work experience that is valued
Canada accommodates diversity within its vastness - federalism, recognition of aboriginal self-government, official English and French bilingualism and multiculturalism are all ways of making sure everyone can feel at home.
throughout the world. Canadian universities also offer scholarships for postgraduate international students, based on their academic merits. International students are also interested in the International Experience Canada programme, which allows young professionals to come and work in Canada for a year. ■ Some time ago an article circulated news portals in Serbia which stated: “A decent life in Canada includes at least two annual holidays in a Caribbean resort, three cars per family and a house of 300 square metres”. Is this really true and what makes life in Canada pleasant, except for economic stability? - I’m afraid your news portals may be slightly overstating the leisure aspect of Canadian life. While many Canadian families enjoy a holiday in the sun to break up the winter months, going twice seems a bit much, especially as we don’t have as many days off work as Europeans. As for vehicles, we have an average of one and a half per family; while some families are keen to own more, others (especially in big cities) are trying car-sharing, cycling, transit and other options to reduce the cost and environmental impact of auto ownership. Our average house is about 200 sq m in size, though many have been built in the past 20 years in the more generous (and costly) 300 sq m range. What makes it all worthwhile? For most Canadians, it is the “neighbourhood feel”, the sense that you share certain values and experiences with the other people on your street, the other parents at school, or the other volunteers at the community recreation centre. Also, having the space (both literally and figuratively) to pursue
Canadian universities offer scholarships for international post-grad students, while students are also interested in the International Experience Canada programme, which allows young professionals to work in Canada for a year.
interests ranging from gardening in your own backyard to canoeing in a nearby park or conservation area. ■ When it comes to political trends, a global trend over the past decade has been the strengthening of conserva-
With an immigration policy that balances economic, family and humanitarian considerations, Canada helps ensure a steady stream of professionals arrive to fill skills shortages, along with families highly motivated to make an energetic new start in life tive options. What is the situation like in Canada in this respect? - At the federal level, our government has been formed by the Conservative Party of Canada since 2006, under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. So in that “capital C” sense, we fit into the trend that you’ve identified. In many policy respects, however, this government has been very innovative (tax-cutting, public service reform, free trade with Europe), so prag-
Serbian artists that immigrated to Canada have contributed to the excellent image of the Serbian cultural scene in Canada, such as writers David Albahari and Vladimir Tasic, illustrator and caricaturist Dušan Petricic, composer Ana Sokolovic et al.
matic, measurable, positive change is also very much part of the picture. ■ One of the most significant characteristics of Canadian society is its ethnic diversity. In which ways does that enrich and regenerate society as a whole? - Ethnic and other forms of diversity are constant reminders to us at home in Canada that there is a whole world of people and opportunities out there. With an immigration policy that balances economic, family and humanitarian considerations, we help ensure a steady stream of professionals arrive to fill skills shortages, along with families highly motivated to make an energetic new start in life. Canada is one of the few countries in the world where immigrant children in the first and second generation generally succeed at school as well or better than their native-born peers (who are themselves consistent Top 10 PISA test performers). Seeing this focus on achievement, a majority of Canadians is reassured in their view of immigration and diversity as a net benefit. ■ When we have the case of a country that is so rich in different identities, the rule is that such a country has a fertile cultural scene. What are the personalities and phenomena in Canadian culture that we can highlight as being the most relevant at present? - Canadian filmmakers are performing strongly, with two winning prizes at this year’s Cannes festival: the young (25) yet experienced (fifth movie) Xavier Dolan for “Mommy”, and veteran David Cronenberg for “Maps to the Stars”. It has also been a very good year in literature, with the Nobel Prize going to short story laureate Alice Munro. Four Munro story collections
CANADA | WORLD MARKETS AND OPPORTUNITIES
and a novel are among the 250 books by Canadian authors translated and published in Serbia over the past decade. Audiences in Belgrade, and this year Novi Sad, have also encountered and enjoyed Canada’s top contemporary dance companies. ■ There are very intense cultural and academic exchanges between our two countries. What are the most important points of this exchange? - Strong cultural and academic bridges between our two countries have enhanced overall bilateral cooperation. Literary bridges have been strengthened through visits by numerous Canadian writers who attended their book launches in Serbia. We are very grateful to Serbian publishers and university professors – Canadianists – for spaying such an interest for Canadian literature. Serbian is ranked within the top three languages in respect to the number of received translation grants by the Canada Council for the Arts. The Serbian Ministry of Culture implemented a similar programme according to the Canadian model in light of promoting the Serbian literature abroad. Canadian performing artists are invited to numerous Serbian festivals, such as BITEF, BEMUS, the Belgrade Dance Festival etc. I would like to name just some of the recent visiting Canadian artists and companies, such as Gradimir Pankov and his Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Ballet Jazz de Montreal, Compagnie Marie Chuinard, famous theatre director Robert Lepage and his Ex Machina company, Ana Sokolović and her a capella opera Svadba. Canadian film is regularly present at Belgrade’s FEST, Francophonie Film Festival, documentary film Festivals, BOSI fest, KIDS film festival etc. Canadian visual artists have established excellent cooperation with their Serbian colleagues through the University of Arts in Belgrade and galleries throughout Serbia. Our embassy is proud to be able to showcase many of the segments of Canadian culture within our Canada Days programme in towns outside the
capital of Belgrade. Just last month we were present with Canada Days in Kraljevo, thanks to excellent cooperation with the Kraljevo National Library and Kraljevo City Hall. We presented Canadian Francophone literature and the Canadian children’s film pro-
The Serbian Association for Canadian Studies organises biannual international conferences in Serbia attended by distinguished professors of Canadian studies from all over the world. In return, Serbian theatre plays and films are regularly presented in Canada
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gramme in this town. There are also three universities in Serbia that teach Canadian studies, mostly within the fields of literature, history and geopolitics. Canadian professors are often the ones who identify and translate Canadian titles. The Serbian Association for Canadian Studies organises biannual international conferences in Serbia attended by distinguished professors teaching Canadian studies from all over the world. In return, Serbian theatre plays and films have been regularly presented in Canada from Vancouver on the West Coast to Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto on the East Coast. Serbian literary readings are organised with the assistance of the Serbian Diaspora and the famous Serbica bookstore in Toronto, owned
by the Apić family. Serbian visual artists have also displayed in Canada on numerous occasions. They have a very good cooperation with the Atelier Presse Papier from Trois Rivières in Québec in particular. Many of the Serbian artists that immigrated to Canada have contributed to an excellent image of the Serbian cultural scene in Canada, such as writers David Albahari and Vladimir Tasić, illustrator and caricaturist Dušan Petričić, composer Ana Sokolović (who was recognized as a national Treasure of Québec two years ago), theatre actress and director Dragana Varagić and many others. Distinguished Serbian academics and researchers are also invited to attend conferences in Canada. ■ The government portrays Canadians as being a very peaceful people. If we were to highlight the main characteristics of the Canadian mentality, what would they be? - Very peaceful? Yes, unless provoked by radical injustice. You should recall that Canadians have not only been active peacekeepers, but also joined the fray in 1914 as an ally of Serbia and went to war in 1939 to help stop Hitler. Polite and self-effacing? Perhaps, where appropriate; but we have also been trying to train ourselves to be more assertive when it comes to sporting excellence. Successive “Own the Podium” initiatives drove Canada to #1 at the Vancouver Games, which we hosted in 2010, and a third-place finish in Sochi earlier this year. We continue to be good at teamwork, perhaps a heritage of sticking together to stay warm in a (periodically) cold climate. ■ What should every foreigner know, but often doesn’t know, about Canada? - Canada has more lakes than all other countries in the world combined. This not only enhances lifestyles (Canadians are always “going up to the lake for the weekend”), but also creates important environmental obligations, as stewards of 20% of the world’s supply of fresh water. This resource role will become even more important in the decades to come. ■
INTERVIEW MILJANA VIDOVIĆ, DIRECTOR OF REV D.O.O.
Delayed Start Construction of the hydro-electric plants near Brodarevo is the biggest greenfield investment in renewable energy in Serbia. The Brodarevo Project has several benefits for Serbia, not only in terms of the investment value, but also in resolving infrastructure problems in the construction zone
EV Company is currently in the final stage of preparing documentation and beginning implementation of a project to build hydro-electric power plants Brodarevo 1 and 2. The company has an environmental protection study in place, as well as the Spatial Plan for Special Purpose Area. REV has also created a hydraulic model and completed geological research. “We have bought all this land and acquired over 50 different opinions and documents from various state-run institutions. We have been implementing energy and mining projects in Serbia since 2006,” says Miljana Vidović, Director of REV. ■ How satisfied are you with your collaboration with the Serbian government and to what extent does the future of your investment hinge on the government and to what extent on other factors? - Our problems stem from the overall climate. The state has definitely been welcoming to investors, but, in reality, we cannot see the results of this. Had there been continuity in fostering a positive attitude towards this project during the political changes while we have been present in Serbia, realistically speaking we could have started
the construction long ago and thus, as investors, spent much less money on development. A huge investment has been made, considering the project has lasted longer than planned. Our further activities largely depend on how the Serbian state treats our company. ■ You have spoken to the media several times and outlined the economic and environmental benefits the project would bring both the local community and Serbia. Would you mind reiterating them? - Through implementation of the Brodarevo 1 and 2 projects REV will spend close to €40 million on infrastructure facilities that will ultimately belong to the Serbian government
The state has definitely been welcoming to investors, but, in reality, we cannot see the results of this adequate intention that the Serbian government has and the total value of the project is over €140 million. The local community and individuals have already benefitted from us being present and making donations in various segments. By constructing a 110kV power line, Brodarevo and Sjenica would be connected electrically, which would round off the regional power grid and provide power supply stability in this part of Serbia. Additionally, with the construction of a new road and two tunnels (2,930-metre-long
Junakovina and 4,650-metre-long Brusovnik), the most critical points on this segment of the main road would be eliminated. We would also shorten the commute between Prijepolje and Bijelo Polje and bypass the most dangerous points on the existing road, making it much safer. Debris coming from Montenegro will be collected at the Brodarevo 1 power plant, making the River Lim much cleaner. The company is also mindful and respectful of strict environmental standards. Obviously, all of the aforementioned factors will benefit both the country and the local community. ■ In terms of what has already been completed, could you tell us which qualitative and procedural standards you have complied with? - This is the biggest greenfield investment in the renewable energy sources segment in Serbia. We have done everything in accordance with IFC standards and auditors TRACTEBEL ENGINEERING GDF SUEZ AND COYNE ET BELLIER INGENIEURS CONSEILS have been auditing our operations, which proves that so far everything has been executed in line with the strictest global regulations and standards. Considering that REV d.o.o. has floated its shares on the stock exchange and our main shareholders come from North America, international financial institutions have carried out all of the required financial monitoring. ■
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INTERVIEW PREDRAG LUKIĆ, DIRECTOR, PHARMASWISS SERBIA
Right Medication at the Right Time Apart from having high quality products, an important segment of our business policy is ensuring that each product is available to patients the moment they need it. Our products play a very important role in the treatment of cardiovascular, urological, neurological and endocrine diseases. Our medication is also used in ophthalmology, paediatrics, dermatology and aesthetic medicine plements which we market in Serbia and other European countries. Specifically, this means our products play a very important role in the treatment of cardiovascular, urological, neurological and endocrine diseases, while our medication is also used in ophthalmology, paediatrics, dermatology and aesthetic medicine. In these medical areas, we recognise opportunities for introducing new treatment options and for our further growth.
harmaSwiss is a pharmaceutical company that has experienced very dynamic development of its production portfolio in a relatively short time. Additionally, the company has managed to successfully develop its niche market, primarily in Central and Eastern Europe. We are talking to the director of PharmaSwiss Serbia, Predrag Lukić, about the reasons behind such fast growth, investments in Serbia, future plans and conditions for doing business in Serbia.
With its modern production facility, experience and know-how, the Serbian branch plays a very important part in realising Valeant’s vision
• What is the company’s fast development based on? - PharmaSwiss Serbia is a young, dynamic and quite successful company. The same adjectives can be used to describe Valeant, which has been our mother company since 2011. The success of PharmaSwiss in Serbia and regional countries, as well as the global development of Valeant, is first and foremost based on a diverse, high quality, well-balanced portfolio of medication, medical devices, natural health products and dietary supWORLD MARKETS AND OPPORTUNITIES | CANADA
• You made a decision to invest in your production facility in Zemun. How efficient has this investment been from today’s perspective and how important it is for the company’s overall business? - Apart from having high quality products, an important segment of our business policy is ensuring that each product is available to patients the moment they need it. Our own production and distribution are the only true guarantee that we will proceed to continuously supply our market. Modesty aside, I would like to underline that our production facility in
Serbia meets all technical and quality requirements in terms of production and export of our medication to the countries of the region and the EU. Our EU GMP certificate is validation of this. In 2014 most of our production capacity in Serbia will be spent on manufacturing various products for the markets of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro. • PharmaSwiss began operating under the name Valeant Pharmaceuticals International three years ago. What role does PharmaSwiss play in this system? - Again, all modesty aside, the Serbian branch is a very important part of Valeant for several reasons. When the acquisition took place, Serbia and Poland were the countries with the biggest turnover in the region, which also comprises other European countries, the Middle East and North Africa. Following expansion to Russia and the CIS countries, as well as the acquisition of one of the leading ophthalmological companies in the world, Bausch & Lomb, the situation today is somewhat different. Still, considering its modern production facility, experience and know-how, which the Serbian branch is eager to share and exchange with other countries, we play a very active role in realising Valeant’s
Frequent changes in regulations are preventing us from making bigger investments, due to a high risk associated with that.
During the economic crisis, the main thing is to have realistic plans and adjust to the current market situation.
This year our production capacity in Serbia will be also manufacturing for the markets of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro.
vision, namely the protection and improvement of our patients’ health. • An increasing number of large companies have been operating along consolidated regional market principles in order to achieve higher business efficiency. This is made possible due to similar languages, business manners and level of economic development. What are PharmaSwiss’s experiences in this matter? - The lack of linguistic, cultural and economic barriers should be utilised. I have already mentioned that our production facility is regionally orientated, just like other parts of our
company. Our marketing and medical sectors know no boundaries. We have been actively participating in all regional gatherings, we organise professional symposiums with lecturers from all over the region, encourage the exchange of experiences and hold workshops aimed at gaining new knowledge and skills, which are supervised by the most renowned global medical experts. • All the region’s countries have been experiencing economic difficulties which resulted in diminished interest among foreign investors for these investment destinations. How do the economic situation in Serbia and the rest of the region affect PharmaSwiss?
- We in Serbia like to say that the crisis in our country is a “chronic disease” that we have, unfortunately, grown accustomed to. In such circumstances, the main thing is to have realistic plans and adjust to the current market situation. The prices of medication in Serbia and other European countries are dropping, which jeopardises the profitability of some segments of our production portfolio, especially in terms of prescription medication that is covered by the National Health Insurance Fund. Since we view ourselves as a responsible company, we are not going to stop producing or distributing these products from our
Modesty aside, I would like to underline that PharmaSwiss Serbia meets all technical and quality requirements in terms of production and export of our medication to the countries of the region and the EU production portfolio, but will rather become engaged in new treatment segments and reduce the current overheads. Reducing our costs is important and has to be done, but at the same time we have to maintain the quality of our products and services. • Almost all foreign investment groups in Serbia have objected to the business climate in the country, namely to unpredictable business
conditions, red tape, an inefficient legal system and corruption. What do you think are the main obstacles from the perspective of the company you manage? - In our business segment, market stability is an immeasurably more important parameter than market size. Stability facilitates planning, reduces risks, helps you realise your vision, as well as with investing and hiring. Unfortunately, stability and efficiency are things the Serbian market lacks. Frequent changes in regulations and vague deadlines for the implementation of certain legislative procedures prevent us from planning far into the future. This also prevents us from making bigger investments, since they have become too risky. Risk is even more pronounced in the pharmaceutical industry, since you have to think way ahead. For instance, you have to order raw materials for a certain medication six months before the actual medication is sold. Before that, you have to consider the registration process, price approval, as well as the status of that particular medication with the National Health Insurance Fund, which, all in all, can last up two years. We often find ourselves in a situation where state institutions do not observe legally set deadlines, or where deadlines by which state institutions have to make a certain decision are very vague. The result of this is that, following completion of the said procedures, market conditions have changed so much that we are actually forced to abandon the market launch of a certain medication. Regardless of the aforementioned difficulties, we have ideas and knowledge which are the foundation for further development and successful business operations in any kind of environment. ■
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INTERVIEW ZORAN SOKOLOVIĆ, plant manager at Magna Seating d.o.o.
Reliable Producer of Reliable Products Car component manufacturer Magna International is a world leader in providing goods for the automotive industry. With the opening of the company’s car seating plant in the Vojvodina municipality of Odžaci in 2012, Magna has become a driver of employment opportunities and employee development in Serbia ment, the administration of Vojvodina and the municipality of Odžaci have all been exceptionally supportive of Magna and acted as reliable and dedicated partners in the decisionmaking process and throughout the construction phase. The municipality, for instance, provided us with a plot in the newly established economic zone and also helped with infrastructure developments. We have been working hand in hand with the regional and national governments, local FDI advisors and the Canadian ambassador to Serbia in order to create a business envi-
agna International Inc develops and manufactures automotive systems, assemblies, modules and components, as well as engineering and assembling complete vehicles – primarily for sale to manufacturers of cars and light trucks worldwide. Magna has been operating in Serbia since 2012 with impressive results. Magna Seating, an operating unit of Magna International, is an innovative leader in the development and manufacture of high-quality seating systems, seat structure and mechanism solutions, and foam and trim products for the global automotive industry. “Our capabilities range from consumer and market research, full concept development, design and engineering through testing and validation to world-class manufacturing of seating components and complete seat assemblies,” says Magna Seating plant manager Zoran Sokolović.
We have more than 580 employees, have mostly hired locally and are investing in the education of our staff. Naturally, not all positions could be filled with personnel from Odžaci, but even all management-level employees were hired from within Serbia
■ Why did Magna choose Serbia for production and how did the company decide to base its first plant in Odžaci? - Magna continues to expand in south-east Europe alongside the growing manufacturing footprint of our customers. The Serbian governWORLD MARKETS AND OPPORTUNITIES | CANADA
ronment that will benefit all parties involved. One fragment of this cooperation was the availability of land for the plant’s development. The municipality further supported our arrival by facilitating the necessary infrastructure elements, such as access roads, a sewage system, electricity, gas infrastructure etc. ■ In June 2013 Magna announced that it would hire more staff. How many workers do you have today?
- Yes, we were planning to employ approximately 450 people at full capacity. We succeeded in that and today we have even more employees than we had planned. There are more than 580 employees at the moment, and we have mostly hired locally and are investing in the education of our staff. All production staff received special training that qualifies them for the production of seating components in the automotive industry. Naturally, not all positions could be filled with personnel from Odžaci, but even all management-level employees were hired from within Serbia. ■ Does Magna have plants in other Western Balkan countries and, if so, where are they, how many people are employed and what is manufactured there? - In addition to the plant in Odžaci, Magna has established plants in, for example, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Turkey. Odžaci is the sixth plant Magna has opened in south-east Europe. ■ Which automotive brands do you produce equipment for? - In Odžaci we produce seat covers for Mercedes, Renault and Ford. We manufacture seating components that are delivered to Magna plants in Luton in the UK, Valencia in Spain and KBD in Germany, which in turn finalise the seats and deliver them to our customers. ■
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INTERVIEW DUŠAN PETRIČIĆ, CARICATURIST & ILLUSTRATOR
Art vs. Bureaucracy In my line of work, that is children's books, which has special treatment in Canada, there are festivals and children's literature festivities all over the country all year round. And this really works, because the scene is buzzing and there is always something going on. The fact remains that this environment, with the help of banks, funds the production of children's books and nurtures young readers for the most part. I find that fascinating
n late 2013 celebrated Serbian caricaturist and illustrator Dušan Petričić went back to Canada, where he had been living for the past two decades. In Canada he mostly works in publishing, children’s literature to be more specific, as well as being engaged as a caricaturist for the Canadian media. Here we talk to him about Canada’s culture and art scene, which Petričić is still a very active member of, despite having returned to Serbia. ■ In one of the first interviews you gave following your return from Canada you were quoted as saying that Canada was not a good place for artists. Since this is an economically stable country, do you think it is economic stability and prosperity that stifle artistic productivity?
- I think that is the problem. Canada is known as a country where life is pleasant, where everything is orderly and organised and where the economy is strong. However, that does not go hand in hand with artists’ needs. We can say that there is an organised system in Canada that serves to help culture through funds, grants and project financing. By filling out cer-
Provided they come up with enough money, film artists are very respected and for them things are much better than for visual artists or theatre people
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tain forms, artists can apply for these funds, which basically enable them to work. But I think that it all boils down only to that. After a while, you real-
ise that artists spend way too much time filling out the huge number of forms required in order to apply for grants. Additionally, the funds they are granted are only sufficient to start contemplating a project subject, but not sufficient to see the project fully implemented. Hence, instead of doing what they need to do, which is their art, artists spend most of their time chasing money. This applies to artists who are not working for institutions, which allows them to fulfil their artistic mission on a regular basis. My job is somewhat different, because I am closely linked to the media, which do not have art at the core. However, I did spend a lot of time there, socialising with artists who see their profession as something that is not one of the state’s top pri-
orities. I don’t think Canadians are even aware of that, but the people who come to Canada from Europe mostly feel like their hands are tied and that the way they have been expressing their art in the past is no longer going to work. ■ Is this emblematic only to the North American culture? - Well, America is emblematic in many ways, but we should differentiate between the United States of America and Canada. The U.S. has something that Canada doesn’t – a more pronounced and more sincere receptiveness of immigrants. Both the U.S. and Canada are multiethnic environments, but while Canada remained loyal to the British crown, the Americans took a different route. America was built on this openness and sincerity in every aspect. The Canadians are somewhat more oldfashioned and it seems to me that they are faking it a little bit when it comes to their attitude towards immigrants, which is seen through their stance regarding art. I have felt on my skin how artistic processes suffer because of red tape, but I am not complaining. I did quite a few books there. I also learned many useful things by going through that process and complying with their rules. ■ Could you elaborate? - My segment of work is not purely artistic and, even before I left for Canada, I had learned how to commit. I learned to work as much as was required and really immerse myself in work. In terms of children’s books, I had to learn what works and what doesn’t in communicating with children. The pedagogical approach has certain practices that you have to comply with, namely political correctness, respecting national minorities, gender consideration etc. This is not difficult to learn but, as a creative person, I see it as a positive experience. It was very beneficial for me to learn how to incorporate my own creative require-
ments into the requirements of the environment that surrounds me. ■ Speaking about this environment, which artistic segments are the most developed? - Just like in most other countries, film
be in a trend which brings us to the situation where you need to follow a certain trend/subject in order to get the money. This is why many artists from Canada dream about working in Europe after a while, despite Europe not being what it used to be.
Many artists from Canada dream about working in Europe after a while, despite Europe not being what it used to be remains the strongest category. Provided they come up with enough money, film artists are very respected and for them things are much better than for visual artists or theatre people. ■ What are the predominant topics in film and literature? - I don’t think there is a predominant topic. There are trends in every art segment. For instance, in terms of visual art, conceptual art has been quite dominant for a whole decade now. Conceptual art has spread around the world like wildfire and it seems that there are no other art forms out there anymore. This is happening in Serbia too. In order to get the funds I mentioned earlier, you need to comply with that criterion too, namely to
■ Is this a global phenomenon, i.e. today’s culture not producing artefacts but events? - Well, yes, you could view it as a matter of trend. I think the internet had a lot to do with that, since it is the internet that has facilitated a high level of democratisation in artistic processes. Anybody can be an artist today, anybody can write, paint, publish or show what they’re doing to a huge group of people. I am quite bothered by that and I am known as a staunch opponent of what the internet is doing today, specifically downgrading the quality of art. Yes, I agree with you – there are not artefacts, there are no relics. I am afraid that painting, for instance, will become fashionable again. Just like everybody is starting to use record players again, they will start painting again. I find this unacceptable. Painting should not succumb to trends or fashion, it has to hold a more permanent value than that.
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■ What cities in Canada stand out as artistic and cultural centres similar to Berlin in Europe? - There are no artistic centres in that respect, but there are several cities in Canada which stand out as social, political and economic centres – Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Since Montreal is situated in a francophone area, it has always been viewed as the city with the closest ties to Europe and as possessing an atmosphere that people from our country like. Montreal is ‘softer’ than Toronto which, on the other hand, was built to resemble American cities and, by default, looks more American than Montreal. Artists have this sophisticated need to get closer to Montreal and, if possible, work in this city. Of course, language is often an obstacle, since more people speak English than French. ■ Considering what we know about Canadian culture, the country is known for its festivals. Which is the most renowned festival there? - The Toronto Film Festival is the most important festival and it has really become popular in the last decade or so. Twenty years ago it lagged behind the Montreal Film Festival, since Montreal was a very serious art film festival, while Toronto was more a film production festival. However, due to the large amount of money poured into the Toronto Film Festival, it became a big and very important festival, while the Montreal Festival has almost fallen into oblivion. Since these two festivals happen almost concurrently, reading Toronto’s newspapers you couldn’t tell that the Montreal Festival takes place at the same time. Sometimes there are only a few lines dedicated to it, while the media report on the Toronto Festival for two weeks straight. In my line of work, that is children’s books, which has special treatment in Canada, there are festivals and children’s literature festivities all over the country all year round. And this really works, because the scene is buzzing and there is always something going
on. The fact remains that this environment, with the help from banks, funds the production of children’s books and nurtures young readers for the most part. I find that fascinating. Banks provide millions of dollars for promoting children’s books and acquiring books
The idea of profitability in art is one of the reasons why art is becoming extinct
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for summer camps, in an effort to keep kids focused on reading during school breaks. ■ How much do Canadian children like to read, considering what you have just mentioned? - That’s the thing – they like to read a lot, since nothing is left to chance. They are aware of the importance of fostering new generations of readers so that these generations grow up to become cognizant citizens and voters one day, as well as well-behaved and cultured adults. This is something that I find very impressive as a person who is engaged in children’s literature in Canada. ■ What kind of special status do books have in Canada?
- Despite a widespread view that Canadians don’t read enough, the opposite is true – they read a lot. Of course, they are not immune to the e-books and Kindle culture, which I don’t find appealing as a person who works in literature. Of course, I am aware of just how important the internet and technology are, but, as an insider, I am also privy to the negative aspects of it, which are going to have a devastating effect in a few decades. If we are talking about children’s books, the paper issues are still prevalent, since it is very important for children to have tactile moments, to flick through pages with their fingers... This kind of communication is something that children absolutely need. ■ I am under the impression that money has been one topic that has permeated throughout this interview. What about inspiration? - I have a huge problem with money being so present as a topic. I am no fool and I am not going to claim that money is not important, but we should be engaged in art. Generally speaking, in life, there are people who are very focused on money and material goods and there are others. The presumption is that ‘the others’ are artists who prefer spiritual values. In the Western world, including Canada and America, I have a big issue with money being the only criterion. In certain areas money is the only norm and has crucial importance, like business and the economy, where money and profit must matter. But when you use money as a criterion in art, everything starts going downhill. During the creative process, artists should not and cannot function with only money on their minds, constantly thinking about who is going to buy their work or whether they will be able to sell it. The idea of profitability in art is one of the reasons why art is becoming extinct. I am convinced of this, considering my experiences here and there. ■
Tennis doubles pair NENAD ZIMONJIĆ and DANIEL NESTOR have dominated the ATP list for years, recording exceptional results
Most Successful Serbian-Canadian Cooperation Canada is a country of globally connected people in a world that needs cultural translators. The 2006 census reports that 20% of all Canadians are foreign-born – marking the highest proportion in 75 years. All newcomers, ancestors of those who came before and the ancestors of Canadian indigenous peoples - are part of the rich diversity of Canada
hat diversity and mixture of human destinies sometimes creates conditions for successful stories, such as the sporting story of two great tennis players: Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjić. When Serbian and Canadian tennis unite today, we get one of the best combinations in the sport on the planet. That has been proven for years by tennis players Nenad Zimonjić and Daniel Nestor, both born in Belgrade and now champions with different passports - one displaying a two headed eagle with a crown, with the other showing the “Royal Arms of Canada”. When they are together, they are untouchable. In tandem they have won 26 titles, reached 13 other finals and individually taken 51 or 84 cups on the ATP doubles tour. They were number one in the rankings, took a few grand slam titles and reached the very top of the sport. Alongside this, they can be proud of the fact they represent a “nightmare” for brothers Mike and Bob Bryan, officially the best doubles pair in the world, because they are one of the few pairs – if not the only – to have a positive record against the Twins. They have earned over $18 million dollars from tournament prize money alone and recorded more than 1,500 victories. They aren’t bothered by the fact
Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjić have earned over $18 million dollars from tournament prize money alone and recorded more than 1,500 victories
that they have long since gained the status of veterans - Nestor is 41 and Zimonjić 37. It is also not a problem that they both have families and children and that, alongside striving to be top tennis players, they also try to be good fathers, i.e. to find time for everything and the right balance. Danijel Nestorović, aka Daniel Nestor, has origins in Macedonia (father) and Croatia (mother). He was born in Belgrade and it was from here that, following an invitation from his uncle in Canada, Daniel travelled with his parents to this distant land in the mid-1970s, in search of a new, better life. Fate later brought him together with the beautiful Natasha, a Toronto-born Canadian with Serbian roots from Čačak. - We met in 2002 at a Serbian party for Catholic Christmas, under the title “This is not our Christmas”. When the majority of Canadians celebrate Christmas on 24th December, Serbs in Toronto organise a party to let them know that their Christmas is in January. My wife was born in Toronto, but her parents are from Čačak. However, while she is fluent in Serbian, I have forgotten it all - said Daniel once, noting that after moving away from Belgrade at the age of four he only returned to the city for the first time in 2007. Nenad Zimonjić, on the other hand, also has an interesting family history. His origins can be traced back to famous duke, crusader, priest and
military leader Bogdan Zimonjić, a brave 19th century Serbian rebel from Gacko in Herzegovina. - Yes, that’s my most famous ancestor. Several families moved from that area and left and one went to the area of Vučkovići near Kragujevac, where my parents come from, and the other relocated to near Čačak. My mother is from Gospić in Lika (Croatia). I hope I’ve inherited the best from both of them – said Nenad. That Balkan mentality, hot blood and even stubbornness, also saw them part ways for a short time, and that happened after one of their most successful years: 2010 (when they won Roland Garros and took six other titles). They did not play together for two years. It is said that they may have been tired of each other and that there was a drop in form, so they decided to try playing alongside others. This was a mistake, which they realised at the end of 2012, when they briefly got back together in Basel and easily won the tournament. - That was a sign for us to consider playing together again. At this year’s first tournament in Sydney we won the title, as well as reaching the semi-final in Melbourne and playing two more finals. We have no reason to be dissatisfied. Now we are second on the list and the plan is to be among the top eight at the end of the season and play in the Masters in London says these Belgraders. ■
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A transparent and stable business climate makes Canada one of the world’s most attractive investment destinations. Openness to global trade and commerce is firmly institutionalised and the economy has rebounded relatively quickly from the global recession
anada’s economy is set to expand next year as exports and business investment pick up steam, according to the latest forecast from the OECD. However, risks remain in the housing market and provincial governments, in particular, need to watch their healthcare spending. Growth in the Canadian economy will reach 2.75 per cent by 2015, according to a report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on 6th May. Businesses will also invest to boost capacity and become more competitive, the forecast said. Spending by consumers is likely to strengthen, as the housing market “should decline towards a more sustainable level,” the OECD said. With the economy firing on all cylinders, inflation is projected to rise to nearly two per cent by late 2015. The Bank of Canada should hike interest rates as inflation rises, the organisation advises. “Fiscal consolidation” should continue among all levels of government, it noted. “Most notably, provincial governments should continue to work on reforms that would limit growth in healthcare expendi-
North America’s Freest Economy
tures,” the forecast said. To keep housing market risks in check, “mortgage-insurance coverage should be limited to only part of lenders’ losses.” Canada’s economic freedom score is 80.2, making its economy the 6th freest in the 2014 Index. Its overall score is 0.8 points better than last year, reflecting improvements in investment freedom, the management of government spending and mon-
Canada’s economic freedom score is 80.2, making its economy the 6th freest in the 2014 Index, and its overall score is 0.8 point better than last year
WORLD MARKETS AND OPPORTUNITIES | CANADA
etary freedom. Canada continues to be the freest economy in the North America region. Over the 20-year history of the Index, Canada has advanced its economic freedom score by 10.7 points, the third biggest improvement among developed economies. Substantial score increases in seven of the 10 economic freedoms, including investment freedom, fiscal freedom and the management of public spending, have
enabled Canada to elevate its economic freedom status from “moderately free” 20 years ago to “free” today. A transparent and stable business climate makes Canada one of the world’s most attractive investment destinations, while openness to global trade and commerce is firmly institutionalised and the economy has rebounded relatively quickly from the global recession. The financial system has remained stable and prudent regulations have allowed banks to withstand the global financial turmoil with little disruption. Canada has long had a reputation for honest, responsible and responsive government that vigorously prosecutes corruption. Its foundations of economic freedom rest on a judicial system that has an impeccable record of independence and transparency. Private property is well protected. Enforcement of contracts is very reliable and expropriation is highly unusual. Protection of intellectual property rights is consistent with world standards. The top federal income tax has been cut to 29 per cent and the top corporate tax remains at 15 per cent.
Other taxes include a value-added tax (VAT) and a property tax. The overall tax burden is 31 per cent of GDP. Expenditures have continued to fall to 41.9 per cent of domestic output as the Conservative-led government attempts to balance the budget by 2015. Public debt is equivalent to 86 per cent of GDP. The regulatory framework is efficient. With no minimum capital requirement, incorporating a business takes one procedure and less than one week. Licensing requirements are not burdensome. The labour market remains relatively flexible and labour costs are moderate. The government provides extensive energy and agricultural subsidies and controls virtually all charges for healthcare through a mandatory “single-payer” nationalised programme. Canada’s average tariff rate is a low 0.9 per cent. Canada is unilaterally eliminating tariffs on many inputs, while negotiating several trade agreements. Foreign investment in some sectors of the economy may be screened. The financial sector provides a full range of competitive services and remains dynamic. The six main banks continue to dominate the sector, although it has become easier for foreign banks to enter the market. Prime Minister Stephen Harper governs with a solid Conservative Party majority in Parliament. The Liberal Party, which dominated politics in Canada for decades but suffered a crushing defeat in 2011 in which it even lost the status of official opposition to the New Democratic Party, has achieved renewed popularity under the leadership of Justin Trudeau, son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Canada’s large and diverse land mass is reflected in a democratic system that provides substantial autonomy to its 13 provinces and territories. The 20 per cent of Canadians for whom French is their native language are heavily concentrated in Quebec. Canada’s economy is closely linked to that of the United States, representing a major exporter of oil, minerals, automobiles, manufactured
goods and forest products. A new Conference Board report, published on 15th May, puts Canada’s three oil rich provinces at the top of the world in terms of economic performance. The think-tank’s annual economic report card comparing 16 of the world’s richest countries puts
A new Conference Board report, published on 15th May, puts Canada’s three oil rich provinces a the top of the world in terms of economic performance
Canada in fifth place overall, one spot better than last year and behind Australia, Ireland, the United States and Norway. That’s partly a function of Canada’s relatively stable growth rate, but also due to difficult recoveries in the eurozone and Japan. Canada scores highly on economic growth and employment growth, although “poor grades on la-
bour productivity as well as inward and outward foreign direct investment raise concerns about long-term prosperity,” the report cautions. In a new twist for the Conference Board’s annual report card, the latest grades treat the 10 provinces as if they were countries, in order to cre-
ate a picture of not only the internal disparities but also how the provinces compare globally. The report places Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland — the three oil producing provinces — in that order as the top
performers, with A-plus scores across indicators such as per capita income, economic growth, unemployment and productivity. They are the only jurisdictions rated to have A-plus economies. Alberta is “class leader,” says the report, with 2013 per capita income that was $10,000 higher than Norway, the top-ranked country in that indicator. ■ SOURCES: OECD, Heritage.org, Financial Times
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Being a settler nation, Canada has been shaped by waves of migration that have combined to form a unique blend of customs, cuisine and traditions that have marked the socio-cultural development of the nation
Diversity of Identities
ilingualism is probably the most important characteristic of Canadian culture. Fifty years ago the initial work of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism laid the foundations for what would become the Government of Canada’s policy of official bilingualism. In the years following the commission, the rate of English–French bilingualism in Canada increased, but seemingly reached a plateau in 2001. What are the bilingualism trends in Canada? What factors are behind the recent slowdown in bilingualism across the country? In 2011, 17.5% of Canadians, or 5.8 million people, reported being able to conduct a conversation in both English and French, up from the 12.2% recorded 50 years earlier, in 1961. In Canada, the proportion of bilingual people went from 17.7% to 17.5% between 2001 and 2011, even though the number of bilingual people rose continuously. Quebec was the only province in which the rate of bilingualism rose steadily between 2001
For tens of thousands of years Canada was inhabited by aboriginal peoples from a variety of different cultures and several major linguistic groupings
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and 2011—from 40.8% to 42.6%. In 1961, the rate was 25.5%. In the rest of Canada, the rate of bilingualism went from 10.3% in 2001 to 9.7% in 2011. In 1961, the rate was 6.9%. The lack of growth in bilingualism outside Quebec between 2001 and 2011 occurred as the non‑Francophone immigrant population was growing and the proportion of students in French-as-a-second-language (FSL) programmes was shrinking. Aboriginal Culture For tens of thousands of years, Canada was inhabited by aboriginal peoples from a variety of different cultures and several major linguistic groupings. Although not without conflict and bloodshed, early European interactions with First Nations and Inuit populations in what is now Canada were arguably peaceful. The First Nations are the various aboriginal peoples of Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which
are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia Aboriginal peoples, their cultures and contributions lie at the heart of Canadian identity. The Aboriginal Peoples’ Programme (APP) works with aboriginal peoples, primarily offreserve, to celebrate and strengthen their cultural distinctiveness as an integral part of Canadian society. The APP focuses primarily on strengthening cultural identity, encouraging full aboriginal participation in Canadian life and supporting the continuation of aboriginal cultures and languages as living elements of Canadian society. The APP supports community projects that incorporate aboriginal values, cultures and traditional practices into community-driven activities designed to strengthen cultural identity and enable positive life choices. The APP supports the efforts of aboriginal communities to develop innovative and culturally appropriate approaches to their cultural and social aspirations that further their
community and personal prospects. It focuses on the unique challenges faced by aboriginal women, youth and urban communities. Literature Canadian literature, the body of written works produced by Canadians, reflects the country’s dual origin and official bilingualism and the literature of Canada can be split into two major divisions: English and French. In the early 20th century, popular poets responding to the interest in lo-
cal colour depicted French Canadian customs and dialect (W.H. Drummond, The Habitant and Other French-Canadian Poems, 1897), the Mohawk tribe and rituals (E. Pauline Johnson, Legends of Vancouver, 1911; Flint and Feather, 1912), and the freedom and romance of the north (Robert Service, Songs of a Sourdough, 1907). John McCrae’s account of World War I, “In Flanders Fields” (1915), remains Canada’s best-known poem. Slowly a reaction against sentimental, patriotic and derivative Victorian verse set in. E.J. Pratt created a distinctive style both in lyric poems of sea-bound Newfoundland life (Newfoundland Verse, 1923) and in the epic narratives The Titanic (1935), Brébeuf and His Brethren (1940) and Towards the Last Spike (1952), which – through their reliance on accurate detail – participate in the documentary tradition. Influenced by Pratt, Earle Birney, another innovative and experimental poet, published the frequently anthologised tragic narrative “David” (1942), the first of many audacious, technically varied poems exploring
the troubling nature of humanity and the cosmos. His publications include the verse play Trial of a City and Other Verse (1952) and poetic collections such as Rag & Bone Shop (1971) and Ghost in the Wheels (1977). Theatre Since the late 1960s there has been a concerted effort to develop the voice of the ‘Canadian playwright’, which is reflected in the nationallyfocused programming of many of the country’s theatres. Canada’s theatre history began in earnest with the dawn of the 20th century. It began with amateur performers in places like Toronto’s Hart House Theatre. Taking inspiration from places like Ireland’s Abbey Theatre, these pioneers began to see theatre as part of the process of forging a nation’s identity. This, finally, led to the development of Canadian playwrights. Merrill Denison, Robertson Davies, Herman Voaden and others began writing plays (for the stage and also for the radio), with Canadian themes for Canadian audiences.
HART HOUSE THEATRE, TORONTO
The first films shot in Canada were made at Niagara Falls; Lumière, Edison and Biograph all shot there in 1897 Film The long history of the Canadian film industry has been one of sporadic achievement accomplished in isolation and against great odds. Canadian cinema has existed within an environment where access to capital for production, to the marketplace for distribution and to theatres for exhibition, has been extremely dif-
ficult. It has experienced a concurrent history of struggle against a neighbouring entertainment monopoly (Hollywood) and a search for an audience that remains largely unaware of a domestic industry. The lack of domestic production throughout much of the industry’s history can only be under-
FILM QUEBEC FILM LEGEND MICHEL BRAULT
stood against this economic backdrop, where the major distribution and exhibition outlets have been owned and controlled by foreign interests. The first films shot in Canada were made at Niagara Falls; Lumière, Edison and Biograph all shot there in 1897. James Freer is recognised as the first Canadian filmmaker. A farmer from Manitoba, his documentaries were shown as early as 1897 and toured across England in an effort to promote immigration to Manitoba. The first fiction film, Hiawatha, the Messiah of the Ojibway, was made in 1903 by Joe Rosenthal and the first Canadian feature film, Evangeline, was produced by the Canadian Bioscope Company in 1913 and shot in Nova Scotia. Notable filmmakers from English Canada include David Cronenberg, Guy Maddin, Atom Egoyan, Patricia Rozema, Sarah Polley, Deepa Mehta, Thom Fitzgerald, John Greyson, Clement Virgo, Allan King and Michael Snow. Notable filmmakers from French Canada include Claude Jutra, Gilles Carle, Denys Arcand, Jean Beaudin, Robert Lepage, Denis Villeneuve, Léa Pool, Xavier Dolan, Philippe Falardeau and Michel Brault. ■ Sources: Princetone.edu, http://www.statcan. gc.ca, CanadianHeritage, Encyclopedia Britannica
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