With roughly a dozen photographers and videographers capturing Mr. Carney entrance and breakfast meal, Ottawa Chamber of Commerce executive director Erin Kelly quipped he appeared to have achieved celebrity status both in the nation's capital, as well as in international banking circles.
Speaking at the Mayor's Breakfast Series, co-hosted by OBJ and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Carney painted a somewhat bleak picture of the U.S. and European economic recovery, and encouraged companies to diversify away from the Canada's traditional trading partners.
"Demand among our major trading partners in going to remain low for some time," he said.
"This is the weakest U.S. recovery since the Great Depression ... This has real consequences."
Calling "the great deleveraging" one of the major forces currently shaping the global economy, Mr. Carney said the repayment of debts by advanced economies is acting as a drag on Canada's exporters, who should be turning their attention to rapidly growing emerging countries.
"There is a need for a reorientation of our export markets," he said.
In a nod the local audience, Mr. Carney highlighted Ottawa's clean-tech and business analytics sector as being well-positioned to sell into foreign markets.
"These technologies make sense here in Canada, but they're also exportable," he said to a sold-out crowd, adding that the rising price of commodities is not a short-term spike and could work to Canada's advantage when selling to foreign markets.
But the country needs to reevaluate its trade partners, as 85 per cent of Canadian exports go to countries that are paying off their debts and experiencing very slow growth. Only eight per cent of Canada's exports go to emerging markets such as China and India that are seeing incredible growth, and will continue to do so for decades, said Mr. Carney.
"We need to think about reorienting our major markets," he said.
Since the market crash in 2009, China's GDP has grown by 60 per cent, and three-quarters of all global market growth in 2011 came from emerging markets, according to the Bank of Canada's calculations.
Canada's continued reliance on trade partners that are paying off debt, such as the United States, has made Canada's export performance the second worst out of the G20 countries and has caused the country to lose some of its competitiveness, Mr. Carney said.
But by focusing on Canada's rich resource industry and specializations such as Ottawa's clean-tech industry, the country has been able to recover all of the 430,000 jobs lost during the recession. This is also because of its reliance on domestic demands and the low cost of borrowing money.
The Bank of Canada predicts 2.4 per cent economic growth in Canada this year and next, and Mr. Carney said to expect inflation rates to remain stable at two per cent. This will make Canada an attractive option for foreign investors, he said.
"It's realistic to expect that Canada will attract foreign capital over the next decade," he said.
With files from Peter Kovessy.