Canada just might escalate the $5 billion war for Amazon’s HQ2

The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is all set to take a three day tour of America to gather up support for NAFTA. During this tour he will meet with various business leaders and entrepreneurs in the technology sector to explore opportunities for growth in high-quality jobs and investment in Canada.

One of those business leaders will Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and if you read between the lines it’s not hard to see the conversation for Amazon’s new HQ will also take place. This will be Trudeau’s chance to pitch Toronto the only city outside the US on Amazon’s HQ2 shortlist directly to Bezos and it will take place during a closed-door conversation.

HQ2, comes with its promise of 50,000 new jobs and $5 billion in investment, and this will be big enough that it would matter not just to an individual city or state but to an entire country the size of Canada.

Trudeau previously sent a letter to Bezos when the HQ2 project was announced, talking up Toronto’s tech talent and cosmopolitan lifestyle, as well as Canada’s lower cost to employers via universal healthcare.Mayor Jim Watson of Ottawa previously said Canadian cities had an advantage because of Canada’s more liberal policies. He noted that “Amazon has something like 9,000 engineering jobs they can’t fill.” He further added that Canada’s immigration policy was “much more liberal” and that “that’s where we have an advantage.”

There’s less uncertainty about possible changes to immigration laws right now in Canada than there is in the US. In an interview with the CBC from September, a former Amazon executive described Canada as “more welcoming” when it came to immigration.Toronto and Canada are hoping that Amazon weighs that advantage heavily, as the bid it submitted to Amazon did not emphasize tax and other financial incentives.