Editorial: Cashing in on Cascadian co-operation

News flash: Canada and America can get along.

Political noise too often obscures that reality. Consider, for example, the aspirations of the recent Cascadian Innovation Corridor Conference held in Vancouver. Atop the list of those aspirations: cultivate cross-border co-operation to turn the Pacific Northwest into an integrated economic engine that benefits development of technology and other innovative industries on both sides of the border.

This is not just co-operation in aid of political photo ops and staged congeniality between nations. It is a push for genuine collaboration driven by a belief that, despite the border that separates British Columbia from Pacific Northwest states, the two regions have much to gain from pooling investment and talent to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Vancouver and Seattle are increasingly becoming home to a culture of innovators and entrepreneurs with an affinity for and expertise in digital technology, animation, film, special effects and augmented reality. But Vancouver still has more connections with Toronto, a five-hour flight away, than it does with Seattle, a mere one-hour flight away. Separate and siloed, each will continue to develop skills and clientele. But together, the two regions can multiply those attributes and their leverage in the global marketplace.

The Cascadian consciousness eliminates borders. The enterprise common sense between the two regions trumps the bluster that characterizes the trade tensions fomented by the current U.S. administration. Regional co-operative upsides far outweigh the partisan self-interests being flogged federally on the world stage.

In Cascadia, we have regions in two countries that have attracted and cultivated an invaluable expertise in the new world of information technology. It is largely the future of economic growth and opportunity, as is the initiative of regions working to build better futures together rather than working against each other to carve up smaller pieces of an economic pie that is falling short of its potential.