Speaking at a global economic forum, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau touted Canada as a powerhouse in innovation and creativity – with the University of Waterloo at its centre.

In a keynote address at the World Economic Forum, the prime minister relayed a story in which a reporter asked the president of Silicon Valley startup accelerator Y Combinator if any school “stood out as a source of graduates with sparkling new ideas.”

Trudeau told his audience in Davos, Switzerland, that the reply named exactly one school – the University of Waterloo.

“Why does a Silicon Valley entrepreneur look to Waterloo as a great source for brilliant minds and brilliant ideas?” Trudeau said.

“Well, it has high intellectual standards of course, and it values entrepreneurship – but diversity is its indispensable ingredient. Waterloo’s students come from everywhere.”

The prime minister appeared to be using the forum as a platform to set himself apart from predecessor Stephen Harper, whose addresses at the event typically focused on Canada’s resource sector.

Saying that he wanted his audience to know “Canadians for our resourcefulness” rather than “Canada for its resources,” Trudeau said that natural resources remain a vital part of the economy, but not its sole component.

"We have a diverse and creative population, outstanding education and health care systems, and advanced infrastructure," he said.

"We have social stability, financial stability and a government willing to invest in the future."