BlackBerry Founder and CRTC Head Among List of Most Powerful Canadians

This week, Maclean’s magazine listed the 50 most important and powerful people in Canada.

Maclean’s in this context compiled the Power List “with three broad concepts in mind: institutional clout, capacity for innovation, and timeliness.”

The list includes mostly political folks and mostly non-surprises, such as Prime Minister Stephen Harper ranked first. One surprise, however, was Mike Lazaridis not just making the list, but ranking an impressive 10th. Lazaridis founded BlackBerry in 1984 and grew the company into an $80-million worldwide success by 2008, but was equally responsible for the company’s collapse up until he was completely removed from the company last year.

No longer attached to BlackBerry, the man’s claim to importance and power must instead be drawn from his investments in quantum computing. He was the driving force behind Waterloo’s new Quantum Valley and even created a $100-million venture capital firm called Quantum Valley Investments. In fact, given the infinite potential of quantum computing, maybe it’s not a surprise Mike Lazaridis made the list. Maybe Lazaridis, as has been argued before, is Canada’s most innovative entrepreneur.

Ranking 34th is another fellow in the technology space: Jean-Pierre Blaise, chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. In his role, Blaise is responsible for managing Canada’s turbulent and oft-criticized wireless sector, balancing the needs and wants of both businesses and consumers. Important and powerful, indeed.