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Archived - Launch of the Technology Demonstration Program

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Speaking Points

Launch of the Technology Demonstration Program

The Honourable James Moore, PC, MP
Minister of Industry

St-Hubert, Quebec

September 4, 2013

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Thank you very much for that kind introduction. I would like to thank the school, the students and the teaching staff for welcoming us. These facilities are quite impressive, especially given all that you have accomplished so far and everything that you plan to accomplish in the years to come.

It's well known that jobs and the economy are among our government's top priorities. To that end, today's announcement will lead to the creation of high-quality jobs in the aerospace industry for students of this school for many years to come.

I would also like to welcome some of my colleagues who are here today: Member of Parliament Jacques Gourde, who is also a parliamentary secretary and a leader in our government when it comes to issues related to the economy, and Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, who is a great friend of mine—and of Montréal—and an advocate for Quebec.

And I would like to welcome here the new head of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), retired general Walt Natynczyk, as well as Jim Quick and Suzanne Benoit, who have been strong partners in making Canada's aerospace and space industries global leaders. All Canadians can be very proud of their work in these industries.

In fact, ladies and gentlemen, last June Industry Canada and the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada published a joint study on the Canadian aerospace industry. The statistics are significant. The Canadian aerospace industry is the fifth largest aerospace industry and the third largest commercial aircraft manufacturer in the world. And let's not forget that Canada, in terms of its population, is the 34th largest country in the world. Within our borders, the industry ranks second for the scope of its research. I think you'll agree when I say that these statistics are, in fact, quite remarkable.

The successes achieved by the aerospace industry in this country are meaningful given that this sector includes more than 170,000 well-paying jobs and contributes more than $27 million to the Canadian economy each year. This is a strong industry in full growth, but we need to recognize the opportunities and challenges the future has in store.

Governments, business and academia must indeed work together and more closely than ever before to keep Canadian industry at the leading edge. We have new competition around the world, and we have new needs and new concerns that must be addressed. That's why our government asked David Emerson to review Canada's aerospace and space policies and programs.

We knew that Mr. Emerson's report, which many of you contributed to, would be a catalyst for action. He listened to your feedback. In turn, we listened to him. Your concerns and challenges have been understood and, in November of last year, he presented his report.

In the meantime, Economic Action Plan 2013 set out some initial measures based on the Emerson report, and we are here today to launch the first of these.

Canadian companies struggle to reduce the time it takes to turn a brilliant idea into a marketable product. This is one of the main issues identified by Mr. Emerson. Testing ideas is essential to moving from the laboratory to the marketplace. Ideas can be abandoned quite simply because companies lack the capital and viable technology.

This is an area in which the government can play a critical role, and that's why I'm here today. I'm here to launch the Government of Canada's Technology Demonstration Program. This program, of which I am very proud, will support large-scale projects led by renowned Canadian companies in the aerospace, defence, space and security industries.

These companies are called upon to form partnerships—partnerships including small and medium-sized enterprises established across the country and university research facilities—to help them develop their ideas and put them to the test. In addition to supporting those companies that are in the best position to succeed, this program will contribute to the growth of national supply chains and will foster the transfer of knowledge.

Projects funded through this program are expected to be the basis for next-generation manufacturing and services in Canada. We will support technology development in areas of significant potential for broad-based and long-term economic benefit to Canada. And for those of you who are wondering, today's announcement does indeed come with serious funding.

We're committing $110 million over four years and $55 million every year thereafter to ensure that the Technology Demonstration Program has the staying power to support Canadian industry in the long term. This program officially starts today, and more information about it is available on Industry Canada's website. One thing's for sure, the success of this program will not happen in isolation. Our government is also improving our current policies and programs to ensure that they are relevant to industry.

We're continuing to review the findings of the Emerson report and, with this in mind, we're engaging with industry and provinces on how to best move forward with the remaining recommendations. We're also working on final improvements to the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative, which is receiving an injection of close to $1 billion over five years, as announced in this year's budget. And recently, our government welcomed retired general Walt Natynczyk, former chief of defence staff, as the new head of the CSA. I'm confident that, under his leadership, the CSA will continue to stand among the leaders in the world's space exploration and scientific research.

Increased competitiveness for Canada's aerospace and defence industries is important to us. A concerted effort is crucial to ensuring that Canadian companies are competitive now and in the years to come. That is what this government is trying to achieve in two different ways. The government will continue to favour economic conditions that will benefit these sectors and will continue to promote the innovative spirit that will allow Canadian companies to remain competitive. The government has taken important steps, but much remains to be done.

Over the coming year, we will take more action to ensure companies in Canada's aerospace and space sectors continue to excel. With the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the support of Minister Jim Flaherty, the recommendations from David Emerson's report in both the aerospace and space sectors, as well as the leadership of Walt Natynczyk and Jim Quick, and my support as Minister of Industry, we will work together to ensure that Canada leads.

We will work to ensure that jobs will be created across this country through world sales; that Canada's aerospace and space industries will stand tall and proud; and that we will indeed lead the world with brilliant, young energy in the sector. Through initiatives like this, with financial partners from the private sector and policy reforms from the Government of Canada, we will have an aerospace and space sector that all Canadians will be incredibly proud to call our own.

Thank you very much.

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