Introductory Remarks at the Innovation Superclusters Initiative Shortlist Announcement

Speech

Speaking Points

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan
Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

Ottawa
February 15, 2018


Check Against Delivery

Distinguished guests, honoured colleagues and friends, good morning.

Good morning, everyone.

It is great to be here with you today.

Allow me to offer my most sincere and heartfelt gratitude for joining us here at the Canada Science and Technology Museum on this exciting day.

This is the perfect setting for all three ministers from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to join together.

And I’d like to take a moment to pay tribute to my dear friends, ministers Navdeep Bains and Bardish Chagger.

It is such an honour to be here with you and to be united with you in our effort to build a more innovative and forward-looking Canada.

Thank you.

Today’s news touches each of our files in a profound way.

More importantly, our Superclusters Initiative has the potential to profoundly change the lives of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

On the science front, we understand that no conversation about innovation could begin without acknowledging the important role that research plays in getting us there.

As I’ve often said, it all starts with science.

Support for science is the first step that leads us down the path toward innovation.

Our Superclusters Initiative requires businesses and industries to partner with Canadian post-secondary institutions—our outstanding colleges and universities.

By doing so, these superclusters will deliver new and exciting opportunities for scientists and scholars, students and workers who are adapting to the changing demands of the digital economy.

Through this initiative, we will help foster stronger STEM skills in Canada’s youth. Imagine a future where groups of students get to tour some of the state-of-the-art labs, research facilities and industrial work spaces that will house the superclusters.

With this focus on science and research, it is no coincidence, then, that several of the successful superclusters we will announce today have already in some way benefitted from investments we have made in fundamental research.

Looking at the proposals, I can see how the investments in research we’ve made over the years are at the core of these superclusters.

Take for example the more than $1 billion invested through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

Or the many research programs funded through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

And more recently, the $125 million our government invested in the first Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, as announced in Budget 2017.

To me, this speaks to the importance of support for basic research in realizing future economic opportunities.

And on that note, I’d like to introduce my dear friend and my Cabinet colleague who knows this better than anyone.

But before I do, let me take a moment to tell you a bit about the Honourable Navdeep Bains.

He is a father, a friend and a community builder.

As a minister, Nav has established a track record of bringing new jobs and opportunities for Canadians.

He has led on the creation and delivery of the Innovation and Skills Plan, a plan that is preparing our country and our people for the future.

Today’s announcement really represents a coming together of all his efforts, and I’m sure it will end up being a legacy investment for Canadian innovation in the years to come.

And on a personal note, may I just say, Nav, you have always been a strong supporter of science and of my mission to bring science and evidence to the federal table.

I want to thank you for that.

Therefore, without further ado, please join me in welcoming the Honourable Navdeep Bains. Thank you.


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