Superclusters announcement closing remarks


Speaking Notes

The Honourable Bardish Chagger, PC, MP
Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Ottawa, Ontario
February 15, 2018

Check Against Delivery

Thank you, Sophie [Forest, emcee].

What an impressive group of finalists!

That was an inspiring discussion. Thank you to all who submitted questions.

It’s a privilege to join ministers Bains and Duncan and all of these impressive people here for this amazing announcement.

Minister Duncan highlighted the important role that academic institutions—and scientific research more broadly—will play in driving the innovation and discoveries that superclusters will unleash.

And, of course, Minister Bains and the panelists were excellent in emphasizing the transformative impact these superclusters will have on our economy and on Canada’s standing as a world leader in innovation.

We expect that more than 50,000 jobs will be created! That’s amazing.

These are the kinds of well-paying jobs of the future that are so important for our continued growth.

However, that’s only half the story.

As the Minister of Small Business and Tourism, I’m particularly interested in the critical role Canadian small businesses will play in each supercluster.

Taken together, these five superclusters will involve more than 300 Canadian small and medium sized businesses.

And for them, the positive effects will be transformational.

Just think. That’s 300  business owners who will now be able to draw on the scale, market reach and expertise of the larger companies that are anchoring these superclusters.

It’s also a two-way street.

These large anchor firms—as well as partner academic institutions—will also benefit from the nimble leadership and innovative thinking that our small businesses are known for.

I have to say though, that—as great as this news is—what makes this project truly special is that all successful applicants behind these superclusters have made a commitment to gender balance and diversity.

This is especially meaningful to me, as a member of Canada’s first feminist, gender-balanced Cabinet.

This is a long-overdue but still very much welcome priority.

We know that just over 16 percent of small businesses are owned by women and that an even smaller portion of those export. That’s far too low!

Today’s announcement will make a meaningful contribution to addressing this persistent imbalance.

What makes these five finalists so impressive is not just their commitment to supporting women-led companies and their commitment to gender diversity.

It’s also their commitment to supporting under-represented groups, particularly Indigenous communities across Canada.

As Prime Minister Trudeau has said, Canada’s diversity is our strength.

And for innovation to truly flourish, we need this diversity—of background, culture, experience and gender.

Many of these superclusters have proposed measures to include Indigenous peoples in their activities. This includes designated seats on boards, plans to invest in Indigenous talent development, and more.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that today marks the start of a new chapter for our modern economy and Canada’s middle class.                 

These five superclusters will help keep Canada as a world leader in innovation.

And the technologies and ideas they will produce will transform our world and improve our quality of life.

This is not just a Canadian endeavour; these superclusters will also have global reach.

In the years to follow, this initiative will create well-paying jobs, give rise to new and groundbreaking products and solutions, and put Canada front and centre in the global innovation race.

That’s great news—for our economy, for Canada and especially for Canadian small business owners.

Thank you for coming, and have a great day.

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