The Honourable Ed Holder, PC, MP
Minister of State (Science and Technology)
April 14, 2014
Check Against Delivery
Thank you, David, for that kind introduction. David has served his constituents and the scientific community well. He is one of the longest-serving chairs of the Industry, Science and Technology committee.
And I would also like to thank President Deane, McMaster University and the Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE) for hosting us today. For those of you who don't know, this building received Knowledge Infrastructure Program funding back in 2009, and it was clearly money well spent. It really looks great.
A special welcome to the members of the Mac Seniors program who are joining us this morning.
I'd also like to acknowledge Mr. Pierre Normand from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm so pleased you could be here for today's important announcement of support for the cutting-edge research being conducted in universities across the country.
As you may know, Canada is ranked first in the G7 for its support for research and development undertaken by our colleges, universities and other research institutes.
Our government is making record investments in science and technology to create jobs, strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life of Canadians.
We will continue to support Canadian research while embracing Canada's long tradition of research excellence. Beginning with Best and Banting, Canada's rich research tradition is being carried forward by researchers like McMaster's own Dr. Salim Yusuf and Dr. Jennifer Heisz.
We, of course, find ourselves today in the laboratory that Dr. Heisz shares with many of her colleagues, but it's also a place many of you from the community use every week to stay fit and healthy.
This unique win-win relationship enables McMaster researchers to undertake research that has a positive impact on members of the community and may also improve the quality of life of Canadians and people around the world.
More specifically, Dr. Heisz's ongoing research on exercise and cognitive health may soon give us a better understanding of the long-term effects of exercise in preventing brain disorders like Alzheimer's. She and her team are looking to establish screening protocols for the early detection of this disease and other types of dementia.
We know this research is of the utmost importance. Many of you here probably know someone who is touched in some way by this terrible disease or other brain disorder.
What's more, as Canada's population ages, the number of Canadians living with dementia is projected to double within a generation, thereby affecting 1.1 million people and costing Canada's health care system in excess of $150 billion.
It is therefore the kind of research our government is proud to sponsor.
Today, I am happy to announce that our government is investing in the state-of-the-art equipment necessary to build Dr. Heisz's Neurophysiology of Fitness Lab.
I am also pleased to announce that our government is investing more than $30.4 million in state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure at 32 universities across Canada.
Right here at McMaster University, six initiatives with the same kind of potential for social and economic benefits as Dr. Heisz's research are also being funded.
Please let me be the first to congratulate you.
Ladies and gentlemen, making sure that Canada's top researchers have the tools they need to conduct world-leading research is a key component of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's commitment to Canadian science and technology.
As Economic Action Plan 2014 demonstrates, our government's investments are positioning Canadians to seize the moment:
- We launched the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, a legacy investment, to ensure Canada's post-secondary institutions remain world leading over the next decade.
- We provided the largest increase to the granting councils in a decade to ensure our researchers continue their groundbreaking research.
- And we committed to creating a social innovation fund that will partner community organizations with colleges to address our most pressing social challenges.
What's more, we are working on a renewed science, technology and innovation strategy, a long-term plan to position Canada as a globally recognized leader in research and business innovation.
Ladies and gentlemen, once again I would like to congratulate all of today's funding recipients, including Dr. Heisz and her team here at McMaster.
I wish you all continued success in your research and look forward to hearing about your accomplishments.