The Honourable Ed Holder, PC, MP
Minister of State (Science and Technology)
June 23, 2014
Check Against Delivery
Thank you, Colin, for that generous introduction. Colin has been a good friend and strong advocate of our host today, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
I would like to thank President McTiernan and his staff for hosting us.
I would be remiss if I did not also mention the contribution that my late colleague, Jim Flaherty, made in championing this institution. Jim called this university "forward-looking."
Being here today, it's easy to see why. Your commitment to educating and nurturing the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math—or STEM—grads, to investing in state-of-the-art labs, and to developing partnerships that extend from campus to the business park is greatly appreciated by our government.
In 11 short years, UOIT has managed a long list of accomplishments including 11 Canada Research Chairs, one of whom is with us today. Dr. Chris Collins, would you please wave your hand. Dr. Collins is the university's newest Canada Research Chair in Linguistic Information Visualization and is developing new applications to help quickly sort through large volumes of text in an effort to address the growing concern of information overload. Congratulations to you and your team, Dr. Collins.
Right across the country, there are young Canadians who are eager to unlock the mysteries of the night sky, understand what causes an earthquake or learn how to build their very own robot.
How we feed and engage that scientific curiosity is important to our children developing a better sense of wonder, appreciation and understanding of the world around them.
But it is also critical in spawning the next generation of geologists, civil engineers, computer scientists and mathematicians—the talented researchers who will make the scientific breakthroughs that Canadians rely on to create jobs and prosperity and improve our quality of life.
That's why I am very pleased to announce today that, through NSERC's PromoScience Program, our government is making a significant investment in 59 science camps and science outreach programs across the country to encourage young Canadians to develop a greater interest in the STEM disciplines.
Through PromoScience, we are supporting projects like those led by UOIT's own Dr. Qusay Mahmoud, who will encourage young Canadians to go from active consumers of mobile technology to active creators of mobile technology.
Using open source software and mobile technology, Dr. Mahmoud will host hands-on workshops to teach high school students how to develop mobile applications.
The workshops will empower students to develop apps that are relevant to them and, in the process, will encourage innovation and social entrepreneurship in the students.
Considering pioneers such as Mark Zuckerberg have shown an incredible amount of talent at a young age, it is not hard to imagine that innovative and popular applications like Instagram, WhatsApp or Angry Birds could be built in a high school near you.
The next Dr. Collins could be attending Dr. Mahmoud's workshop this fall.
Ladies and gentlemen, ensuring that our children are passionate about the STEM disciplines 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 record investments are positioning Canadians to seize the moment:
- We created 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.
Before I go, I would like to offer my congratulations to Dr. Mahmoud, UOIT and all of this year's PromoScience recipients and commend you for your commitment to inspiring young Canadians to develop passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.