2015 Canadian Aerospace Summit

Speech

Speaking Notes

The Honourable Judy Foote
Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Ottawa, Ontario

November 17, 2015

Check Against Delivery

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I am very pleased to be here with you this evening.

This is my first public speaking engagement since Prime Minister Trudeau appointed me Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

It just so happens that your annual summit is taking place two weeks after the swearing-in of our new government, so the timing was right.

But it is more than just a happy coincidence that I am standing before you tonight.

I am here because our Government fully appreciates the critical role that the aerospace industry plays in the Canadian economy, in exports, and in creating jobs.

That it accounts for a significant proportion of research and development in Canada; and that it is a key component of the innovative economy that is essential to our country’s future growth.

For all of these reasons, as our Government moves forward to fulfil our commitments to Canadians, we look forward to doing so in close collaboration with your industry.

Over the course of the last few months, we have been pretty clear about what those commitments are.

Our goal is to ensure that Canada’s Armed Forces have the equipment they need to protect our sovereignty and support peace operations, while also growing local economies.

As well, to ensure that equipment is acquired faster, and with vigorous Parliamentary oversight.

And to ensure value for Canadians through our procurements. In fact, procurement is now part of my title, which reflects the prominent role procurement holds in the department I lead.

I also recognize that a large proportion of Canada’s economy, including the aerospace sector, is driven by small and medium-sized businesses – the backbone of our economy.

Those of you who run these businesses, and indeed all of you here tonight, should know that my mandate letter from the Prime Minister is clear on procurement.

I have been instructed to work closely with industry to ensure that defence procurements are streamlined, fair, effective and transparent – and I will encourage my department to continue to do so.

Our goal is to modernize procurement practices so they are simpler, reduce administrative burden, deploy modern comptrollership, and support our economic policy goals, including green and social procurement.

As the Prime Minister also made clear in my mandate letter, we are required to collaborate with the departments of National Defence and Innovation, Science and Economic Development on an open and transparent competition to replace the CF-18 fleet, focusing on options that match Canada’s defence needs.

Industry consultation will be included in the plans for the fighter procurement, going forward – with a focus on promoting innovation, advancing industrial benefits for companies in Canada, and ensuring best value for Canadian taxpayers and the right equipment to meet the Forces’ needs.

All of this will require close cooperation between the Government of Canada and Canada’s aerospace industry.

This will require engaging in open and honest dialogue with you and with other stakeholders – not only as part of individual procurements, but also in general, to hear industry’s suggestions and concerns.

I will do this as Minister, and I will encourage officials in my department to continue to do so, as well.

We intend to draw on a range of advice, and, as in all of our endeavours, we also intend to take an evidence-based approach to making decisions.

All of this will support efficient and effective decision-making as we move forward in our defence and Canadian Coast Guard procurements.

What our Government is seeking overall is positive and constructive ways to move Canada forward.  We will work with Canadians to build a strong economy and country.

This will involve the cooperation of every sector of the economy, not least of all the aerospace sector.

We all know that defence procurement has the potential to leverage significant industrial benefits.

On that note, I look forward to meeting you individually in the weeks and months ahead.

I am very excited about working with all of you because I believe we all share the same goal of making Canada a better place in which to live, to work and to do business.

Thank you.

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