IN THE HOUSE ~ Question Period ~ Julian calls on the conservative government to increase public investment in R&D program

41st Parliament, 1st Session

Question Period

M. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NPD): Monsieur le Président, la politique de ce gouvernement en recherche et développement fait pitié. Un rapport récent le confirme. Le Canada arrive dernier parmi les pays industrialisés pour le financement direct de la recherche. Il est avant-dernier dans le développement des brevets obtenus et avant-dernier pour ce qui est de la remise de diplômes au niveau des doctorats: échec total.

Ce gouvernement va-t-il réviser ses politiques en recherche et développement pour créer des emplois dans notre économie et pour nos familles canadiennes? On en a un besoin criant.

Hon. Gary Goodyear (Minister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario), CPC): Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise of that question. In fact, no government in the history of our country has put so much investment into science and technology.

In fact, the brain drain that we knew about years and years ago under the Liberals has been reversed under this government.

We now have more fellowships, more internships, more Canada excellence research chairs and more Canada research chairs. We have funding for buildings and equipment.

That is under this Prime Minister, and that is a fantastic record.

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it would be great if it were true, but it simply is not.

On this side of the House we believe in innovation, but let us see the record on the other side.

We see that direct public investment in R & D is in last place in the industrialized world. Patent development is second to last. PhD graduates, second to last. That is the record of the government. It is clear the government does not have a plan.

When will the government stop endangering our economy and start investing in research and development to create jobs here in Canada for Canadian families.

Hon. Gary Goodyear (Minister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario), CPC): Mr. Speaker, first, productivity and innovation have been declining for decades. That is exactly why the Prime Minister came forward with the science and tech strategy in 2007.

Under that strategy, we have invested historic amounts of funding for our universities and incentives for our businesses.

It is true that businesses are not doing enough, and that is exactly why, if the member were paying attention, we launched a panel review into the R & D sectors and our platform of programs. That panel will report in a couple of weeks, and the hon. member should stay tuned.