Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I found that to be an interesting line of questioning. I wrote down a direct quote from Ms. Papillon, who said that Canada is the only developed country in the world that is lagging behind in technology. I never heard that; there's no stat to back that up. I'm not sure what that even means, and Canada is certainly not investing less in R and D. In fact, in the G-7 we have the strongest investments in R and D. It happens that the Canadian business community isn't investing at the same rate, and it's a challenge to get Canadian business to invest in R and D. Certainly the government has a role in creating policy that encourages Canadian business to also invest, but with investments like the Canada first research excellence fund, which is $1.5 billion, we're leading the way, and when you talk to the universities and colleges across this country they recognize that.
Marie, in talking about the Canada first research excellence fund, one of the things we talk about is the idea of an area where Canada is near the top in terms of innovation, in terms of world leadership in a certain area, and taking Canadian researchers to the top, to that world-leading position. It seems to me that as I sit and observe the different areas of opportunity, one of those areas is in nanotech. When I see what's happening at the U of A right now in nanotech, it's pretty remarkable.
I'm going to bridge that to an area of challenge in policy in Canada. That would be pipelines and moving oil and gas, for example. That's a huge opportunity for us as a country if we can figure out ways to do that safely, but of concern to people across Canada is making sure it's safe. Maybe you could talk a little bit about the applications of nanotechnology in that specific environment, because I know there's some great work happening in the Edmonton area in terms of those types of developments.