Mr. Speaker, our government has shown a strong and long-standing commitment to science and technology since the release of the science and technology strategy in 2007. The strategy recognizes the important link between knowledge and the capacity to innovate in the global economy, and more important than having a strategy, we have actually been implementing it, unlike previous governments.
Supporting publicly funded research remains important to this government. Our investments help support world-class Canadian researchers and help us achieve key social goals, such as improving public health, building a strong and vibrant economy, and ensuring a clean and healthy environment for future generations of Canadians.
A recent study by the Council of Canadian Academies has shown the results of our efforts stating that Canada's science and technology enterprise is healthy, growing, internationally competitive and well respected. Our research enterprise is ranked fourth in the world, a resounding endorsement of our government's commitment to supporting science.
Economic action plan 2012 continues to build on this trend, creating a comprehensive and forward-looking agenda that will deliver high quality jobs, economic growth and sound public finances. It builds on our positive record of achievement to help further unleash the potential of Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs to innovate and thrive in the modern economy that benefits all Canadians. By focusing on the drivers of growth and job creation, innovation, investment, education, skills and communities, we will solidify, strengthen and draw upon the entrepreneurial sector's role as the driving force behind Canada's economy.
We recognize that despite high levels of federal support for R and D, Canada continues to lag in business R and D spending, commercialization of new products and services, and productivity growth. That is why we asked an independent panel of experts, led by Mr. Tom Jenkins, to review federal investments in business R and D and provide advice on optimizing this support.
Through its response to elements of the Jenkins panel, budget 2012 also announces a new approach to supporting innovation that will more actively pursue business-led initiatives to better meet private sector needs.
Far from cutting innovation and reducing our ability to compete in the knowledge-based economy, economic action plan 2012 invests an additional $67 million in 2012-13 to support the National Research Council in refocusing its efforts toward business-driven, industry-relevant applied research that will help Canadian businesses develop innovative products and services.
We intend to build on proven approaches used by successful global innovation players, carefully adapted to the Canadian reality.
In addition, economic action plan 2012 doubles R and D support to small and medium sized companies through the industrial research assistance program.
Through these measures, we have taken action because we are committed to turning ideas and innovations into new marketable, competitive and beneficial products that result in jobs, growth and prosperity for all Canadians in the years ahead.
Our government has a plan that we set out in 2007. The real test is not putting out plans but implementing them. We have demonstrated that we are on the right track and we will stay the course in science, technology and innovation.