Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise and address the House this afternoon on the important reforms our government is making in budget 2012. Economic action plan 2012 is focused on what matters most to Albertans and all Canadians, building the right conditions for prosperity today and generations to come.
I want to highlight aspects of Bill C-45, the second budget implementation bill, that support research, create jobs and promote clean energy. Not only do these initiatives advance innovation in Canada and play a key role in achieving the priorities outlined in the economic action plan but they are also critical to who we are as Albertans and Canadians.
We know well that economic prosperity is not a given. It is the fruit of hard work and tremendous imagination. Investing in our students, entrepreneurs and researchers is our strongest guarantee that Canada's future will be bright, that we will break the confining limits of the past and open new opportunities for a long and prosperous future. Indeed, the OECD predicts that Canada's economy will lead the developed world for the next half century.
Since 2006, we have taken concrete steps to make sure that Canada is a global leader in research and innovation, and have invested nearly $8 billion in new funding for initiatives to support science, technology and the growth of innovation firms in Canada, including $5 billion for advanced research, education and training; $2 billion for post-secondary infrastructure; and $1 billion for applied research and financing.
For instance, budget 2012 directs $71 million over four years to further establish the Canada excellence research chairs to attract the world's best researchers to Canada, and over $600 million to support cutting-edge research throughout Canada via the Canada Foundation for Innovation. I am proud to say that the University of Alberta has been awarded more research chairs than any other institution in Canada.
We are confident that our government's support for research commercialization will help bridge the gap between Canadian innovations and the ability to bring these ideas to market. For instance, our economic action plan proposes $440 million to create centres of excellence for commercialization and research to help transform great ideas into concrete success in the Canadian marketplace.
Economic action plan 2012 also targets $470 million over four years to support strategic innovation projects in key sectors of the Canadian economy, including the automotive, aerospace, forestry and clean technology sectors.
Investing in Canadian research and innovation is not only fundamental to developing a robust competitive global economy; investing in innovation is not only about creating jobs and generating economic prosperity, though it does that too, but it is also the case that investing in great minds and pioneering approaches to science and technology affects every aspect of daily life in Canada. I will provide an example.
Marquis, a wheat variety developed at the sunset of the 19th century in Indian Head, Saskatchewan, led to an explosion of cereal production in Canada. The ingenuity of crossing two kinds of wheat to develop a grain that could thrive in prairie climates resulted in a wave felt in communities across the Prairies.
Great Canadian innovations have shaped the course of our history from Marquis wheat to insulin in the 1920s, the snowmobile and the electron microscope in the 1930s, canola in the 1940s, Research in Motion's BlackBerry in the 1990s, and the countless universities and businesses across Canada that are on the leading edge of research today.
While the private sector plays the leading role in research, innovation and commercialization, we know that institutions such as the National Research Council can be important partners in discovering these new engines of growth. This is why the 2012 economic action plan also proposes $67 million to support the National Research Council in refocusing on business-led, industry-relevant research.
Edmonton Centre is home to many world-class research institutions and companies at the forefront of the innovation economy. Earlier this month, I was honoured to join Ceapro, an Edmonton-based biotechnology company, to announce the signing of a letter of intent with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to collaborate in the development of a unique variety of oats. This new variety of oats will enable Ceapro to extract larger quantities of its flagship product, an active ingredient found in oats. Ceapro's team of chemists, biologists and engineers is developing cutting-edge ways of extracting natural ingredients from oats that have health benefits. These active ingredients are then used by major brands in cosmetic and therapeutic products. Ceapro's success, both as a corporate citizen and local employer, is a great example of the multiple benefits that economic innovation brings to communities like Edmonton and, by extension, to the rest of Canada.
Another example of how these initiatives are playing out in innovation capitals like Edmonton is the impressive work of a company named Synodon. Based in Edmonton, the company has developed a system that can remotely detect gas, enabling the monitoring and measurement of methane gas in the Arctic. The funding will allow this technology to be used by Natural Resources Canada to survey the vast Canadian Arctic. Synodon's proposal is one of over 60 that will be supported by the new program, Canadian innovation commercialization.
Public Works and Government Services Canada has been working with selected companies, like Synodon, to build partnerships that allow their innovations to be matched with federal government departments.
Companies, like Ceapro and Synodon, bring with them jobs and economic growth to Edmonton, to Alberta and to Canada. They also bring additional benefits. They advance the very science that the next generation of students will study. They achieve feats of human creativity that set the bar to which students, teachers, scientists and researchers aspire. Technological innovation underpins both the history and the future promise of Canadian economic development.
Budget 2012 regenerates and reinvigorates Canada's capacity to innovate and to play a leading role in global research. The first budget implementation plan, Bill C-38, outlined many of these initiatives. In addition, Bill C-45 also advances our ability to cultivate a competitive clean energy market in Canada.
For instance, through the economic action plan, the government initiated a clean energy fund. This fund is providing nearly $795 million to support research and development projects to advance Canadian leadership in clean energy technologies. This program is already off to a good start. To date, the clean energy fund is supporting two large-scale carbon capture and storage projects in Alberta totalling $150 million. The goal of the clean energy fund is to help create a variety of clean energy technologies and knowledge needed to ensure that these technologies are widely used in the future.
Our government is committed to sustainable resource development in all sectors. Bill C-45 expands the eligibility for the accelerated capital cost allowance for clean energy generation equipment to include a broader range of bioenergy equipment, and phases out the corporate mineral exploration and development tax credit, and phases out the Atlantic investment tax credit for activities related to the oil and gas and mining sectors. These shifts will create a more level playing field for taxation in the energy sector and will support a new generation of clean energy producers.
We will continue to work hard to create the necessary conditions in the economy that will bring new jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. Though we are on track for the Canadian economy and Canadian families, with over 820,000 net new jobs created since July 2009, we will work as hard as ever to honour our commitment to Canadians to be global leaders in economic stewardship. Against the backdrop of a fragile global economy, especially in Europe and the United States, our largest trading partners, we will continue to make economic stability and prosperity a bedrock priority.
The people who gave me the great honour of representing Edmonton Centre expect things to get done here in Ottawa. Budget 2012 and Canada's economic action plan are doing just that. This is not the time to rest on our laurels, to sit back and let partisanship get in the way of delivering results for Canadians.
I would like to speak for a couple of minutes to the nationwide economic benefits of activity in Alberta. Contrary to some recent regrettable remarks by a couple of members opposite, which I will not bother to dwell on, it is the job of Alberta MPs to represent all that our province is and all that it has to offer to the rest of Canada. That is no different from the job of MPs from every part of this country. At the same time, we all have a responsibility to be part of a much bigger picture and that is the picture of Canada.
While the resources in any province are technically the property of that province, Alberta MPs certainly understand that our natural resources are there for the benefit of the entire country. By an accident of geography and geology, Alberta and Saskatchewan have vast reserves of oil and gas to be developed for the national good. By an accident of geography and geology, Quebec is blessed with the capacity of hydro power, British Columbia with forestry and so on across the country. None of these accidents of nature make one part of the country better or worse than any other. What they do collectively is make us the richest country in the world in terms of natural resources. We should all be proud of that and we should all appreciate what each part of our great country offers to the overall good of each and every Canadian.
We should not be practising the politics of division. We should be preaching and practising the politics of unity and sharing a common bright future in Canada that is much more than merely the sum of its parts. All members of this House were elected to strengthen the economy and lay the foundation for jobs of tomorrow.
I am proud of our government's accomplishments to date but there is more to be done. I urge all members of this House to support the budget implementation act and allow it to continue to move forward in carrying out Canada's economic action plan.