Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to speak about Canada's economic action plan 2013, which would continue to deliver results for Canadians, keep us in the lead among G7 nations and keep Canada on track to return to balanced budgets by 2015.
One of the ways that we would accomplish that is by creating jobs by building equipment for the Canadian Armed Forces in Canada. We owe it to our men and women in uniform to give them the best equipment possible to fulfill the demands we place on them and to bring them home safely. We owe it to Canadian industry to give it the opportunity to play a major role in that process and develop a stronger manufacturing base with the capacity for leading-edge technology and innovation. Finally, we owe it to Canadian taxpayers to ensure that their dollars are spent for the maximum benefit of Canada in all respects.
Building on the success of the national shipbuilding procurement strategy, the government would better ensure that purchases of military equipment create economic opportunities for Canadians by developing key domestic investment capabilities to help guide procurement, by promoting export opportunities and by reforming the current procurement process to improve outcomes.
The recently released Jenkins Report frames the unique once-in-a-century opportunity presented by major investments in Canada's Armed Forces to create jobs and economic growth, while enhancing Canada's ability to defend its sovereignty.
Many highly industrialized countries have clear strategies to promote their defence sectors, based on a recognition that it is in the national interests to have a strong domestic defence-related manufacturing base that produces leading-edge equipment. For Canada, such a strategy can generate high value exports and support high paying jobs for Canadians.
A key opportunity for doing so is by targeting the $49 billion in industrial and regional benefits obligations that foreign companies are expected to accumulate by 2027 to support high skill and high value opportunities and jobs in Canadian industries. These opportunities would be selected based on the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces, the potential to access global markets and the potential for increasing investments in Canadian research and innovation. Our government would work with industry sectors and stakeholders, such as the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries, to identify areas of Canadian competitiveness and trends in global supply and demand in defence-related industries.
Further, we would ensure that major procurements include a plan for participation by Canadian industry prior to approving the project. We would develop a refined set of key industrial capabilities for use over the long term, and examine how existing policies and programs can be tailored to support a government-wide strategy, while remaining cognizant of Canada's international trade obligations.
In parallel, the government would reform the current procurement process to improve outcomes. This would include thorough and rigorous options analyses, a challenge function for military requirements, early and frequent industry involvement, and strengthened oversight with the use of third-party expertise.
Canada has many success stories to tell in using the purchase of equipment for the Canadian Armed Forces to create jobs and economic growth in Canada.
CAP Inc. sells its products and services to over 190 countries and employs more than 8,000 people. CAE is the world leader in simulation equipment, commercial aviation training, helicopter aviation training, military virtual air training and health care simulation technology. I had the pleasure of using CAE products for many years in one of my previous lives and I can attest to their excellence.
General Dynamics Land Systems Canada , or GDLS, based in London and Edmonton, is a world leader in the design, manufacture and support of wheeled light armoured vehicles, or LAVs. It is a multi-billion dollar firm with over 2,300 highly skilled employees. As a result of procurements and related support from the government, GDLS Canada has generated direct sales of light armoured vehicles in excess of $17 billion over the past 35 years. It has created approximately 500,000 person years of employment in Canada and established a supplier base of over 400 Canadian companies, located in every province.
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the rollout in Edmonton of the first of the LAV III upgrades. Having ridden around Afghanistan a few times in its predecessor, I know that the upgrades will be welcomed by our soldiers.
The $35 billion national shipbuilding procurement strategy, announced in 2010, means jobs and economic growth for the country, stability for the industry and vital equipment for the men and women of the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard. Over the next 30 years, it is estimated that 15,000 direct and indirect jobs may result from national shipbuilding procurement strategy projects, including skilled work in a variety of sectors.
Through this process, our government is helping small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in global supply chains that will result from these projects, creating growth and jobs throughout the country. A good example of that would be the supply of landing gear assemblies on about 4,000 F-35s by Héroux-Devtek of Longueuil, Quebec.
The Government of Canada acts as a first user of pre-commercial innovations through the Canadian innovation commercialization program, or CICP. Through CICP, federal departments test prototypes developed by Canadian businesses and provide feedback to help improve these innovative products before they are marketed to customers. This program is particularly useful for small and medium-sized enterprises, which often find it difficult to find the resources to bring innovative products to market.
Participating companies have been strongly supportive of CICP since it was launched in 2010, and our government will officially launch the military component of the program in the near future.
Canada's aerospace sector is a global technology leader and a major source of high quality jobs, directly employing 66,000 people across Canada. It is among the most research-intensive industries in the country.
The hon. David Emerson, head of the Aerospace Review, delivered his final report to the Minister of Industry on November 29, 2012. The report detailed a series of recommendations aimed at strengthening the aerospace and space sectors in Canada. Our government is carefully reviewing the advice of the Aerospace Review and will take action over the coming year to improve the focus and coordination of programs and practices of relevance to the aerospace and space sectors.
The largest aerospace-specific innovation support program is the permanent strategic aerospace and defence initiative, or SADI, which provides repayable contributions to support strategic innovative projects by aerospace, space, defence and security companies. Since its launch in 2007, SADI has authorized $826 million in assistance to 25 projects, of which $411 million has been disbursed to date. Two examples of Alberta-based companies supported by SADI are SemBioSys Genetics Inc. and AeroMechanical Services Ltd.
We will continue to provide stable funding for SADI, close to $1 billion over five years, and will review the programs, administration and operation over the coming year to ensure that it continues to respond to the needs of this dynamic sector.
Economic action plan 2013 would provide $110 million over four years beginning in 2014-15, and $55 million per year on an ongoing basis thereafter for the creation of an aerospace technology demonstration program. This program would support large-scale technology projects that exhibit strong commercialization potential and promote collaboration among industries, including simulation trials, systems integration testing and refinement activities. A component of the program would support research costs at post-secondary institutions that serve wider industry needs. As recommended by the Aerospace Review, a portion of these resources, rising to $20 million annually, would be reallocated from the strategic aerospace and defence initiative.
We will also launch consultations in the coming months regarding the creation of a national aerospace research and technology network to be led by Industry Canada in collaboration with relevant stakeholders. The network will engage stakeholders and industry, post-secondary institutions and government laboratories to identify strategic technology areas and encourage collaboration in research and development.
The motto of the Royal Canadian Air Force is per ardua ad astra, “through adversity to the stars”. It is not just within our atmosphere that economic action plan 2013 will have effect.
Canada's space industry is a sophisticated research and innovation leader, successfully turning investments in knowledge into a global advantage in several niche areas, including robotics and satellite communications. Canada's space capabilities will be showcased through the ongoing development of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission for which a $706-million satellite construction contract has recently been signed with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates.
Canada's leading role in space is also demonstrated through continued participation in the International Space Station mission and the command of Expedition 35 of the station by Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield. Commander Hadfield has made all Canadians proud and I have been privileged to fly CF-18s with him in the past in Cold Lake and Bagotville.
The Aerospace Review has made important recommendations with respect to policies and programs specific to the space sector, and our government is currently examining these recommendations carefully to determine the way ahead.
Canada's high-tech defence-related aerospace and space industries have a bright future. Our government will continue to encourage growth of Canadian capacity to lead the world. Economic action plan 2013 takes several steps that would enhance that process. I encourage all members of this House, indeed, all Canadians to get on board, work hard and enjoy the ride.