Mr. Speaker, getting into the substance of Bill C-34, this is an important topic. I do not know whether this legislation really crosses into being an important piece of legislation. Unfortunately, it is another half measure, a poorly drafted piece of legislation. It is going in the right direction, there is no doubt, but I want to give a little context before we break into a piece-by-piece discussion of Bill C-34. I will give a bit of a historical reference.
When we look back over thousands of years, the nations, peoples and countries that innovate the best end up having the most prosperity. They are the ones that drive the world forward. If we look at the Roman Empire, it dominated the world and was a leader in innovation in that era. If we look back to the Industrial Revolution, we saw the prosperity of humanity grow exponentially during that time because of innovation. If we look at the digital revolution, the countries that will dominate are those that take hold of the new world we are entering. They are the ones that will see new levels of prosperity.
Unfortunately, as innovation continues to go forward, Canada seems not to. We see that innovation is growing exponentially. This is not a linear chart; things are going faster and faster. Indeed, when we look forward to technologies such as artificial intelligence, bioscience and big data, these things will have a real impact on our lives. I strongly suggest that the world of my children is going to be a lot different than the world I grew up in, and their children will inherit a much different world.
As the pace of change continues to grow exponentially, governments have to be more agile and quicker to respond than ever. As Elon Musk commented recently, many of these technologies can have tremendous power for good, but they can also pose substantial challenges to our societies and governments. That is why we need a government that is willing to be agile.
For Canada to prosper, we must have a government that is starting to lead the way with respect to innovation and technology. Unfortunately, the government, as we have seen, seems challenged to even keep the lights on, much less to innovate and move forward. As we look forward, we see that the empirical data is coming back over the last eight years of government, and the numbers are not pretty.
Canada has traditionally been a leader in innovation and productivity, yet we are falling further and further behind. We are currently ranked sixth out of the seven G7 countries. That is nearly last in the G7 when it comes to intellectual property. Intellectual property will be the driver of our future economy. It will drive our future of prosperity. It is what manufacturing was to the 1950s and 1960s. It is what agriculture was to the many centuries before. Those who are able to prosper in that area, to conquer the area of intellectual property, will be the ones who win the future.
Canada currently ranks 24th overall with respect to knowledge and technology, which are measured by patents generated. We used to be in the top 10 in that area and we are falling further and further behind.
Canada's issue is not with respect to basic research. We are recognized around the world as being one of the best idea generators in the entire world. We have some of the brightest minds. We have a wonderful diversity of opinion that no doubt comes from our diverse and great population. We have wonderful post-secondary education. We have many different great think tanks and institutions that generate these wonderful ideas.
Indeed, our ideas are generating prosperity. The challenge is that they are generating prosperity in countries other than ours. What is happening is that we are generating these great ideas and, being the generous Canadians we are, we are giving them to the world.
The problem is that they are taking those ideas and selling them back at a profit. Although Canadians are doing a lot of the hard work in coming up with the great ideas that are leading this world and lifting people into prosperity, Canadians are not getting the benefit from that.
Whether it is from sheer incompetence, naïveté or worse, the government does not seem to understand the world we are in today. It does not understand the world of aggressive trade action and of state-owned enterprises. Companies and states around this world, authoritarian regimes, are utilizing Canada's generosity to put themselves ahead of Canadians.
This is not, and we heard this from other colleagues, really a partisan issue. There are people raising the red flags from across the political spectrum. Jack Mintz, a noted economist and free marketeer, is talking about this as an issue, as is Jim Balsillie, founder of BlackBerry and noted expert on intellectual property.
We also have that “random Liberal”. That has to hurt Bill Morneau, right? One day I will be out of this place and I just hope that the next prime minister, Pierre Poilievre, never refers to me—