Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak on Bill C-46, the Department of Industry Act.
Our nation faces many challenges. Canada can no longer rely solely on its natural resources. The demands of the future cannot be met by supplies of the past. We must develop in ourselves and in our industries the skills needed to challenge the conventional ways of competing at home and abroad.
The competition we face abroad requires us to create new skills among our workforce and a new vision in our industry. A country that solves its own problems and competes successfully with others stays strong and independent. We must begin competing as a team against our international competitors.
This bill will allow the formation of a framework with which we can begin to build Canada's industrial strategy.
The newly created Department of Industry will work with all sectors of the economy to facilitate partnerships between government, business, research centres and labour. An industrial strategy will enable us to better compete in the global marketplace.
We must also foster a climate to encourage Canadians to develop an entrepreneurial spirit that harnesses their skills and creativity. As we know, small and medium sized businesses are the engine of our economy and that is why they must be an integral part of a national industrial strategy.
The small and medium sized businesses of today with the right climate can become tomorrow's multinationals. In order for us to achieve economic growth we must use our limited resources more effectively to encourage entrepreneurs to create the wealth by becoming innovative and helping to expand our export economy.
Canada's exports account for about 40 per cent of the total output of the private sector. One in five Canadian jobs is directly dependent on exports. One billion dollars of exports translates into 15,000 new jobs. That is why the government is aggressively pursuing international trade opportunities.
The creation of this department will help set the framework of achieving the government's objectives, the creation of jobs and economic growth by encouraging businesses, labour and institutions to work together in setting goals and striving to achieve them.
This will enable us to achieve a stronger economy and a better standard of living for all Canadians. Canada already is home to companies that are at the leading edge in their field such as telecommunications, biotechnology, environment and health care, et cetera.
What we must do is facilitate the greater success of these industries in an ever competitive international climate by ensuring that the environment here at home is conducive to the continued achievement of excellence.
Through business networks our government has initiated the sharing of information among diverse sectors of the economy, enabling them to compete internationally, such as the business corporation network which enables Canadian firms to access thousands of partnering opportunities in 36 countries.
Another example is the advisory council made up of diverse business interests working together on the development of the information superhighway, not only for internal use but also for the export market.
We must also improve the efficiency of our industries by allowing them to compete more effectively within our borders. Canada is hampered by many internal trade barriers. The cost of these barriers to Canadians is as high as $6 billion annually.
The Minister of Industry, working in co-operation with his provincial counterparts, has already begun and continues to reduce these barriers to assist the free mobility of goods and services.
Without the innovations of basic research industry will stagnate. Countries such as Japan, Germany and the U.S. spend a far greater proportion of their GDP on research and development than does Canada. To compete internationally we must use our limited resources by working smarter in partnership with existing institutions in the private sector to find new technologies that can be applied and marketed both internally and abroad.
With this bill we will fulfil our responsibility as co-ordinators of the vital relationship between research and industry and promote the fullest use of science and technology from the conception of an idea to its fruition in the international marketplace.
In order for the government to continue to strengthen its support of basic research and its industrial applications we must be able to obtain royalties from research that succeed in being used in the industrial applications in order that these moneys can be reinvested in future research.
Small and medium sized enterprises must be in a position to obtain and capitalize on the innovations of Canadians as they develop these new technologies. Our government will continue to streamline programs to assist the small and medium sized enterprises to foster these new technologies.
In order for these small and medium sized enterprises to succeed access to capital is vital. Along with the reduction of red tape and the burden of the GST our government has already begun the process of streamlining programs and eliminating
some of these obstacles that impede the growth of small and medium sized enterprises.
We must encourage competition among financial institutions to ensure that we give our SMEs as much access to capital as possible. Along with these initiatives our government has increased funding to and the role of the FBDB which will play a more active role in aiding our small and medium sizes enterprises.
As a member of the industry committee I studied the issue most critical to the SMEs which is their inability to access capital. We will putting forward our recommendations tomorrow. Along with those recommendations that will be tabled tomorrow I will be making an additional recommendation to my caucus and colleagues which is to encourage the chartered banks to achieve a target of lending to small and medium sized enterprises of 33 per cent of the total corporate loans, a ratio of one to two; that is, for every two dollars lent to large businesses one dollar should be lent to small and medium sized enterprises.
If the banks comply with this recommendation the capital available to the small and medium sized enterprises will increase from $30 billion to $45 billion, an increase of 50 per cent. Two banks are already achieving this target on their own.
The industry act will help our business become more innovative, efficient and be armed with enough capital to compete internationally. We must take advantage also of our well established international reputation to take Canadian business to the world and also to bring the world to Canada.
Our tourist industry already accounts for more than 500,000 full time jobs and more than 60,000 enterprises. Last year visitors to Canada contributed $9 billion in foreign exchange to our economy and Canadians added a further $18 billion while travelling within the country.
A national tourism strategy will be undertaken with the public and private sectors to restructure and improve Canada's tourism. A comprehensive marketing program both domestically and abroad will help reduce the $8.2 billion travel account deficit as well as improve industry competitiveness.
My constituents of Trinity-Spadina are looking forward to this revitalization of tourism. We must market Canada to the people of the world with pride and invite them here so that they can share with us the beauty our country has to offer. I believe this bill will enhance the streamlining required to make Canada's industries competitive in the global marketplace.
The framework is set to establish a comprehensive industrial strategy which will allow our governments to be the catalysts in achieving our common goals. By helping to co-ordinate these partnerships we will stimulate economic growth and at the same time reduce the deficit and increase the standard of living for all Canadians.