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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was fact.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Cambridge (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Science and Technology March 21st, 2013

Mr. Speaker, if it were up to the NDP, there would be no funding for science.

The NDP votes against funding for science at every opportunity. It rejects science anyway. It rejects the science behind the Keystone XL pipeline and the scientific studies that show that bitumen is no more corrosive than comparable heavy crude.

It would be my advice, Mr. Speaker, through you, that you stop pretending to support science and stop attacking Canada and Canadian jobs on the world stage.

Science and Technology March 21st, 2013

Mr. Speaker, the only people in the House who are trying to silence scientists are the members of the opposition. They reject and ignore the science on the Keystone XL pipeline. It is a bit rich to hear from the members opposite when they also reject all of the scientific articles that show that bitumen is not more corrosive than any other type of comparable heavy crude.

When will the NDP stop pretending to support scientists and stop attacking Canada?

Business of Supply March 20th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I have a very simple question. Since 2006, our Conservative government has invested at unprecedented levels in science and technology and innovation, all of which the NDP did in fact vote against.

We have made changes to ensure that our programs meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. My question is simple. Does the member believe that this money has been well spent by our Canadian scientists?

Business of Supply March 20th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I would think that all members of the House would be offended by that member's attack on religion and faith.

Business of Supply March 20th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I know my hon. colleague is in fact a scientist himself and would understand that there is the capability of not actually using the entire lake to do freshwater studies. I am sure my scientific colleague knows that equipment can be set in the lake so that research can be done in a contained area and the entire lake is not exposed to the experiment. I would encourage scientists to consider that.

Business of Supply March 20th, 2013

Actually, Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we do. We use science to make our policy decisions. This is how we make foreign policy decisions and decisions here at home.

Indeed, I would ask NDP members opposite to respect science as they pretend to. The science is in on the safety of the Keystone XL pipeline. There is science that tells us that bitumen is no more of a corrosive product than normal heavy crude. However, the member's leader goes to the United States, ignores all of this science, refuses to listen to the scientists that New Democrats pretend to support, cuts down Canada and puts at risk our economic security and jobs. That is shameful.

Business of Supply March 20th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for that question, because this is a trend that we are pursuing here in Canada. We do not apologize for it. I have travelled around the world. I was just in Belgium a couple of weeks ago. We see them scrambling to get up to where Canada is.

Where is Canada? We have rebuilt our research capacity at our universities and colleges. There are new laboratories and state-of-the-art equipment going into those labs, and brilliant minds from around the world work that equipment in those laboratories.

However, we are pressing and focusing a bit harder on the other end, the commercialization end of all of that knowledge. We have to do both. We are very strong in this country in basic research and we intend to stay there. Where we could do a little better is on the commercialization end of that knowledge. We have an obligation to do that. If we are serious about saving the environment and if we are serious about improving quality of life and saving lives, we must move those discoveries out of the laboratories, build those products in our factories and sell them to the living rooms and hospitals of the world.

Business of Supply March 20th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I first will congratulate the hon. member for taking the file as critic for science and technology. I look forward to working with him. I know he was quite adamant on the environment file, despite increasing greenhouse gases under his party's leadership by some 30%.

I would like to say we will take no lessons from a party that cut funding during the last economic downturn, which was nothing compared to the one we just faced a few years ago. The Liberals cut science and technology funding.

The fact is again we see the member saying things like “PEARL is closed”. That is actually incorrect. This is a building that is open. This is an infrastructure building that the federal government funds. I am not sure whether the member voted for it or against it. I am pretty convinced the New Democrats voted against it.

What we want to do is ensure that the tax dollars we are spending on science and technology, at record historic levels, are spent on the needs of the nation. Those needs change. The world faces different challenges from one year to the next. I congratulate my colleagues for recognizing that fact and that we are building capacity to do research, not just at state of the art but in ways that will change the way our social systems work and will change the economic benefits to society.

Business of Supply March 20th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that especially in the House of Commons, the member do better research than that. In the last budget alone there was an additional $1.1 billion for science, technology and innovative firms.

Business of Supply March 20th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, we could spend the day sending barbs back and forth. I could remind the member that just a couple of weeks ago, Fraunhofer announced that it would partner with the University of Western Ontario. We could also tell the member opposite that this idea about using federal funding as awards to stimulate research in areas of critical importance is very common around the world and has worked extremely well at meeting the needs and the challenges that societies face around the world. This is not in lieu of anything else. It is an idea that we consider to boost our scientific outputs.

It does, however, give me great opportunity to highlight the approach of the Government of Canada to supporting science and technology, which has been a major priority of our government since coming to office.

In 2007 the Prime Minister launched the science and technology strategy, a multi-year strategy, and since then we have made great strides and significant investments to strengthen Canada's advantages.

We are quickly establishing Canada's leadership in many scientific fields. For example, last February, a Canadian team, led by the TRIUMF physics lab in Vancouver, announced the promising news that it had developed a method of making the next generation medical isotope in existing cyclotron. What this means is that we will no longer need to use nuclear reactors. In coming years, this advancement will help hospitals, save time and money and reduce patient wait times and improve treatment protocols.

A few months later, in April, a Canadian scientific team was part of the groundbreaking study that revealed ten distinct types of breast cancer. This discovery promises to make diagnoses more precise and ultimately allow for more effective treatments. We are very proud of saying yes and voting to fund these types of initiatives.

In June researchers at the University of Montreal published their development of a new approach to visualize how proteins actually assemble themselves in a chemical reaction. This could lead to not only a much better understanding of diseases such Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, but it could have wider implications on how the world looks at things such as biomedical basic science.

In September researchers at the University of Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing participated in a groundbreaking experiment that even I find hard to believe. They teleported a particle over a distance of 143 kilometres. This is actually the farthest distance of teleportation that ever happened on this planet. This institute is part of a global effort to develop quantum Internet, which again will be Canadians behind changing the way we do business on the Internet.

Promising advancements are also emerging from Canadian involvement in pure science at CERN, the European Nuclear Research Organisation. Canadian researchers, funded in part by this federal government, were partners in this year's great discoveries, like measuring the intrinsic properties of antimatter atoms and identifying the elusive Higgs boson, an elementary particle in the standard model of particle physics, sufficiently well known to have entered popular culture.

Another significant event that Canadian researchers were involved in that took place in Ottawa just last fall and again funded by the federal government's dollars, was the National Research Council's achievement, which I believe is a major milestone for aviation. In fact, a civil jet powered by 100% unblended biofuel was flown. This is a historic flight that symbolizes a significant step, not only for the aerospace industry but also for the advancement of sustainable sources of renewable energy. That is exactly why, on my side of the House, we vote yes to funding science and technology at every chance we are given.

Our celebrated astronaut, a personal friend of mine, Chris Hadfield, is currently serving as the first Canadian Commander of the International Space Station. We have been delighted for months with his engaging tweets, his humour, his incredible photographs of earth from the International Space Station. In fact, his communications have become almost more popular than the President of the Treasury Board's, if I can send a little humour out there.

These are just a few examples of only the research that made it to the headlines last year. We can take pride in these achievements and we definitely do that, not only as Canadians and members of Parliament, but as members of the global scientific community. That is because science knows no borders. It benefits everyone.

We know that science has to keep up with the frontiers and the challenges that face the globe and our nations. That is why we are focusing on such priorities as the Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg, the Bayfield Institute in Burlington and cleaning up Lake Winnipeg and Lake Simcoe.

I would remind members of the House that just a few years ago, in the midst the worst global economic downtown since the Great Depression, governments around the world were facing very difficult choices, not only for us in Canada, but countries all over the world. They continue to do so in many instances.

We have seen difficult cuts to science and technology spending from many of our peer nations, cuts that have cost scientists and professors in nations, such as England, the United States and many others. In contrast, in Canada, our Prime Minister took an entirely different approach. We chose to invest in science and technology.

The opposition, commonly known in the House as the no discovery party, voted against each and every one of the budgets that contained more funding for research. Now the New Democrats are standing wanting us to support an endeavour that they voted against in the first place.

We have made historic investments in science infrastructure, ensuring that our scientists have state of the art laboratories and equipment. Through the knowledge infrastructure program, we invested $2 billion in more than 500 post-secondary research infrastructure projects all across the country.

We did this when jobs were needed the most, but the NDP voted against this $2 billion, which went on to be leveraged by the provinces, the private sectors and the institutions to total over $5 billion. These are good quality jobs for our construction sector when they need it most and laboratories and research capacities for our scientists today and tomorrow.

We know that investments in science and technology and innovation create those high-quality and value-added jobs. They grow our economy and are fundamental to the long-term prosperity of the country.

However, the opposition rejects science when it is not convenient. For example, the NDP leader recently went to the United States and attacked the Keystone XL pipeline, when science has said it is supportable. The New Democrats attack it when it is not convenient for them.

We continue to strengthen research infrastructure through organizations such as the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. Over the years, we have given them over $1 billion to put state-of-the-art equipment into their new laboratories and facilities. Of course, the NDP voted against that as well.

I would like to mention for the NDP that the $2 billion in the knowledge infrastructure program was a stimulus project. It was for two years and it ended. The member takes that information, twists it and suggests that it has been cut. It was a temporary program. The definition of temporary is that it comes and we bump up the expenditure. When it ends, and it has done its job remarkably well, that expenditure is not in the funding. However, the NDP twists those facts.

One fact that the New Democrats continue to ignore is that since 2006, when this government came to office, we have increased science and technology by $8 billion in new dollars. We have made significant investments in basic science and scientific research at colleges and universities across Canada.

Do not just listen to me. The OECD has said that Canada ranks at the top of the G7 in higher education expenditures on R and D as expressed as a percentage of our GDP. Our government is committed to building on these significant achievements. One of the ways we are doing that is through government programs that connect Canadian researchers and institutions to the international community to strengthen Canada's world-class research talent and reputation.

We have programs such as the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships and the Canadian Excellence Research Chairs program that ensure that the brightest minds on the planet want to come to Canada, the brightest minds who are already here want to stay here and we have the ability to train the next generation brightest minds.

The Canada Excellence Research Chairs is a $10 million program over seven years. It is the most generous program on the planet. That is exactly why we have a brain gain in the country, despite what one might hear from the opposition.

We are delivering programs that enhance collaboration as well among the private and public sectors, programs such as the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research, the College and Community Innovation Program, Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence and the Industrial Research and Development Internships program. These build industry and academic connections that lead to new products and new processes that will lead to new and better jobs and economic strength.

Our efforts are clearly making a difference. In a highly competitive global environment, where innovation cannot lag behind and collaboration matters more each day, we cannot stay constantly with what we have done in the past, but must look to the future and organize our scientific endeavours with that in mind.

Perhaps the Leader of the Opposition can take notes on this fact and share some of the following scientific facts on his next field trip outside Canada, rather than propaganda that costs Canadians jobs and security.

Last fall, the Council of Canadian Academies, an independent study group, released a report showing that Canadian science and technology was healthy. It is growing and it is recognized around the globe for its excellence, not in Canada or outside Canada by the NDP, but by the top scientific researchers around the world. They ranked Canada's science and technology as fourth in the world, only behind the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. It was not fourth as a percentage of our population or as a percentage of our GDP, but in absolute terms. They also said that with less than 0.5% of the globe's population, Canada produced more than 4% of the globe's scientific papers and nearly 5% of the world's most frequently cited papers.

Canada clearly is punching above its weight in scientific expertise. Our reputation is helping to further strengthen that and our position and we do not expect or desire to lose that momentum.

Canada has become a powerful magnet for high-quality researchers from abroad. We are pleased that researchers come to Canada to do their work and our researchers go to their nations. That is part of the ongoing ebb and tide of international scientific co-operation. We do not just force our scientists to stay here, we share them with the rest of the world and the rest of the world shares theirs with us.

That is why we will see a change of scientific numbers in Canada, but the bottom line is, as pointed out by many of the researchers, Canada has become a powerful magnet for high-quality researchers from around the world.

Unlike the opposition, our government is extremely proud of the world-class work that our scientists and researchers do. We value and support the important work they do every day. We rely on the critical knowledge that they produce to help us form public policy and meet the needs of Canadians, not just today, not necessarily yesterday, and certainly tomorrow.

Our government employs and supports scientists and researchers in countless capacities. In 2011-12 alone more than 20,000 scientific and professorial personnel worked for the federal government, including some 7,000 engaged in research and development.

The exemplary work of these individuals helps us achieve key social goals, such as improving public health, ensuring safety of foods and products, building strong and vibrant economies all across the nation and ensuring a clean and healthy environment for future generations.

As a government, we understand that for these benefits to be fully realized, research findings must be effectively communicated and shared with Canadians. On federal science, as with all matters, the government's policy is to provide the public with clear and objective information about policies, programs and services, and there are many avenues through which this can happen.

For example, each year scientists at federal departments and agencies produce thousands of peer-reviewed articles, research reports and data sets that are available to other scientists, to Canadians and to other scientific communities around the world.

For example, Environment Canada participated in more than 1,300 media interviews. In 2010, its scientists published 524 peer-reviewed journal articles. In 2012, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada issued 1,142 peer-reviewed scientific publications and 711 non-peer-reviewed publications. In 2010, NRCan published 487 scientific publications.

These are just a few of the numerous departments and agencies that actively share their research. The numbers show that this government not only stands behind its scientists and supports them in their work but also makes the data they generate available to Canadians and makes more data available to Canadians than ever before.

In recent years the government has also unveiled new measures to increase Canadians' access to federally funded scientific data.

For example, in 2012 the government enacted changes providing Canadians free access to Statistics Canada's main socio-economic database, CANSIM. Another example is the government's action plan on open government, led by the President of the Treasury Board.

Open government is based on three core initiatives: open data, open information and open dialogue.

Open data is about offering government data in a useful format. It allows citizens, the private sector and non-governmental organizations to leverage government data in innovative new ways. Open information is about proactively releasing information on government activities to Canadians on an ongoing basis. Open dialogue is about giving Canadians in an online community a stronger say in the development of government policies and so on.

Through this initiative, the federal government launched its open data portal, a one-stop shop for federal government data that can be downloaded free of charge by Canadian citizens, researchers, voluntary organizations, private sector business, and the list goes on and on. In fact, the portal features thousands of government data sets now freely available to the public.

We have also put in place initiatives to share federal scientific knowledge directly with Canadians. That can be found at the website

These communication initiatives play an important role in our government's science and technology strategy, and it is through this strategy that we have redefined the way governments, business people and the research community band together and work together to drive economic activity through science.

We are working to bring the private, public and academic sectors together for the benefit of all Canadians. Why? It is because, as the Prime Minister has often said, science powers commerce. By moving this data out of our laboratories onto our factory floors and out to the living rooms and hospitals of the world, we will not only achieve more jobs and economic growth here, and a better quality of life, but we will also help people around the world do exactly the same thing.