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Track Kirsty

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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is science.

Liberal MP for Etobicoke North (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 62% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of the House June 15th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to an order adopted by the House on June 9, 2016, I move:

That the hour of adjournment for the current sitting day shall be midnight.

Science June 13th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, Canada has a rich legacy of scientific achievement. In order to protect and build on that legacy, we need to take a fresh look at how government funds federal science, and to do better.

Today our government is launching a comprehensive review of federal support for fundamental science. We have an expert independent panel that is chaired by Dr. David Naylor. We look forward to receiving recommendations in December 2016.

Science May 31st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Cloverdale—Langley City.

The G7 is a key forum for Canada, and I was honoured to attend as the Minister of Science. While in Japan, ministers committed to international collaboration on global health, oceans, open science, women in science, and youth enrolment in STEM disciplines. These meetings highlight the importance of international co-operation and underline the role of research in helping to address the challenges the world faces.

Science May 11th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, a scientist himself, for that important question.

I am working to promote a culture where young people and the public are excited about science. Last week, I announced the winners of NSERC's PromoScience program, awarded to groups that promote science throughout the year. This week, I have hosted Space Day and Coding Day, to bring the joy of science to parliamentarians.

I encourage all members to check out science.gc.ca for a Science Odyssey event in their community.

Science April 18th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, post-secondary institutions are front-line agents in fostering science and research excellence. That is why we announced last Friday nearly $20 million to 33 Canadian universities. The new SIF fund will improve research and innovation infrastructure at Canada's post-secondary institutions.

As the University of Calgary president Elizabeth Cannon said, these investments “...will support students and scientists with modern labs, green technologies and enhanced capacity for commercialization”.

We are proud to tell the House that the application process is under way.

Science April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. The government is committed to supporting discovery-based science.

Budget 2016 provides $95 million per year to the granting councils to support discovery research, which is the largest investment in more than a decade.

According to the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, these investments demonstrate the government's commitment to making Canada a leader in knowledge production and innovation.

The Budget April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for co-chairing this important caucus.

This investment, particularly in the three federal granting councils, is unfettered money. Under the previous administration, we often saw that the money was tied, but this type of investment is going to allow our researchers to build bigger teams, to take on new projects, and to publish, which is so important.

I will finish by talking about the strategic infrastructure fund. This is available for the universities, colleges, and polytechnics in our ridings. The due date is May 9, and we hope the members will share this good information with the institutions in their ridings, because $2 billion is available.

The Budget April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I will begin by saying that it was a pleasure to teach at the University of Windsor for seven years. I loved teaching at that university. I taught climate change, meteorology, and environment. These are very important issues to me.

I will talk a bit about some of the investments we have made in clean tech.

As I said, there will be two research chairs coming forward in clean and sustainable technology. Some of the other investments made in the budget are $379 million for the Canadian Space Agency, $237 million for Genome Canada, $95 million for the granting councils, and $50 million for the Perimeter Institute, one of the top three theoretical physics institutes in the world. We have made significant investments in universities, colleges, and polytechnics.

I will remind all members of the House that there is a strategic infrastructure program, and they should let their institutions know that the due date is May 9.

The Budget April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it has been a pleasure to work with my hon. colleague.

This is really about building an innovation agenda. We will see increased support for incubators, accelerators, the emerging national network of business innovation and cluster programs, and the industrial research assistance program, IRAP. It will be $100 million in the future. There was an $800 million investment announced in budget 2016.

I look forward to maintaining this close working relationship. This is about working with all sides of the House and building a stronger science and innovation culture in Canada.

The Budget April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Lac-Saint-Louis.

I am happy to participate in the debate on budget 2016.

Our government believes in the importance of scientific knowledge to create a better society. Science plays a central role in a thriving clean economy and in providing evidence for sound policy decisions.

Support for science is an essential pillar in the Canadian government's strategy to create sustainable economic growth.

Science, both fundamental and applied, delivers economic, environmental, health, and social benefits. It creates jobs and opportunities and is at the heart of an innovation economy, but we know science is so much more than that.

Scientists work for a better tomorrow by making exciting discoveries, from aerospace to astronomy, from biotech to clean tech. I would argue that science matters more than ever before, because the challenges we face, such as climate change and shrinking biodiversity, are ever greater.

The government is committed to fostering scientific research and supporting the scientists who carry it out. We are committed to ensuring that sound evidence forms the basis of our investment and policy decisions.

The Prime Minister has asked me to make the creation of a chief science officer position one of my top priorities. This position will be key to ensuring that scientific analyses are considered when government makes decisions, that scientific communication is sustained across government in an effective way, and that the Canadian public has access to the science behind our decisions.

Consultations are now finished with chief science advisers in other countries, the broader scientific community, and all parliamentarians to seek input on what shape this position should take.

We will take the time we need to make sure that we put the appropriate mechanisms in place to do this right.

As Minister of Science, I work diligently to support science promotion and activities to inspire the next generation of leading Canadian researchers while ensuring young Canadians have the science, technology, engineering, and math skills required for rewarding careers in the modern Canadian economy.

I will now turn to budget 2016.

I will start by underlining that this budget is very different from those of the previous decade. The government has defined a new vision in 2016: to build Canada as a centre of global innovation renowned for its science, technology, creative and entrpreneurial citizens, and globally competitive companies offering high-quality products and services. Through 2016 and 2017, the government will define a bold new plan, its innovation agenda, to achieve the vision of Canada as a centre of global innovation.

To become the innovation leaders of tomorrow, we must equip Canadians today with the skills they will need to succeed. Post-secondary and other research institutions are front-line agents in fostering science and research excellence. To ensure these facilities continue to develop highly skilled workers, scientists, and researchers and support the growth of innovative firms, budget 2016 will invest up to $2 billion over three years in a new post-secondary institutions strategic investment fund.

Work is already under way, in consultation with partners, to begin projects quickly. Not only must we invest in spaces that enhance our innovative potential, but we must also invest in Canadian researchers themselves, particularly those on the cusp of new discoveries.

In Canada, this funding typically flows through the three federal granting councils. This year we will provide an additional $95 million for these councils to support discovery research, the highest amount of new annual funding for this purpose in over a decade, and to make sure that federal support for research, including through the granting councils, is strategic and effective, we will undertake a comprehensive review of federal support for fundamental science.

We also want to ensure that we make the most of all the new areas of research in which Canada could excel.

For example, we will provide $237 million to support the pan-Canadian activities of Genome Canada, $50 million to support the world-class Perimeter Institute, and up to $12 million for the stem cell network.

We will also support the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector. A century of farmers and ranchers have together helped feed the nation and today help feed the world. My colleague, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, will deliver on this commitment through investments of $30 million to support advanced research in agricultural genomics in priority areas, including on climate change, and the identification and prevention of biological threats to agriculture.

As a former scientist, I am aware of the risks posed to the health and well-being of Canadians and people around the world by a rapidly changing climate. In the interests of preserving our natural environment, I am pleased to be working with my colleagues in the review and reform of Canada's environmental assessment process to ensure that these decisions are based on science, facts, and evidence. Budget 2016 commits $16.5 million over three years to implementing an interim approach to a federal environmental assessment for major projects until a broader review can be undertaken.

Further to our goal of better understanding the impacts of climate change and improving our capacity to adapt to these changes, I have been mandated to work with the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to examine the implications of climate change on Arctic marine ecosystems. Budget 2016 provides $19 million to gather existing research and traditional knowledge of the Arctic environment and conduct new research where gaps in knowledge exist.

In order to lay the foundation for new technologies and approaches that will help Canada become a low-carbon economy, budget 2016 provides $20 million to create two additional Canada excellence research chairs in fields related to clean and sustainable technology.

We aim to foster the emergence of a strong culture of science and innovation in Canada, one that recognizes the key role of scientific evidence in the important decisions our government makes. The measures proposed in budget 2016 will enable Canada to build upon its science and technology strengths in genomics, stem cells, brain research, and physics to support discoveries that will help to fuel economic growth and position Canada to succeed in the knowledge-based global economy.

The announced funding will flow as quickly as possible in order to reach our post-secondary institutions, researchers, and innovators.

To close, I would like to say that this is an exciting time for science and research in Canada. We are returning science to its rightful place, a place where science and scientists are respected and scientific evidence and advice are given the careful consideration they deserve.