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Track Kirsty

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is research.

Liberal MP for Etobicoke North (Ontario)

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

Statements in the House

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.

Science March 22nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, Canada research chairs is one of the most effective programs for attracting and retaining the most accomplished and most promising researchers in the world.

Recently I announced 305 new and renewed Canada research chairs at over 50 post-secondary institutions across Canada, an investment totalling $619 million, including $28 million at Université Laval in my colleague's riding.

Science March 11th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and I announced an investment of $1.7 million to fund four Canadian studies to reduce the risks to Canadians on long-term missions. The scientific mission will deepen our knowledge of the effects of longer missions, and improve our understanding of the effects of prolonged isolation and physical inactivity. We committed to encouraging scientific research, and we are delivering.

Starred Questions March 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the Minister of Science is developing an approach and will make recommendations to the Prime Minister on the creation of a chief science officer, a CSO, whose mandate will include ensuring that government science is freely available to the public, that scientists are able to speak freely about their work, and that scientific analyses are appropriately considered when the government makes decisions.

Decisions on how the government intends to proceed on the establishment of a CSO have not yet been made. The Minister of Science is currently consulting with key representatives of the research community in Canada, as well as with her counterparts, chief science advisers and officers in other countries, and parliamentarians to gather information to inform the creation of this new position and identify an approach that is appropriate for Canada.

With regard to (b) through (i), as noted in the response to (a), details with regard to the operation of the CSO have not yet been determined.

Science December 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague across the way. We have already met.

I am proud to say the war on science is now over. This government respects research and science and the important work it does. We will work with the scientific community to ensure openness now and in the future.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 19th, 2015

With respect to the Action Plan for Women Entrepreneurs identified in the 2015 Budget: (a) what consultations were undertaken for the development of the action plan; (b) for each consultation in (a),(i) what was the date, (ii) what was the location, (iii) what organizations and individuals were consulted, (iv) which briefings or submissions were included as part of the consultation process; (c) what are the specific components of the action plan; (d) for each specific component of the action plan, how much funding was allocated; (e) what is the development cost of the online platform to foster networking; (f) what is the advertising cost for the “Just One Pledge” campaign to encourage mentorship and championing, and what forms of advertising are being considered; (g) what is the process for identifying women who are looking for mentors, and for linking these women with mentors who have taken the “Just One Pledge”; (h) what follow-up and tracking will be undertaken to measure the success of the program, and when will the reporting of results take place; (i) what is the government's definition of an “enhanced” trade mission, and what funding will be provided for such a missions; (j) what is the selection process for companies led by women entrepreneurs for enhanced trade missions; (k) how many enhanced trade missions is the government planning to undertake, and, for each mission planned, (i) to what countries, (ii) what are the goals; (l) what will be the specific criteria required to access the Business Development Bank of Canada’s financing for women-owned businesses; (m) what consultations were undertaken to develop the criteria for financing, and for each consultation, what were the (i) dates, (ii) locations, (iii) organizations and individuals consulted; and (n) what is the timing for the national forum, (i) how many women are expected to participate, (ii) will financing be provided for travel and accommodation, (iii) what funding is being allocated for the forum?

Petitions June 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, today I present six petitions regarding our most pressing environmental issue and perhaps the defining issue of our generation: climate change.

One petition deals with the science of climate change and five others deal with a few of the projected impacts of climate change, including economic impacts, extreme weather events and rising food prices.

The petitioners call upon the government to accept the science of climate change, adopt a comprehensive climate change plan and help Canadians adapt.

Mr. Speaker, I wish a happy summer to everybody.

Petitions June 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, today I present 10 petitions on chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency.

It has been five years since people began travelling overseas for this treatment for CCSVI. Canadians with multiple sclerosis are wondering when there might be an update on the government's clinical trials and MS registry. The petitioners are asking the government to proceed to phase 3 clinical trials.