Launch of the Aerospace Review: Minister Speech

Speaking Points

The Honourable Christian Paradis, PC, MP
Minister of Industry

February 27, 2012

Montréal, Quebec

Check Against Delivery

Good morning, and thank you for joining us here today.

I would like to thank Mr. Brasset for the opportunity to visit this remarkable facility.

It has been a busy three months since Canada's first-ever Aerospace Summit wrapped in November. We have seen a number of positive developments and good news from the industry—from strong international sales to investments in R&D and in our academic institutions.

I'd like to start by saying that it is great to see so many young and promising faces here. This is encouraging because carrying this industry well into the 21st century depends not only on designing new products and strengthening supply chains but also on training the engineers of tomorrow.

There are clear signs that the aerospace sector continues to thrive and remains a vibrant component of Canada's economy, even through difficult economic times.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's no secret that Canada's aerospace sector is a major contributor to research and development, a leading employer and a big-time economic driver for this country. With nearly 80,000 jobs—many in small and medium-sized enterprises—this industry has a large and important footprint in Canada.

And Canada is one of only a handful of nations with a full range of aerospace design and manufacturing capabilities. Our firms are world leaders in advanced technologies. Given the size of Canada's economy, the sector's contribution to the GDP is very impressive.

Needless to say, Canada is a major aerospace player and we want that to continue—and we want it to soar even higher wherever possible. Our government's primary objective is to position this industry for success—for a long time to come.

Our government is working hard to forge successful partnerships with industry and ensure that Canadian aerospace and space firms continue to create game-changing products and compete on the world stage. We are doing this by supporting aerospace research programs at National Research Council Canada, which is celebrating 60 years of aerospace research, funding space robotics and satellite development, encouraging R&D through the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative and securing business opportunities for Canadian companies under the Industrial and Regional Benefits Policy.

But it is our duty as a government to regularly examine the tools we use, so we can be sure they are as efficient and effective as possible.

The Conference Board of Canada anticipates that the increasing importance of emerging markets and the rise in demand for more fuel-efficient aircraft will contribute to considerable growth in the commercial aerospace sector. Aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing and Airbus, also expect growth in civil aerospace. In fact, both companies expect the world's civil aircraft fleet to more than double its current size by 2030.

These represent opportunities that are ours for the taking. So there's no better time than now for us to take a closer look at our approach to aerospace in Canada.

Today, as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan, we are launching a complete review of our aerospace and space programs and policies to ensure that Canada continues to have a strong aerospace and space sector and that we continue to protect the nearly 80,000 jobs that rely on it.

This review will be comprehensive and will explore such areas as:

  • the trends in the global aerospace industry and how they will impact the Canadian industry;
  • the key opportunities and challenges;
  • the sectors' strengths and weaknesses; and
  • long-term goals in support of a sustainable domestic industry.

This is a commitment that we took seriously, and I am proud to say that we are delivering on it. This is also the reason why we are all here today.

I am very pleased to announce that a formidable and very capable individual has accepted the responsibility of heading this exercise. I would like to personally thank the Honourable David Emerson for leading this review. Indeed, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the job.

Mr. Emerson will work closely with the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) and its members to study the key issues facing the aerospace and space sectors—issues like innovation, market access and development, skills development, procurement, and supplier development.

Mr. Emerson will then develop recommendations on federal aerospace and space programs and policies and how best we can fine-tune our partnerships for future success.

A three-member advisory council will assist him with the review. The members of the council are Ms. Sandra Pupatello, Mr. Jim Quick and Dr. Jacques Roy. Together, the variety and breadth of experiences they bring to the table will serve this review well.

The review will begin immediately, and I have asked that a report be completed for our government's consideration by the end of the year.

This work is fundamental. It will inform the framework for cooperation between government and the aerospace and space sectors going forward.

Rest assured that this review will be done in collaboration with the industry, and I will be closely involved as well.

I would like to a take a moment to recognize the AIAC for participating in this review. The government appreciates your support and values our longstanding partnership. I would also like to extend my congratulations to the AIAC on celebrating 50 years of leading one of Canada's most dynamic industries.

Indeed, Canada's aerospace and space sectors are vital components of Canada's prosperity. And taking a close look at our policies now will ensure that our government can continue to provide a winning combination of business conditions so that Canadian companies remain top competitors.

Ladies and gentlemen, our government has been given a strong mandate to focus on economic growth and job creation, and we are committed to Canada's economic success and the future of these industries. We are in this together.

I would now like to invite Mr. Emerson to say a few words.

Thank you.