Government of Canada Invests in R&D Technology for Joint Strike Fighter Program (00623)

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The Honourable Vic Toews, PC, QC, MP
Member of Parliament for Provencher

On Behalf Of

The Honourable Jim Prentice, PC, QC, MP
Minister of Industry

Bristol Aerospace Limited

Winnipeg, Manitoba

September 2, 2008

(check against delivery)

Good day, everyone. Thank you for your kind introduction. I would like to warmly welcome our out-of-town guests to Manitoba on this important occasion.

Winnipeg is a vibrant centre! It's an important regional centre of commerce, industry, culture, finance and government. It's also home to the largest aerospace industry in Western Canada — the third largest provider of aerospace goods and services in our country.

It is a hub for world-class companies that employ thousands of Manitobans in good, high-paying jobs. The industry puts Manitoba on the cutting edge of research, innovation, education and skills training.

A member of Winnipeg's business community for almost 80 years, Bristol Aerospace Limited — a division of Magellan Aerospace Limited — is one of the country's leading aerospace companies. Its commitment to innovation in both civil and defence aerospace has earned the company a good reputation in the global marketplace.

Today, I'm here to announce a repayable investment of $43.4 million in Bristol through the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI).

This investment will support the company in a research and development (R&D) effort focused on advanced composite technologies required for the multinational Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program.

Canada is one of nine countries involved in the JSF program. This U.S.-led multinational effort is dedicated to developing the F-35 — an affordable, multi-role, fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft.

The government's commitment to this program provides the Canadian aerospace industry with access to the largest international defence contract ever awarded.

Opportunities for private sector R&D, such as the JSF program, are essential. But so is ensuring that Canada has the right business conditions to promote innovation.

This is where the government's Science and Technology (S&T) Strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage, plays an important role.

The S&T Strategy seeks to encourage private sector investment in R&D, so that companies can continue to innovate, transforming ideas into wealth and prosperity for Canadians. Making R&D investments through SADI — in the aerospace, defence, space and security industries — is one way the government is doing this.

This investment in Bristol will help the company to develop new processes for composite manufacturing and complex assemblies.

These innovative technologies will push the boundaries of manufacturing precision and tolerances. The result will be new and advanced manufacturing processes and qualifications for the Canadian supply chain.

In addition to its benefits for Bristol, the government's investment will have a positive impact on the Winnipeg region and Canada as a whole.

Composite materials are at the forefront of today's aerospace technology. As part of this project, Bristol will work with the Composites Innovation Centre Manitoba — a partnership that will help strengthen Winnipeg's position as a composite centre of excellence.

The jobs that will be generated through this project will be high-technology, knowledge-based positions. As one of Winnipeg's largest industrial employers, Bristol's highly trained workforce will benefit from being at the leading edge of composite expertise.

Finally, the technological know-how acquired by Bristol through this project will give Canada's aerospace and defence industries a competitive edge. This will be important as the application of these manufacturing processes migrates from the JSF program into other aerospace and defence platforms.

Our commitment to continued excellence in this important sector has also been demonstrated through the Canada First procurement policy.

Our industrial benefits policy ensures that every dollar spent on defence procurement gets invested back into the Canadian economy in high-technology projects. This will bring tremendous opportunities to Winnipeg and communities throughout Canada.

On behalf of my colleagues, I would like to offer my congratulations to Bristol Aerospace on today's announcement. I wish you the best of luck as you undertake this important project.

Thank you.