Minister of Industry Announces $19.6 Million Repayable Investment in London Jet Project (00583)

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

Diamond D-Jet Corporation

London, Ontario
February 16, 2008

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Thank you for the kind introduction. It is a pleasure to be here today at the Diamond D-JET facility in support of research and development (R&D) by such a forward-thinking company. I am happy to see so many local representatives here as well.

As you know, Canada's aerospace industry is a world leader — employing 79 000 highly skilled Canadians and boasting annual revenues of $22.1 billion.

To ensure they remain on the leading edge of such a competitive industry, Canadian aerospace companies collectively invest more than $1 billion every year in R&D activities.

We all know that R&D is more critical than ever to expanding the frontiers of knowledge and transforming that knowledge into new products, services and technologies. In the aerospace industry, as in all sectors, R&D is the lifeblood of innovation and the key to success in a knowledge-based economy.

This is why I am pleased to announce a $19.6-million repayable investment in Diamond D-JET Corporation's D-JET program. This is the first investment to be made through the new Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI). It is a concrete demonstration of our government's commitment to strengthening Canada's aerospace and defence sectors.

This investment in Diamond D-JET Corporation will support the design, testing and certification of early-stage prototypes of the D-JET, an innovative, all-composite small business jet.

Imagine the potential of such a product. A five-passenger jet, the D-JET is intended for the owner-pilot market. Its limited flight ceiling of 25 000 feet will keep pilots safer and reduce fuel and operating costs.

With benefits including access to smaller and rural airports, fuel efficiency, and high speeds, this aircraft will increase travel flexibility for passengers by giving them more options for getting from here to there. In a new twist on air travel, we are already seeing services such as taxi jets emerging in the small business jet market. Diamond Aircraft's innovative D-JET has the ability to take the lead in this exciting new trend.

Advanced ideas, such as the D-JET, by Canadian companies — not governments — are what create prosperity.

And that is what the government's Science and Technology Strategy, announced last spring, is all about. It is about setting the right conditions for a business environment that encourages private sector leadership in innovation.

We are doing this by developing three distinct Canadian advantages: an entrepreneurial advantage that encourages firms to be innovators; a knowledge advantage that keeps Canadians at the international forefront of research and discovery; and a people advantage that helps Canadians acquire the skills they need to participate in the knowledge-based economy.

One way we are creating an entrepreneurial advantage is through public sector partnerships with the private sector. These partnerships, such as the one created today with Diamond through SADI, leverage private sector investments in R&D. Without the private sector turning discoveries into products, we cannot turn our knowledge into wealth.

By investing in Diamond, the government is showing its commitment to R&D and the important role it plays in Canada's economy.

Diamond Aircraft Industries, part of the Diamond group of companies, is one of London's top ten industrial employers, and this development program will bring significant economic benefits to the region. Not only will it attract foreign investment, but it will also provide highly skilled and knowledge-based employment opportunities.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish Diamond D-JET Corporation continued success. We look forward to the benefits this investment will bring to members of the community, the industry and the growth of Canada's economy.

Thank you.