Minister of Industry Invests in Innovative Research and Development Projects for Emergency Services (00665)

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Speaking Points

The Honourable Tony Clement, PC, MP
Minister of Industry

Norsat International Inc.

Richmond, British Columbia
January 15, 2009

(Check Against Delivery)

Good morning.

Thank you for joining me today in Richmond to support a home-grown, leading-edge Canadian company — Norsat International Inc.

It's no secret that private sector investment in research and development (R&D) is crucial for bringing ideas to the marketplace. Successful companies know that to remain competitive in today's economy, they must innovate and bring new ideas to market.

Canada's defence industry supports approximately 25 000 jobs across the country and generates about $5 billion annually in sales. This could not have been achieved without major investments by companies in new concepts and advanced technologies.

Norsat is one such company. From its first satellite prototype in 1977 to its modern portable satellite systems, now deployed all over the world, Norsat has become a leader in this domain by continuing to think two or three steps ahead. This kind of leadership deserves our support.

I am pleased to be here today to celebrate the Government of Canada's $5.97 million repayable investment in Norsat for the development of next-generation portable ground satellite technologies — an investment made through the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative.

This investment will help Norsat to expand upon its current capabilities in satellite technology in order to enhance its systems' portability, reliability and effectiveness in the challenging environments in which they operate.

Norsat products are used by telecommunications services providers, public safety and emergency services professionals, homeland security agencies, military organizations, health care providers, and news organizations around the world.

This is a small company doing big things! With a total workforce of only 40 people, Norsat and its forward-thinking team demonstrate the qualities needed in a fast-paced, knowledge-based economy.

Canada needs more companies like Norsat.

This is exactly why the government has created its Science and Technology Strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage.

Our Strategy focuses on setting the right business conditions to encourage Canadian companies to be innovators.

Our nation's prosperity depends not just on meeting the challenges of today, but also on looking into the future for opportunity and building a dynamic economy that will create opportunities and better jobs for many years to come.

You can say many things about our government, but we understand that scientific advances, innovation and commercialization are essential to strengthening Canada's economy.

The Canadian manufacturing sector, particularly the automotive and aerospace industries, are under increasing strain. We recognize the importance of our Canadian manufacturing sector — and the challenging financial conditions and global competitiveness it faces.

Sound economic management, tax relief and strategic investments will help the Canadian manufacturing sector remain competitive.

Our government is implementing specific measures to strengthen the auto, aerospace and defence industries. That is why we are here today; your government is investing in the innovation that you will bring to market.

To reduce the cost pressures on Canadian business, our government will take measures to encourage companies to invest in R&D so that Canadian companies can continue to innovate and prosper.

The Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative supports companies undertaking R&D in the aerospace, defence, security and space industries. This funding helps to leverage additional private sector R&D investments. With the private sector turning discoveries into products, we can turn knowledge into wealth.

Collaboration between universities and the private sector is also essential. During this project, Norsat will partner with Simon Fraser University. Graduate engineering students will undertake the research on, and design of, various components of the project.

Not only does this promote technology transfer, but more importantly, it also offers training and development opportunities for students. Together we are helping Canada to build a workforce of highly qualified engineers and scientists.

The Government of Canada recognizes the world-class ability of our aerospace and defence industries to conduct innovative R&D. This investment in Norsat demonstrates the government's commitment to continued excellence in these important industries.

On behalf of my colleagues, I would like to wish Norsat the best of luck on this project and in its future endeavours.

Thank you.