Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Address to the Wireless Canada Technology Showcase

Address to the Wireless Canada Technology Showcase

The Honourable Christian Paradis, PC, MP Minister of Industry
September 20, 2011
Check Against Delivery
Good morning, everyone, and thank you, Bernard and Mark, for that kind introduction. I'd like to first congratulate Bernard and his team at the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association for hosting this showcase of the future of mobile and wireless technology.
Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, the past quarter saw a pause in growth. And certainly, there are continued structural economic challenges facing the European Union and the United States—issues that have an effect here in Canada.

Canada has already achieved a great deal. When the recession hit, our country was well positioned to respond. Our government's fiscal house was in order, our banks were in a position of strength and our resources remained in high demand around the world.
But still, we acted swiftly. Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, our government took direct action early in 2009 to create jobs and protect Canadians during the global recession. This timely stimulus helped give a boost to the economy. And by helping those Canadian businesses and workers most affected by the downturn get back to work, our plan helped create jobs and stabilize affected communities.
Our support for business did not begin and end with stimulus measures. Since coming to office, we have cut the GST. We've offered tax incentives to help families retrofit their homes. We've cut import tariffs on manufacturing equipment. And by January of next year, we will have cut our federal corporate tax rate to 15 percent—the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G7 and less than half that of our American neighbours.
Our work in reducing the tax burden for small businesses is one of our proudest—and more important—accomplishments since taking office. And it's one that the people in this room know the importance of.
In addition to the corporate tax rate, we have eliminated the corporate surtax for all corporations, eliminated the federal capital tax and increased the income limit for the small business tax rate to $500,000 from $300,000.
Our economy today remains on a strong footing. Consumer spending and business investment continue to expand. And, according to the International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, we are on track to be among the strongest economies in the G7 this year and the next.
We will continue to monitor the global economic situation as it unfolds and will take action if necessary. But as my colleague, Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty, said recently, the best course for now is to stay the course.
As we roll out the Next Phase of Canada's Economic Action Plan, we must turn to you and your colleagues—business leaders in communities across the country—to lead.
Our agenda will shift emphasis away from stimulus and toward careful, considered and prudent action with a view to restraining government expenditures.
And part of that prudent action involves lowering taxes and investing in innovation.
Innovation enabled by research and development (R&D) is important not only for our government—it is important for Canadians. A recent poll showed that three out of four Canadians see the connection between R&D and our prosperity.
And surely the percentage must be even higher for that small subset of Canadians who make capital investments for businesses.
So we've established that we all knowthat business must invest in innovation to compete. What's holding back that investment?
To address this, Tom Jenkins from OpenText agreed to chair an R&D review panel. Tom and his expert panel have been asked to delve into how government should support business-focused R&D.
Regardless of the panel's conclusions, it is clear that, for many companies, the path to innovation and new markets will be led by the adoption of information and communications technologies (ICTs) and wireless technologies, like those on display here today.
When it comes to innovation, the wireless sector is part of the solution.
We want to grow more Canadian success stories. We want multinationals to expand their research mandates here. And we want the Canadian industry to move to the forefront of applications.
But we also need to encourage businesses and consumers to adopt these innovations. We need to pick up the pace of adoption. We want to create the conditions in the Canadian marketplace where businesses and consumers take full advantage of the technologies available to them.
Ladies and gentlemen, as leaders in the wireless industry, you know better than most that we are on the frontier of a completely new era of technology.
This year's Showcase is a sterling example of the progress you have made.
Commerce applications that replace your leather wallet with a plastic phone. Applications that monitor patients' health, provide medical history and give a gentle reminder when it's time to take your medicine. Applications that will help reduce the divide between urban and rural, and that advance the well-being of Canadians with physical disabilities.
This Showcase gives us a glimpse into our future and the future of our economy. This is something that we all should celebrate and encourage.
Our government is your partner in this digital revolution. I think everyone here would share our goal that Canada be a leader in the digital economy.
We envision a Canada where our digital infrastructure is on the leading edge and our businesses and consumers are early adopters. Where our workers have the skills to thrive in this digital economy, and our companies are the technology manufacturers and suppliers to the world.
We envision a Canada where our devices and the information they provide us reflect our lives, our values and our culture.
This is our vision for Canada and for the digital economy.
With 97 percent of Canadians having access to high-speed wireless data, and almost 25 million Canadian subscribers, it's clear that we have a good base to build on.
And so, we will be moving our agenda forward this fall in Parliament with the reintroduction of legislation on copyright modernization and privacy amendments. Our legislation will give Canadians the confidence and the full protection of the law that they need to fully engage and participate in this transformative new economy.
In addition, we are working to design and develop the parameters for an eventual auction of the 700 and 2,500 megahertz spectrum bands.
Opening up this spectrum for use allows companies to deliver new innovations and technologies, while everyday Canadians will have more options.
And that is the spirit with which I have come this morning to this Showcase.
We're committed to the wireless industry and the digital economy because we know the benefits they will bring to Canadians in the short, medium and long terms. We will help build Canada's reputation for wireless innovation around the world, including advocating internationally for the allocation of more of the spectrum to mobile broadband.
And we will encourage the adoption of ICTs and greater confidence in electronic transactions.
The faster these technologies come to market and into the hands of Canadians—the faster that Canadians become part of the future, and the more prosperous we'll be as an economy and a people.
I, for one, can tell you that I'm looking forward to that future.
Thank you.

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