Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition):
“Honourable senators, the same report called for a number of improvements in the marketing of Canada as a study destination, such as raising Canada’s profile as a destination for advanced scientific research. Unfortunately, many opportunities to support advanced scientific research have fallen victim to government cuts in recent years. Unique scientific research centres in the North, like the PEARL research station and the Kluane Lake Research Station are shutting down because of funding cuts. The world renowned Experimental Lakes Area program, which offered unmatched opportunities for scientists in the world, is being cancelled. Recently, the government has cut nearly 100 of Canada’s top researchers and scientists at the National Research Council and is slashing funding for basic research to focus instead on research dictated by what can be easily commercialized.
If we want to have a credible brand abroad as a top-notch destination for advanced scientific study, does the government not believe that our record on investing in research should match the image that we want to project?”
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government):
“I thank the honourable senator for the question. I would argue that our record does speak for itself. We have invested more in science and technology than any government in Canada’s history. We made important new investments in science and technology in our Economic Action Plan 2012, including new funding for Genome Canada, the National Research Council, the research granting councils and more.
Honourable senators, I know it is difficult to acknowledge this, but this is a fact: Canada is ranked number one in the G7 for our support for higher education, research and development. We have invested heavily to develop, attract and retain the world’s top researchers here in Canada. In September, we announced the 70 recipients of this year’s prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships, a program that our government launched in 2010. This program, for those who do not know, ensures that Canadian postdoctoral researchers have the support that they need.”