May 29, 1984 (32nd Parliament, 2nd Session)

LIB

Rolland Dion (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of State for Economic and Regional Development; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of State for Science and Technology)

Liberal

Mr. Rolland Dion (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of State for Economic and Regional Development and Minister of State for Science and Technology):

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise in the House this evening to answer the question put by the Hon. Member for Richmond-South Delta (Mr. Siddon) concerning the federal Government's commitments to research and technology.
I am pleased with this opportunity to address the House this evening regarding the federal Government's support for research and development and technological growth in Canada. I have no reason to doubt the seriousness of this Government's commitment to increasing research and development, and I can give an example to prove it.
Since the Government set its objectives for research and development spending, gross national expenditures in those areas have increased substantially. In 1979, gross expenditures for research and development represented 1.02 per cent of GNP. The latest figures provided by Statistics Canada show that in 1982, gross expenditures in those areas accounted for 1.29 per cent of GNP and it is expected this will be 1.28 per cent for 1983.
The ratio of these gross expenditures to GNP for the last two years is not as high as expected, mainly because Statistics Canada's previous assessments of GNP were very conservative. Our present economic growth is far more dynamic than was forecast, and consequently, if we express research and development as a percentage of today's expanding economy, it has not expanded to the same extent. Furthermore, some R and D expenditures planned for 1983 did not take place, especially in the sector where spending by the oil and natural gas industry has dropped compared with previous forecasts.

May 29, 1984
Adjournment Debate
Mr. Speaker, I could say more on the subject, but since I have only three minutes, I shall simply add that as far as technological development is concerned, I can assure you that the Government's commitment to investing in research and development is both substantial and sustained, and those must be my last words since my time has expired.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY-MACDONALD COMMISSION'S APPROACH TO CHALLENGE OF TECHNOLOGY. (B) GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT IN RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
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