question period — Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Scientific Research

December 16, 2020


Senator Gold, my question concerns science. I think we can all agree that science is leading us out of the darkness of COVID. We can all see that science matters more than ever. Senator Gold, what we all know is that the role of government in supporting research in science is fundamental.

In countries where science is aggressively supported, such as Germany, the U.K. and the U.S., that’s where science breakthroughs are occurring, where many of the best scientists are being attracted to and it is where the private sector is making investments in science beside government. We have seen this vividly with the development and manufacturing of COVID vaccines.

Unfortunately, Canada is a different story. We have no Minister of Science. Your government did away with that position in the last cabinet shuffle. Indeed, what we have is underfunding of science in Canada as has recently been pointed out by your Industry Strategy Council.

Senator Gold, will your government commit in the next budget to raising the allocation of funding for science from 1.5% to 2% of GDP, as is the case with our G7 partners?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate)

Honourable senator, thank you for your question and for underlining the importance of science and the support for science. As someone who spent much of my professional life in the university community, and indeed in the research community in some respects, I share with you the importance of Canada having a robust and flourishing scientific culture.

This government has made significant investments in that area through universities, research networks and the like and it will continue to do so. I am not in a position to make a commitment as to what will appear in the budget. Once the budget lockdown is over, we will all have details. I have every expectation that it will be a budget that will both please many Canadians and attract vigorous comments in this place.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker։

 Honourable senators, unfortunately the time for Question Period has expired.