Morneau sees Waterloo Region as model for ‘innovation agenda’

News Apr 08, 2016 by Brent Davis Waterloo Region Record

WATERLOO REGION — It's no secret that federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau likes what he sees in Waterloo Region.

Delivering his budget speech last month, Morneau praised the region's "brilliant, innovative minds and companies" and said it was a model Canada must build on going forward.

On Thursday, Morneau reiterated that goal and touted budget highlights as he visited the region, speaking to entrepreneurs at Communitech and fielding questions from students at the University of Waterloo.

"We identified this area as an area that marks the kind of Canada that we want to have, a place that can be innovative, a place that can build communities of innovative and entrepreneurial people," he said.

"Our plan over the next 10 years is to reinvest in our country in a way that is going to be historic," he said at Communitech. "We will create a new and bold innovation agenda."

An $800-million fund will be focused on improving innovation across the country, identifying organizations and universities in areas that could foster a cluster similar to the one that exists in Waterloo Region, Morneau said.

"We'll be trying to develop what's happened here organically," he later told the audience at the University of Waterloo.

The budget also provided for an investment of up to $2 billion over three years in a new post-secondary institutions strategic investment fund.

Up to $3.4 billion in cash will be invested in federal infrastructure over the next five years, including about $140 million to support science, research and innovation through improvements to federal labs and other facilities.

The federal government plans to invest more than $120 billion in infrastructure in the next decade.

Asked whether federal infrastructure funds would be used to improve rail links between Toronto and Waterloo Region, Morneau said he recognizes the importance of that corridor.

"We will be thinking about how we can work together with the provinces and municipalities in order to enhance public transit," he said. "We don't have anything to announce in that regard."

During their recent trip to California, local mayors spoke of a desire to attract Canadians working in Silicon Valley back to pursue their careers here.

"Talent has to be a very critical part of (our innovation agenda)," agreed Morneau.

"If we can have an economy that's successful, we can have the kind of growth that we hope to have in this country," he said. "That's what attracts people to come here."

Morneau also said that Canada must have immigration rules that both attract people and allow them to stay once they're here.

During the session at the university that was broadcast live on Facebook, Morneau took questions on a wide range of topics, from budget transparency to assisting an aging population.

Asked how the government can justify the burden of debt being placed on a younger generation, Morneau insisted a low interest rate, low growth environment makes this the time to invest in education and infrastructure.

"Taking fiscal measures right now is the right approach," he said. "It's about generating net growth, and that's really what's most important for young people."

bdavis@therecord.com , Twitter: @DavisRecord

Morneau sees Waterloo Region as model for ‘innovation agenda’

News Apr 08, 2016 by Brent Davis Waterloo Region Record

WATERLOO REGION — It's no secret that federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau likes what he sees in Waterloo Region.

Delivering his budget speech last month, Morneau praised the region's "brilliant, innovative minds and companies" and said it was a model Canada must build on going forward.

On Thursday, Morneau reiterated that goal and touted budget highlights as he visited the region, speaking to entrepreneurs at Communitech and fielding questions from students at the University of Waterloo.

"We identified this area as an area that marks the kind of Canada that we want to have, a place that can be innovative, a place that can build communities of innovative and entrepreneurial people," he said.

"Our plan over the next 10 years is to reinvest in our country in a way that is going to be historic," he said at Communitech. "We will create a new and bold innovation agenda."

An $800-million fund will be focused on improving innovation across the country, identifying organizations and universities in areas that could foster a cluster similar to the one that exists in Waterloo Region, Morneau said.

"We'll be trying to develop what's happened here organically," he later told the audience at the University of Waterloo.

The budget also provided for an investment of up to $2 billion over three years in a new post-secondary institutions strategic investment fund.

Up to $3.4 billion in cash will be invested in federal infrastructure over the next five years, including about $140 million to support science, research and innovation through improvements to federal labs and other facilities.

The federal government plans to invest more than $120 billion in infrastructure in the next decade.

Asked whether federal infrastructure funds would be used to improve rail links between Toronto and Waterloo Region, Morneau said he recognizes the importance of that corridor.

"We will be thinking about how we can work together with the provinces and municipalities in order to enhance public transit," he said. "We don't have anything to announce in that regard."

During their recent trip to California, local mayors spoke of a desire to attract Canadians working in Silicon Valley back to pursue their careers here.

"Talent has to be a very critical part of (our innovation agenda)," agreed Morneau.

"If we can have an economy that's successful, we can have the kind of growth that we hope to have in this country," he said. "That's what attracts people to come here."

Morneau also said that Canada must have immigration rules that both attract people and allow them to stay once they're here.

During the session at the university that was broadcast live on Facebook, Morneau took questions on a wide range of topics, from budget transparency to assisting an aging population.

Asked how the government can justify the burden of debt being placed on a younger generation, Morneau insisted a low interest rate, low growth environment makes this the time to invest in education and infrastructure.

"Taking fiscal measures right now is the right approach," he said. "It's about generating net growth, and that's really what's most important for young people."

bdavis@therecord.com , Twitter: @DavisRecord

Morneau sees Waterloo Region as model for ‘innovation agenda’

News Apr 08, 2016 by Brent Davis Waterloo Region Record

WATERLOO REGION — It's no secret that federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau likes what he sees in Waterloo Region.

Delivering his budget speech last month, Morneau praised the region's "brilliant, innovative minds and companies" and said it was a model Canada must build on going forward.

On Thursday, Morneau reiterated that goal and touted budget highlights as he visited the region, speaking to entrepreneurs at Communitech and fielding questions from students at the University of Waterloo.

"We identified this area as an area that marks the kind of Canada that we want to have, a place that can be innovative, a place that can build communities of innovative and entrepreneurial people," he said.

"Our plan over the next 10 years is to reinvest in our country in a way that is going to be historic," he said at Communitech. "We will create a new and bold innovation agenda."

An $800-million fund will be focused on improving innovation across the country, identifying organizations and universities in areas that could foster a cluster similar to the one that exists in Waterloo Region, Morneau said.

"We'll be trying to develop what's happened here organically," he later told the audience at the University of Waterloo.

The budget also provided for an investment of up to $2 billion over three years in a new post-secondary institutions strategic investment fund.

Up to $3.4 billion in cash will be invested in federal infrastructure over the next five years, including about $140 million to support science, research and innovation through improvements to federal labs and other facilities.

The federal government plans to invest more than $120 billion in infrastructure in the next decade.

Asked whether federal infrastructure funds would be used to improve rail links between Toronto and Waterloo Region, Morneau said he recognizes the importance of that corridor.

"We will be thinking about how we can work together with the provinces and municipalities in order to enhance public transit," he said. "We don't have anything to announce in that regard."

During their recent trip to California, local mayors spoke of a desire to attract Canadians working in Silicon Valley back to pursue their careers here.

"Talent has to be a very critical part of (our innovation agenda)," agreed Morneau.

"If we can have an economy that's successful, we can have the kind of growth that we hope to have in this country," he said. "That's what attracts people to come here."

Morneau also said that Canada must have immigration rules that both attract people and allow them to stay once they're here.

During the session at the university that was broadcast live on Facebook, Morneau took questions on a wide range of topics, from budget transparency to assisting an aging population.

Asked how the government can justify the burden of debt being placed on a younger generation, Morneau insisted a low interest rate, low growth environment makes this the time to invest in education and infrastructure.

"Taking fiscal measures right now is the right approach," he said. "It's about generating net growth, and that's really what's most important for young people."

bdavis@therecord.com , Twitter: @DavisRecord