OTTAWA, Sept. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - Today's announcement by federal Industry Minister Clement on the medium-lift helicopter program and changes to Canada's Industrial and Regional Benefits (IRB) program clearly demonstrates that the Conservative government understands the important connection between defence and the economy. The Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) supports all efforts by the federal government to procure military equipment needed by the Canadian Forces and to do so in a way that brings real economic, industrial and trade opportunities to Canada in technology areas of national interest.
CADSI is pleased to see that its voice has been considered in changes announced today to Canada's IRB program specifically related to: the banking of IRB credits; recognition for domestic defence industrial R&D activity; credit for Canadian work performed within a global company's supply chain; and, greater focus on strategic capabilities in technology areas relevant to future military needs, Canada's national interests and export potential.
Today's announcement is an important step forward and much remains to be done. Canada's IRB program is an important tool in the government's arsenal to deliver economic benefit to Canada from defence spending. The effectiveness of the improvements announced today, however, will be defined, in the long run, by how well the government is able to align defence procurement priorities with domestic industrial objectives. In CADSI's view this will be achieved when industrial objectives are embodied within a defence industrial framework, or strategy if you will, and when strategic Canadian content opportunities are identified much earlier in the procurement process than is currently the case.
Decisions made today, and in the coming months, will help to define the shape and viability of Canada's defence and security industries for the next thirty years. 70,000 Canadians are employed in these industries and collectively they generate over $10 billion in annual sales, 50% of which is exported to mostly NATO nations.
Canada's commitment, through the Canada First Defence Strategy, to invest $240B in non-personnel related defence spending over the next twenty years to refurbish the Canadian Forces is good news for national security, Canadian sovereignty and Canada's presence on the international stage. It is also good news for our domestic economy, industry and jobs in Canada.
Canada's defence and security industries are anxious to contribute in a meaningful way to the rebuilding of the Canadian Forces. Today's announcement is recognition of the government's confidence in Canadian industry and its commitment to leverage maximum economic advantage and knowledge-based jobs for Canadians through its acquisition decisions.
In this context, and at the request of the federal government, CADSI has launched a national consultative process designed to provide industrial advice to the government on how best to achieve these outcomes. The contents of today's timely announcement will be injected into this exercise for industry's consideration and comment. A final report by CADSI on its finding and recommendations is expected to be delivered to the government by the end of November, 2009.
CADSI represents 810 domestically-based, technology-oriented companies that supply, support and service Canada's military and security forces with world-class solutions to meet their needs. Canada's defence and security industries generate over $10 billion a year in military and security sales, 50% of which come from international customers. The industries support 70,000 high-tech jobs in Canada and operate businesses in every province.
SOURCE Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI)
For further information: For further information: Tim Page, President, CADSI at (613) 235-5337 x 24, firstname.lastname@example.org