Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains sat down with Policy Editor L. Ian MacDonald on April 23 for a wide-ranging Q&A touching on the Trudeau government’s five designated superclusters, advancing women in business, online privacy and other issues.
Policy: Minister, thank you for doing this. We want to talk off the top about the superclusters and the progress that’s been made to date. Is it fair to say you’re still in the starting gate but, you know, ready to go?
Navdeep Bains: Absolutely, it was a very competitive process. This is a key part of our government’s Innovation and Skills Plan. Superclusters are very important. We used our power to convene, to bring industry, academia and civil society together. Essentially, the key outcome is really about jobs and growth and we’re really excited about the opportunity going forward. We had over 50 different applications or submissions to the superclusters initiative. We ultimately decided on five. We wanted to avoid giving a little bit of money to many different projects and instead, focus on the most ambitious, bold initiatives so we selected five.
Policy: One per region?
Navdeep Bains: Well, it worked out that way but as you know innovation happens everywhere across the country and if you look at the five selected superclusters as well, it really reflects two key dimensions. One is the influence of ecosystems and platforms and also playing to our strengths. The ocean or agriculture, for example. Our country is blessed with natural resources, so the question is how do we leverage these strengths and how do we make sure that these sectors of our economy are also part of our future economic growth.