Vice President Leo Groarke and Dean Bruce Arai welcomed the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Brant MP Phil McColeman, and President/Vice-Chancellor of Laurier Max Blouw to the campus on Oct 15 for a tour of the new Research and Academic Centre.

Mr. Goodyear, minister of state (science and technology) for the Conservative government, was in town to tour the institution, the construction site, and to see how the 90,000 square foot building has progressed since the new Action Plan initiative invested $26 million in federal and provincial funding.

The Knowledge Infrastructure Program, which was launched in 2007 by the Harper government, outlines a stimulus package of $12 billion. Of that, $2 billion goes to support infrastructure enhancements at universities and colleges. The program is geared to renew Canada’s colleges and universities by making large-scale investments.

The Academic and Research Centre, which has so far received money from both governments, will also be putting their own resources into the project, leaving the figure at $33 million. The new building will accommodate research, advice teaching and office spaces that will “provide for growing need and increasing enrollment.”

“The government is delivering on its investments and is creating jobs of the future and is improving life of all Canadians and it helps Canadian prosper,” said Goodyear.

He continued by saying that the country is investing more in science and technology than other time in history.

“Our government invests $10.7 billion annually in colleges, universities, science and technology, Blue Sky, and industrial,” he said.

Goodyear set the scene as he stated that there were no shovels in the ground, but that there were cranes on the ground, “and that is just great.”

“This is a major boost and major step forward for Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford,” he added.

As part of the Economic Action Plan and the Knowledge Infrastructure Program is a two-year, $2 billion economic stimulus measure that supports enhancements at universities and colleges. Goodyear explained that over $2.7 billion in the Program is for innovation and to supply great new facilities with the world most leading equipment.

“This is not a sexy or sensational thing to invest in, but this infrastructure serves as a backbone for our future,” Goodyear said. “The federal government gets this and that is why we put $2 million into the Knowledge Infrastructure Program. We need to move the ideas out of their heads and laboratories and into the market.”

He stated that the economy remains the government’s main focus.

“Canada need his kind of economic boost,” he said.

Goodyear congratulated the city of Brantford, the university and Blouw for the rapid progress that the Centre has accomplished so far. Blouw added that the university and the centre have “transformed Brantford and continued to contribute to a high level of education.”

“The university values being relatively small, and [the construction of the new Centre] is well-suited to what we are doing in Brantford,” he added.