‘Brilliant minds and brilliant ideas’

High praise for Waterloo from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

On January 14, the University of Waterloo was proud to welcome Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The visit by Canada’s newly elected leader included a tour of new science laboratories, a visit to the Velocity entrepreneurship hub and the announcement of a $12-million investment in the Southern Ontario Water Consortium. Waterloo clearly left an impression.

A week later, in an address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Trudeau singled out Waterloo as “a great source of brilliant minds and brilliant ideas.” What follows is an excerpt from his remarks on campus.

“It’s always a pleasure to see so many innovative, enthusiastic young people and inspiring faculty and teams. Thank you so much for showing me some of the great work that’s being done at this amazing institution. I’m really pleased to be here for what will be a continued engagement by the government in our post-secondary institutions and research facilities. …

“Something I’ve seen time and time again in discussions with Canadians over the years [is that it is] clear that protecting our environment is a key priority. Likewise it should be a key priority for our government, and the way to do that is to invest in the research and innovation that is going to create strong links between protecting our environment and benefiting our economy. We all need economic growth across sectors and regions. The good news is [that] the days when a healthy environment and a strong economy were seen as incompatible goals are long past. …

“It’s fitting that we’re here today at the University of Waterloo — the leading hub of innovation — to announce an investment of up to $12 million in the Southern Ontario Water Consortium (SOWC).

“The consortium, which includes the University of Waterloo, is a group of 10 post-secondary institutions working together to advance clean, innovative water technologies. The funding we’ve announced today will allow the SOWC to partner with business and not-for-profit organizations with the goal of increasing innovations in collaborative projects.

“Southern Ontario companies will have the opportunity to develop and accelerate the commercialization of new technologies in all areas of water and wastewater treatment and monitoring. This will make them stronger global competitors and grow local and regional economies in the process. New technologies developed under this project will help municipalities in Southern Ontario better manage their wastewater, reduce energy consumption in treatment plants, improve water quality and create a more sustainable environment. This project will also create hundreds of good jobs. …

“Canadians have long been international business leaders and skilled problem solvers. We can lead the world in clean technology development. By investing in groups like the Southern Ontario Water Consortium, we’re investing in our economy, we’re investing in our environment, we’re investing in our communities. But above all, we’re investing in our future.

“It’s an exciting time for clean technologies in Canada, and nowhere is that more clear than in this extraordinary community right here in Waterloo. We can’t wait to see what our most innovative companies have in store for our future.”